The Sentinel (1977) requested by Tara

Real estate in NYC isn’t cheap, so when model Alison is shown a beautiful fully furnished apartment for half the price of a typical home, she can’t help but take it.  This doesn’t sit well with her boyfriend Michael; and while he looks and acts like a white Billy D. Williams, he would rather she just marry him and they be together in his swinging pad.  She has had a hard time after a recent suicide attempt and the death of her father, but miss Alison is a 1970’s independent woman, and she says she’ll be fine.  The first night in her new digs, one of her new neighbors comes by to introduce himself, he is a flamboyant and kooky old-man named Mr. Chazen (Burgess Meredith).  He introduces her to his pets and tells her about the other tenants in the building.  The next morning she returns to the lobby from shopping and meets more or the tenants, a pair of women on the first floor; one of whom is not the least bit shy to masturbate in from of her.  Disturbed, she returns to her apartment for a restless night.  She attends a birthday party for Mr. Chazen’s cat a few days later and meets the rest of the tenants, all of whom are a bit off their respective nuts.  She is still having trouble sleeping, as the person in the apartment above her keeps pacing at night; when she goes to the landlord to complain she is told that no one live above her.  In fact, she is the only one living in the building besides an old blind priest that lives on the top floor.  This information, in the addition to the fact that all of the people she says she met at the party are dead murderers… AND her dead father tries to kill her, leads her to believe that something is amiss in this place.  Little does she know that a higher power needs her in that building and has a special job for her.

Alex’s Thoughts:  This wasn’t quite the ‘edge of your seat’ scary movie that I was lead to believe, based on this movie’s famous scene that always appears of critic’s top 10 lists.  It did however keep me entertained throughout and you feel like the ending could go a number of different ways, so it has your full attention for most of the film.  There were a few times where it did seem to drag, and they could have knocked about 20 minutes out of it without a problem.  I really didn’t care for the scene near the end where the dead where trying to stop Alison, the scene itself was fine; but the use of actual deformed people didn’t sit well with me.  I think having normal people in make-up would have been much more effective there, but that is just my opinion.  Horror and suspense fans should enjoy it just fine.  Alex Rates This Movie 7/10

Tim’s Thoughts: This movie holds up pretty well, it’s the combination of mood, and atmosphere, perfectly mixed with an uncomfortable sexuality and paranoia. I agree with Alex that this movie could be shorter, but I think the use of actual deformed people at the end really drives home how deeply unsettling this movie can be.  Closer in theme to a Rosemary’s Baby, than a movie like The Beyond, it is yet another great entry into the 70’s horror genre. Tim Rates This Movie 8/10

“The angel Uriel was stationed at the entrance to Eden to guard it from the devil. Since that time a long line of guardians… sentinels, have guarded the world against evil. Right now it’s Father Halliran upstairs. But tonight YOU become the next sentinel.”


View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue