PLOT: A model moves into an apartment building inhabited by odd and possibly sinister characters.
If I called this the Brooklyn version of Rosemary’s Baby, it would be an incredibly accurate statement. Not only does this take place in Brooklyn (in comparison to Rosemary’s Baby Central Park West locale), this movie feels very much like a B+ effort when compared to the horror classic. That’s not to say that this film doesn’t have much to offer; it’s a pretty decent effort and boasts a pretty impressive cast. It’s just hard not to feel like this movie was done better before.
Cristina Raines plays Alison, an up-and-coming model looking for an apartment of her very own. She has an older boyfriend, a well-to-do lawyer played by Chris Sarandon, who wants her to move in with him, but she’s not ready to make that next step. So she moves to Brooklyn and meets her eccentric neighbors. But very quickly, things aren’t quite what they seem with her brand new residence.
The first thing that pops out with this film is the cast. It’s pretty much a who’s who in character actors, each playing small roles. Besides Raines and Sarandon, who are our two leads, we have Ava Gardner, Martin Balsam, John Carradine, Jose Ferrer, Sylvia Miles, Burgess Meredith, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, Jerry Orbach, Beverly D’Angelo, William Hickey, and even a young Tom Berenger at the end of the film. Most of these actors pop in and leave just as quickly as they arrive, but it’s fun to see just about each character in the film be played by a recognizable face.
As for the movie, it’s a decent time with a fine, if not a little incomprehensible, ending. I first heard of this movie from AMC’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments all the way back in the early 2000’s, but this is the first time I’ve ever watched it. Honestly, I can probably think of 100 movies that are scarier than this, but I enjoyed my time with it. I wouldn’t call it a favorite and probably won’t revisit it any time soon, but it was worth a watch.
The Sentinel is a bit of a middling effort, but an impressive cast is almost worth the price of admission. The performances are decent and the story is weird enough to keep you guessing, but this is a lesser Rosemary’s Baby. At the very least, you can watch this with knowing that the director of this film didn’t have to escape the United States because he’s a sex pest. So that’s something.
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10