The Guardian Review

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Beautiful babysitter Camilla (Seagrove) turns out to be an angel of a different kind when she bumps off the neighbor and makes plans for her family's baby.


Returning to the horror tack years and several career slumps after The Exorcist, William Friedkin is less pretentious this time out - this is not a serious film about Druids the way the earlier fright flick was supposed to be about Catholicism - but it's also less scary, less interesting and, obviously, less successful.

A pre-title caption and a brief introductory sequence blow any possible mystery by establishing that the new nanny (Seagrove) in a California couple's ideal household is a druidical sprite who sacrifices babies to an evil tree, and we then have to sit through an apparently endless movie as Mom (Lowell) and Dad (Brown) catch on that their servant is plotting a nasty fate for their gurgling newborn brat.

In essence, this is a major studio horror picture in the dispiriting tradition of Child's Play and The Kiss, with a competent cast, a name director and professional production values all ultimately squandered in the service of a screenplay that takes a hackneyed premise and spins it out for an hour and a half with little imagination, zero suspense and a total lack of horrific verve.

Predictable and flat, the sort of cop-out horror movie which relies on sending up long-outdated female stereotypes of the matron vs the siren. Nothing particularly refreshing or even frightening resides within.