Director: Michael Winner
Cast: Ava Gardner, Chris Sarandon, Cristina Raines
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray September 22, 2015
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
When a beautiful model, Alison Parker (Cristina Raines, Nashville, The Duellists), rents an apartment in a gloomy New York brownstone, little does she realize that an unspeakable horror awaits her behind its doors… a mysterious gateway to hell. Alison likes her eccentric new neighbors, so it comes as a shock when she’s told that, except for a strange old priest, she’s the only tenant.
The eerie late 70’s horror classic ‘The Sentinel’ follows a beautiful young model who has just found what appears to be a perfect new apartment, a beautiful place to provide what she believes to be some much needed private space for her as well as her boyfriend who she’d been previously staying with. While initially quite fond of her quirky new neighbors, she begins feeling differently when she is so pestered with them that she is unable to get the rest she needs. Unable to avoid mentioning the matter to her landlord, she is informed that only one other person currently resides in the building, a priest living upstairs who she has yet to even meet. Unable to believe her neighbors aren’t really there, she begins desperately investigating every lead possible, yet never considering that the truth may be far more terrifying than she could have ever imagined.
Written for the screen (based upon the novel by Jeffrey Konvitz) and directed by Michael Winner (Death Wish) who does quite the effective job guiding this tale with a suitably eerie calm, ‘The Sentinel’ is a creepy, slow paced little horror gem that is surprisingly effective and entertaining, and with some decent performances in addition, including a number of familiar faces, many prior to their arrival at stardom.
Fans of ‘The Sentinel’ will definitely want to make certain to pick up a copy of Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release to add to their collections, it delivers notable high definition video and audio presentations along with a number of solid extras including three separate Audio Commentary tracks and more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) making it a must own.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘The Sentinel’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks absolutely gorgeous, especially considering the age of the source. It delivers a sharp, clean and detailed presentation which also retains a fair amount of grain and other natural artifacts of its source. While some minor video noise and other elements also resulting from the source may be noticeable on occasion, it in no way negatively affects the overall experience. This HD presentation also holds up impressively during the numerous darkly lit sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become indiscernible. Overall, this is quite an impressive high definition video presentation that should easily please fans of this horror classic.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 2.0 Mono DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless mono soundtrack sounds pretty great as a whole, especially for what it is. It delivers a sharp and fairly detailed audio presentation throughout, never causing any notable confliction between dialogue, music and other auditory elements which may occur simultaneously, holding up impressively from start to end and never causing anything to become inaudible or distorted along the way. Overall, this is a pretty solid 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA soundtrack that while not absolutely perfect, delivers in nearly every way required of it and should not disappoint.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘The Sentinel’ includes a number of notable extras. Included on the release are three Audio Commentary tracks; the first Audio Commentary track features writer/producer Jeffrey Konvitz; the second features writer/producer/director Michael Winner, and the third actress Christina Raines. Also included on the release is an interview with assistant director Ralph S. Singleton titled ‘Working with Winner: The Making of The Sentinel’ which runs approximately 24 minutes in length. We are additionally treated to the ‘Theatrical Trailer’, ‘TV Spots’, ‘Movie Stills’, ‘Black and White Press Photos’, plus ‘Lobby Cards and Posters’.