The Film (4/5)
Alison Parker(Christina Raines) is a fashion model that is unsure of what she wants out of life. She lives with her hotshot attorney boyfriend, Michael (Chris Sarandon), and could have continued the upward mobility of her career, and the life with her boyfriend, but to avoid the sterile doomed existence that occurred to her Mother she decided to strike out on her own. She decides to stay in the relationship with Michael, but move out into her own apartment. Alison ends up renting an apartment in an old brownstone that has been separated into apartments. The tenants in the building are a strange breed including a pair of frisky exhibitionist lesbians, a pet obsessed old man, and a blind priest, Father Halliran, who sits in his top floor apartment and stares out the window all day.
Alison's life in her new apartment isn't easy, she keeps dreaming about murdering her Father who recently passed, and has flashbacks to a long ago suicide attempt. She is also addicted to pills, and begins to observe strange phenomena in the building. She alongside Michael begin to investigate the goings on, and the history of the building, and uncovers a vast conspiracy that ties into the church, and her very existence.
I'm just going to come out and say that I think Michael Winner is one of the most underrated director's of the 70's, he came out early with the Nightcomers which for a spinoff (prequel) to one of horrors most beloved films (It's a prequel to the Innocents)is still a great film. He then paired up with Charlles Bronson for what would end up being an iconic series of collaborations beginning the the Mechanic early in the decade, and leading into what could be considered Winner's best known film Death Wish.
Supernatural horror was a big deal in the 70's with films like The Omen, Amityville Horror, and the Exorcist striking box office gold, and Winner decided to take another swing at supernatural horror. The Sentinel was an adaptation of the 1974 novel by Jeffrey Konvitz. For the film Winner had assembled an amazing ensemble cast featuring a few actors who were on the rise, and others that were already established talents, this group had enormous chemistry and came together to create something truly special. The film has a nice slow burn atmosphere, that does work in it's favor, because when things begin to occur it has a truly chilling effect. This coupled with the imagery on display, especially during the films third act help it stand out amongst it’s contemporaries.
Scream Factory brings the Sentinel to Blu-ray with a fantastic 1:78:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer that looks quite natural, and good, although not without issue. On the positive side there is excellent fine detail, a nice intact grain structure, and solid blacks. The flesh tones do veer into slightly pinkish territory, however, and I did notice some minor issues with compression artifacts though they were never very distracting.
Scream presents the audio in a DTS-HD 2.0 mono mix in English. The track sounds quite good with dialogue and score coming through nicely, and no issues to detect.
The Sentinel comes loaded with 3 commentary tracks one with lead actress Christina Raines, the second with the late director Michael Winner, and the third with the films writer, and original novelist Jeffrey Konvitz. We also get an on camera interview with the films Assistant Director running 24 minutes. Outside of that the disc is loaded with galleries, trailers, TV spots, and more.
The Sentinel is another creepy oddity that Scream Factory are unleashing to Blu for a new generation. The Blu-ray looks and sounds quite good, and is loaded up with some decent extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.