A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No positive messages.
Positive Role Models
Lead character, a backup singer for a pop star who has just committed suicide, makes a series of requests to a supernatural doll in the hopes of finding love and fame.
Vietnamese supernatural horror movie offers some glimpses into Vietnamese culture.
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Violence & Scariness
A young woman commits suicide in a bathtub by slitting her wrists, seemingly at the behest of a doll. Her body is shown in bloody water, the scar where she slit her wrist shown. Quick shot of young woman slitting wrist at a table in a fancy restaurant. The reason the young woman commits suicide is because she's shown in a sex tape with three men after they drugged her. Another character found dead in a bathtub, talk of how they had a history of drug abuse, another bloody bathtub. Character jumps off a balcony to her death. Dead bodies found with slit wrists. A father punches his daughter after he learns that she's making a living as a back-up singer for a pop star. Baby bird head sliced off. Cut finger, blood. Character hit by a car. Demonic imagery. Jump scares.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters kiss, sleep together (no nudity).
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Occasional profanity: "bulls--t," "s--t," "bastards," "damn," "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Characters discuss Vifon Ramen in one scene.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Abusive father of lead character drinks booze. Champagne, wine, alcohol drinking in nightclubs. Character shown being drugged by men who want to take advantage of her and make a sex video to post online.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Guardian is a 2021 Vietnamese supernatural horror movie in which a backup singer seeks the help of supernatural forces to find fame and love. In the opening scene, a pop star commits suicide by slitting her wrists in a bathtub, seemingly at the behest of a creepy doll with supernatural powers. Her body is found in bloody water, her bloody scar shown. Another character is found dead in a bloody bathtub, and another commits suicide by jumping off of a balcony. Another character is struck by a car and injured. The reason the pop star committed suicide was because she had been drugged by three men and filmed in a sex video with them that was starting to go viral. Character shown being drugged at a nightclub. A father punches his daughter upon learning that she works as a backup singer. Baby bird's head sliced off with a knife. Lead character cuts finger with a knife -- blood. Two characters kiss, sleep together (no nudity). Occasional profanity, including "s--t." Champagne, wine, and alcohol drinking. Demonic imagery. Jump scares. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an overlong, melodramatic supernatural Vietnamese horror movie on the perils of fame and fortune. The Guardian centers on creepy dolls and the aspiring pop stars who make wishes and present sacrifices to them, and at over two hours long, still manages to squeeze in scenes of pop music performances with dance sequences, a love affair, and some other side stories that would've been better off on the cutting room floor. There's a high quality to the direction, cinematography, acting, and overall style, but none of this can compensate for a padded story, and a shopworn "creepy doll horror movie" story at that. The plot twist/big reveal isn't bad, but it comes across as forced as the movie's overall messages about success in the music industry being not all it's cracked up to be.
Indeed, the movie's comments on said fame and fortune grow increasingly tiresome. 1980s afterschool specials about Satanism and/or underage beer drinking are less heavy-handed than this, and, to their credit, '80s afterschool specials didn't resort to creepy dolls and ugly sacrifices of baby birds to make their points. There's a feeling throughout The Guardian that it should be better than it is. With a bit more editing, it might have been a decent supernatural horror story rather than a weird melodrama with creepy images and suicides. That said, if the movie's purpose is to make those younger viewers who are considering a career in pop stardom to maybe find another line of work on LinkedIn, it's successful enough in that regard, but as an attempt at a supernatural horror story, it falls short.
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