Going to the dentist is scary as it is. The one thing that goes through our daunting dental procedures is that we trust that the doctor is a nice person. That we are safe in the dentist’s capable hands. Doctors are nice, helpful people after all, aren’t they?
My Guardian Angel very competently shreds that illusion and tosses it into the wastebasket. It took me several minutes after the movie was over to remind myself not all dentists are the same. Not all people are the same. There are just some very bad people out there, disguised as good, respectable people.
The movie opens with a girl sitting on her bed. Clearly, there is something off about her but we don’t that yet. She creeps downstairs and watches her parents who ask her to serve them a glass of wine. Okay, so they asked her to do some work, not so bad right. She goes back upstairs after completing that one innocent chore and eyes a kitchen knife in her room. Whispers are heard, she is being compelled to go back downstairs. She watches her parents in the corner and you find yourself appalled by the girl’s behavior. Is she really going to kill these nice people? Whatever for?
The girl, Hannah, as we find out soon, loses her nerve and runs back upstairs. In the safety of her room, she hears more whispers and when she shakes her head no, something in the room breaks an object. The resounding crash brings her parents upstairs and that is when we are shown how wrong we were about this family.
Turns out Hannah cannot speak and is autistic. Her parents are vile people who not only scream abuses at their daughter, but also tie her up for long hours, sometimes even days, to punish her. At this point, we learn of Angel, Hannah’s twin sister who committed suicide because she couldn’t take the abuse any more. Turns out, Angel wasn’t autistic and perhaps subjected to even more torture, to the point that she was abused by her father.
Hannah joins school, is picked on by the bully, befriends the teacher’s assistant who has an inkling that something is going wrong. Hannah cannot speak and her only communication is her drawings.
It is heartbreaking to watch her being hurt and made fun of. She wants it all to end, but can’t bring herself to kill her torturers. When her twin asks her why in a dream, Hannah says (she can speak in her dreams), that she wouldn’t like the way it would feel afterwards.
It is a very hard-hitting movie and the acting was impeccable. You can’t help but feel for Hannah’s plight. She tries every passive method she can think of to end her torture, even going as far as trying out Voodoo, but as Angel points out in another of her surrealistic dreams, she never believed hard enough.
Eventually, Hannah lets in Angel. On the other side, the teacher assistant meets with the psychic who has sold Hannah the book on Voodoo. The teacher’s assistant is guided by her, however, unfortunately, loses her life in an accidental stabbing.
Angel does away with the parents and fortunately, the police cannot put all the pieces together of what really happened. Which leaves Hannah, now in foster care, happy with the other children. The psychic comes to visit her and finally Angel leaves. Hannah is surprised to learn that she can now speak.
The movie needed this happy ending and you do manage to look away from the tiny flaws in the plot. Angel was powerful enough to chuck a photo frame at her father to protect Hannah, why couldn’t she do more? She keeps saying she couldn’t do enough on the other side, but she could have closed the door when her parents were coming up to hurt Hannah. Or she could have made them slip down the stairs or open the door under the stairs to reveal a tied-up Hannah when the teacher had come for a visit.
The extent and potential of Angel’s powers are never fully explored.
But this does nothing to hamper the viewing process. The movie is gripping and engrossing in every way. It isn’t your regular scary movie, because the true horror- real life and the monsters in disguises- is what makes the story give you nightmares.