Starring: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Bella Thorne, Andrew Bachelor, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Leslie Bibb, Emily Alyn Lind
Sometimes you just need a crazy silly horror movie. One that just wants to have a bit of morbid fun.
Christian Bale’s favourite director delivers The Babysitter (via Netflix), a throwback comedy horror that has just a slight whiff of Jennifer’s Body about it. Crude jokes, OTT deaths, pop culture explosions and stereotypes galore reign supreme in a movie that drifts between ludicrous and pretty decent.
It may not be a great movie, but it sure is a lot of fun.
Cole Johnson (Lewis) is a twelve-year-old nerd. He dreams of intergalactic fantasy feuds and is the subject of constant bullying from the scourge of his existence, Jeremy (Miles J. Harvey). He is also the only kid he knows that still has a babysitter. When his parents head off for their monthly weekend sex session, Cole is attended to by Bee (Weaving), his co-nerd and babe-ysitter, and together they plot space feuds, guzzle pizza, choreograph elaborate dance routines and sign off with an ET finger touch. It’s all very warm and friendly.
His neighbour and best buddy Melanie (Lind) gives Cole the lowdown on what babysitters really get up to when the kids go to sleep and dares him to spy on her after he’s ‘gone to bed’. Intrigued, he does just that and Melanie’s wise words come to fruition as a group of teens turn up for a mini party. It’s a typical mix – cheerleader Allison (Thorne), jock Max (Amell), token black dude (Bachelor), Asian Goth chick Sonya (Lee) and straight up dork Samuel (Doug Haley) – and the standard game of truth or dare is in order. After a big old lesbian kiss, things turn for the worst as its revealed Bee is the leader of a Satanic cult, and tonight is the night their ritual requires a sacrifice and pure blood – and that’s where Cole comes into the game. Fight or die – your call, kid.
With a deluge of dark, gloomy and serious horror movies in 2017, there’s something refreshing about watching a brainless genre entry that delivers similar jolts and events, but with its tongue cemented into its cheek. There are bad movies which are a slog, and others which have a certain goofy charm about them - The Babysitter will not be one of the great horror movies of the year (or decade) but that doesn’t prevent it from being enjoyable. There’s some good comedy here, gory death scenes, warm character interactions (Bee and Cole) and standard horror tropes and clichés – the mix, however, becomes convoluted at times and the strange reliance on literally pasting words onto the screen was plain bizarre. McG’s stylistic ideas end up de-railing the movie at moments where it really didn’t require it.
Utilising babysitters in horror movies is certainly not a new idea – see: Halloween, When a Stranger Calls, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle – and especially ones that are easy-on-the-eye, but it was a fun jolt when Bee’s true intention is gruesomely revealed. The horror aspects here are well-trodden – e.g. characters making strange decisions, creeping through underlit houses, utterly useless ‘assistance’ arriving – and serve the movies ridiculousness well, but clichés are clichés regardless. There’s little chance you’ll be hiding your eyes behind a cushion at any point.
The characters are all typical stereotypes and the cast fulfill their roles aptly. Thorne probably exerted little method effort into her performance and Amell is goofily fun as the shirtless jock. Andrew Bachelor steals the movies gags and the movie suffers when he exits. Judah Lewis is competent in leading the role and Samara Weaving plays a believable sultry psychopath. There are no Academy Award nods here, but should there be? Absolutely not. The chemistry of Lewis and Weaving works well though, their double act in the movies first act is enjoyable and provides many of The Babysitter’s highlights.
Side note, there are lots of cool references towards The Godfather Part II, Star Trek and Alien to name but a few – always fun to see.
The Babysitter is a typical Saturday night at home with Netflix movie, and that’s not always a bad thing. The movie itself is not great, but if you want some fun and bloody stupidity, then you’ll find it aplenty here. Switch your brain off and just let The Babysitter wash over you – you’ll quickly go back to your normal routine after, but it’s a fun 85 minutes nonetheless.
October 21st 2017