Available exclusively on Netflix!
THE BABYSITTER (2017)
Directed by McG
Written by Brian Duffield
Starring Judah Lewis, Samara Weaving, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, Doug Haley, Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino, Samuel Gilbert, Zachary Alexander Rice, Miles J. Harvey, Chris Wylde
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While I can’t believe I am praising an McG flick, I actually have to admit that THE BABYSITTER is an absolutely lovable little horror film that delivers on comedy, suspense, and over the top gore. Believe me, I’m just as surprised as you are.
Just on principle, liking a film by a guy whose name sounds more like a DJ than a director should be out of the question. Still, there is something downright adorable and infectious about THE BABYSITTER. All of this affinity comes from a pitch perfect scenario setup in the first twenty or thirty minutes where we get to know our protagonist Cole (Judah Lewis) a picked-on pre-teen who is still being looked after by his babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) as his parents (played by Leslie Bibb & Ken Marino) are off for the night at a hotel for some alone time. It’s during these opening moments that we find out who Cole is and why he would want to be babysat by Bee (and looking at her prancing around with her curly blonde locks and cut off jorts, what teenage boy wouldn’t?). Bee talks geek with Cole. They chomp on pizza and dance around the house. They reenact fight scenes from BILLY JACK. Bee is pretty much the perfect gal in these opening moments and these scenes exude that warm and fuzzy feeling enough to make it so that no matter what happens in the latter hour, you can’t help but kind of love these two characters. Lewis is immensely likable as the everykid that is going to remind most geeks out there of themselves at that age. But it’s Samara Weaving, who after her turn in this film and MAYHEM proves that she is the perfect Harley Quinn being both devilish and mouth-watering all at once.
Of course, this is a horror movie and there’s a twist here in this perfect relationship between babysitter and he who is babysat. I hate giving away too much, but it’s revealed in the trailer. This twist involves the occult and a ritual that Cole witnesses after he is supposed to go to bed. The ensuing kid vs. evil antics are bloodier and more violent versions of the typical slapstickery found in the HOME ALONE movies. McG’s vibrant style makes these scenes gleeful in their depiction of all of the horrors taking place and I have to say I was completely caught up in their exuberance. There are a lot of fun kills during this one. All sorts of blood spattered into the air and all over faces for comedic effect that will definitely work in educing some chuckles.
While there is a lot of slapstick grue at play here and the violence feels like a real life TOM & JERRY cartoon at times, the film kind of falls apart if you think about it too much. After Cole escapes from the house, instead of running to the neighbors, he decides to hide under the home. None of the neighbors seem to notice all of the gunfire, police intervention, fireworks, and stalking going on around the house. And while the film sticks a pinky toe into the occult early on, it never really follows through with it in any meaningful way—rather it’s all pretty grounded stalk and slash-work albeit with a cartoonish tone.
But THE BABYSITTER isn’t a thinking man’s horror film. It’s stylish and loud. It’s brash and in your face. It’s full of clichés, but does them in a manner that I couldn’t help but love. Sure it’s ridiculous and over the top, but I love the way this film wallows in its own excesses like a pig in slop. There are very little potent chills in THE BABYSITTER, but the film is full of action, gore, and violence from top to bottom after it makes you fall in love with its characters. Weaving is stunning as the lead and I hope this performance and MAYHEM sets her on a path for bigger and better things. And as for McG, if he keeps making over the top splatterfests like this, I might become an actual fan. THE BABYSITTER is a giant leap in that direction.