Reviews The Babysitter (I) (2017)
Another good production from Netflix who don’t always get it right. There’s no excess here but they’ve done very well with all the details that mattered. OK, its a little cheesy. There are some good chuckles to be had but no belly laughs or LOL’s.
The effects for the most part are a poor rendition of old school horror, but its a throwback to horror from the 80’s so works well if a little camp. This is exactly what a good Halloween prank should look like. A little bit of gore, a little bit of T&A, outrageously stereotypical high school kids, and nothing in the way of a plot to worry about.
Completely self-aware of all the slasher films it mimics, and more than able to mine the comedy in those memes, this film is just a hoot. Not anywhere near as serious as the Scream franchise tries to be with the horror/slasher genre, this film takes the opposite tact: remember that these films are for fun and a bit of escapism.
A soft PG-13 would be the MPAA rating for this if it wasn’t Netflix, and it’s appropriate for your tweens. But if you’re in your 30s or 40s, it’s gonna be a lot more enjoyable, since you know and recognize all the tropes at play, but know that the filmmakers know and are just letting you have fun watching them play out.
I hope the three leads get more good work out of this, because they all do a fabulous job with the material – there’s not a lot to work with, but each of the three (the babysitter, boy kid, and his bestie girl) give you a good show and don’t fall into the trap that this film could easily have done: there’s not a scenery chewer among them, and they all do a great job of keeping their eye on the prize: a silly, fun, bit nostalgic, Halloween slasher.
Music video director McG’s first feature, Charlie’s Angels, received a fair amount of critical backlash, but I found it to be pretty entertaining in an inconsequential and undemanding way; however, the subsequent stinker of a sequel and the abysmal Terminator Salvation had me writing the director off as a no-hoper. Now, Netflix original The Babysitter, a tongue-in-cheek tween horror, sees McG bouncing back, delivering a film that, while short on logic and heavy on the gimmicky music video style editing, guarantees a lot of mindless fun.
Judah Lewis plays timid twelve-year-old Cole, the target of local bullies; Cole’s only friends are pretty neighbour Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind), and his sexy babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving). When Cole’s parents leave for the weekend, leaving him in the care of Bee, Melanie dares the boy to stay awake to see what his babysitter gets up to after he is in bed.
Spying from the landing, Cole sees Bee and several friends playing spin the bottle followed by a spot of ritualistic murder and some dabbling in the occult. Panicking, Cole tries to make his escape, but in doing so, alerts Bee and her pals, who give chase. What follows is like a demented version of Home Alone, Cole using household items and cunning to prevent himself from becoming the next victim of Bee and her friends.
Admittedly, it all gets a bit far fetched at times, particularly with the surrounding neighbours seemingly oblivious to the explosions, gunshots and general mayhem occurring across the street, but solid performances, the fast pace, and the creative and gory death scenes all go to making this a very enjoyable time-waster.