Director – McG
Cast – Judah Lewis, Bella Thorne, Samara Weaving, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, Doug Haley, Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino
Release Year – 2017
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is the ideal film to watch if you are in the mood for fun, teen-esque horror flick that doesn’t deliver teen-esque horror. So what does it deliver? Loads of gore, great kills, and a story I have yet to see used in the genre. Writer Brian Duffield’s script laid dormant for years, even making it on to 2014’s Blacklist – a list of the year’s best unproduced scripts. It wasn’t until director McG’s production company picked it up that it was given life, and that is what concerned me going into this. I cannot say I am a fan of McG’s work. Much to my surprise he exceeded my expectations and delivered on the goods with this one. The Babysitter gets everything right for those wanting a fun horror flick you can enjoy with friends.
The story follows Cole, a bullied teen who finds solace in his lone friendship – that of his rad babysitter Allison. She is everything he could ask for of a woman. Smart, sexy, and most importantly, she is knowledgeable of geeky science fiction. With his parents out of town for the weekend, Allison comes by and the fun begins. From making pizza to assembling dream teams of science fiction characters, Friday night could not go any better…until Cole stays up to see what Allison does after he goes to bed. The perfect woman also happens to be the leader of a Satanic cult, and they will stop at nothing to eliminate Cole.
The Babysitter had me hooked from the start. It’s first act gives us great insight into the life Cole leads. We feel the appreciation, admiration, and attraction he has for Allison. She’s a bit of your stereotypical cool older girl, but this is a film where you should expect stereotypes. Thankfully, they work well. This development continues for the first 25 minutes or so, until Cole decides to sneak downstairs and see what his babysitter is up to. There is a hilarious joke about her having orgies while he is asleep, and he naturally is unaware of what an orgy actually is.
We see our first kill at the 28-minute mark, and its shocking execution sets the tone for the rest of the film. It is brutal, you pity the fool, and most importantly, it is oozing in blood. Because Cole witnessed this he will spend the rest of the evening running for his life. There are several antagonists aside from Allison, as her lackeys try desperately to kill him off. These scenes result in some awesome deaths when Cole finds clever ways to fight back. Story-wise there could have been more to the experience. While it covered all of the horror basics I just mentioned, it misses on a few points – namely why on earth Allison and her friends are doing satanic rituals in the first place. But, with this being a “turn off your brain and enjoy the ride” film I wasn’t too bothered by such things.
McG’s direction is the biggest reason behind my enjoyment of this film. I dug the story, but McG really sold out on making this a fun watch. He delivers some cool vibes here and there, like Edgar Wright-esque typography on screen. Most importantly though, he executes the horror as if he were a seasoned horror vet. The kills are brutal, gory, and delivered mostly via practical effects. He does not shy away from the kills either, giving us front row seats. I also enjoyed the acting performances. They may be a bit cheesy at times, but they needed to be for a film like this. It brings back the nostalgic B-movie horror I grew up loving, so I was very appreciative to see Netflix deliver such a film.
Overall, The Babysitter is a fun experience in the vein of the films we grew up loving. With great gore, slick kills, and a fun story, this is an experience I recommend to those seeking an entertaining watch.