The Babysitter (2017)
Review by Thad Timothy; Writer, Cult Classic Horror
Review Rating: 4 out of 5
Starring: Judah Lewis, Samara Weaving, Bella Thorne, Leslie Bibb Directed by McG
Written by Brian Duffield
About the Film
As a child, did you ever wonder what your babysitter did after you went to sleep? As a parent, do you ever wonder the same? Netflix original film The Babysitter (2017) answer’s this question in funny, gory detail. Directed in 2015 by McG, executive producer of the hit show Supernatural, The Babysitter was originally intended for theatrical release but was later acquired by Netflix and released for streaming on Friday, October 13th, 2017. The film has been well received by critics and fans producing a 75% score on the Tomatometer and a 60% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
At a time when life makes little sense and the world seems upside down, 12-year-old Cole (Judah Lewis) copes with his adolescent struggles by confiding in his hot and hip babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving). Despite feeling too old for a babysitter, Cole cherishes the bond that he and Bee share and his innocent affections towards her are enough to overshadow his shame. From how to stand up to bullies to how to talk to girls, Bee teaches the introverted Cole how to shed his fears and realize his full potential, much like a big sister would. With his parents (Leslie Bibb & Ken Marino) “living large at the Hyatt” for the night, Cole looks forward to a fun evening with his dream girl. But when classmate and neighbor, Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind), suggests that Bee may be planning a sexual rendezvous, Cole devises a plan to stay up after bedtime and spy on the unsuspecting babysitter. From the top of the stairs, Cole watches as Bee and five friends play a game of Spin the Bottle meets Truth or Dare which leaves Bee tasked with kissing each player. Cole becomes mesmerized with Bee as she honors the rules of the game and seduces each player with a kiss. Perhaps you’ve read about the prolonged sensual exchange between Bee and cheerleader sidekick Allison (Bella Thorne), a scene that has already received quite a bit of media attention given Thorne’s recently acquired mainstream popularity. As Bee plants the final kiss on a nervous newcomer things immediately go from hot to heavy (and bloody) and the secret of ‘the babysitter’ is revealed.
My Review (without spoilers)
At its core, The Babysitter is a coming of age dark comedy with horror overtones. With its mix of raunchy teen comedy and fun bloody horror, this simple yet clever tale serves up enough camp and gore to satisfy seasoned horror fans and newcomers alike. This film reminded me of the 1990 smash hit “Home Alone.” In that film we watched a young Kevin McCallister defend his home from bungling burglars with a number of booby traps and slapstick gags, all of which made the violence feel mild and comedic. In The Babysitter our young hero is protecting his home from satanic cult members and each gag is accompanied by intentional over-the-top gore which makes you laugh just the same. Fans of real-life horror beware, The Babysitter embraces style and atmosphere over reality therefore most events in the film are extremely far-fetched and unbelievable – the killers are humorous and friendly and the suburbanite neighbors are apparently deaf as screams, gunshots, and explosions all seem to go unnoticed. Though it may turn some viewers away, it’s clear that the film’s ‘head in the clouds’ approach was not accidental. Unlike many modern day horror films, The Babysitter knows exactly what it is and doesn’t worry about incorporating deep subplots or unnecessary backstories nor does it try to make sense of everything that is happening. With its likeable characters and visual style, The Babysitter provides enough substance to keep you entertained without ever taking itself too seriously. Weaver and Lewis each deliver a solid performance and it’s obvious that director McG made this film for genre fans.
If I were to describe this film in one word it would be…FUN!
I highly recommend this film for fans of dark comedy and popcorn horror. Fans of raunchy teen comedies and campy gore may also fall for The Babysitter as it does a fine job of blending these subgenres in a stylistic way. I give it 4 out of 5 pentagrams.
Additional Trivia (minor spoilers)
- The screenplay was featured on the 2014 blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unproduced screenplays of the year.
- This is Bella Thorne’s 4th horror film. Her previous horror credits include: Forget Me Not (2009), Keep Watching (2017), and Amityville: The Awakening (2017). Thorne also appeared on three episodes of Scream: The TV Series.
- The body count for this film totals eight.
- There is a short scene after the credits.
- Andrew Bachelor, who plays John, originally received popularity under the alias KingBach on the Vine app.