The Babysitter (Netflix Review)

15 – 85mins – 2017


 

ORGY OF BLOOD

Cole Johnson (Judah Lewis) is bullied for being the only 12-year-old in class to still have a babysitter. But when your babysitter is as smokin’ hot and too cool for school as Bee (Samara Weaving), it can’t be all bad – right?! Under strict instructions from his vacationing parents (Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino) to be in bed by 10:30pm, Cole is persuaded by best friend Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind) to fake sleep in order to see what Bee really gets up to when her pubescent change goes to dreamland…

“Human sacrifice in America with hot people,”

Despite lashings of blood and some rather inventive deaths (impalement by lamp, blown up by firework, car through the front of the house), this 80s homage from Charlie’s Angels director McG is definitely more black comedy than horror, with the irreverent attitudes and stereotypical high school dialogue not even subsiding when it is revealed that Bee is in a murderous cult and she plans on making two sacrifices on the same night she is making pizza and challenging Cole to a living room dance off.

Indeed, the relationship between blonde bombshell Bee and “Cee” (as she takes to calling her diminutive bud) is what elevates The Babysitter beyond eye-rolling frivolity. Bee seems to genuinely enjoy Cole’s company, and the pair share a sweet bond which is never inappropriate. It’s a dream friendship (which she just happens to be being paid for) until she attempts to drug him to sleep to get a deadly game of spin the bottle underway downstairs.

The problem is, despite a whole load of wailing, no-one really seems that genuinely concerned when the killing commences (“No dude’s gonna motorboat these!” moans a cheerleader who gets shot in the boob). Even when Cole is tied to a chair he is making cocky comments about orgies and “protestants” rather than peeing his pants. The deaths, meanwhile, are diverse and grotesque, but all very one note. And that one note is Home Alone. Yes, John Hughes’ 90s Christmas caper even gets name-checked as one of the cult high schoolers attempts to chase Cole and slips on a RC toy car left on the landing.

The Babysitter PosterNetflix Original The Babysitter is an amusing and diverting enough beer and pizza movie, and it is tightly plotted in the same way a clever sitcom is: a host of apparently-irrelevant elements set up early on (spiders in the cellar, scared of driving, knife in the dishwasher) are comprehensively called back to as the action kicks in. Ultimately, however, this farcical frightener presents nothing new and a few chuckles aside is more cute than it is memorable.

CR@B’s Claw Score: 2 stars

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