The Babysitter Review (2017)

Film Review: The Babysitter

by Angie on October 11th, 2018 | |

The Babysitter is directed by McG (Stay Alive, 3 Days to Kill) and written by Brian Duffield. It stars Samara Weaving (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Mayhem) as the titular babysitter and Judah Lewis (Summer of 84) as her charge. It’s about a 12-year-old boy who has a huge crush on his babysitter, only learn (the hard way) that she’s not as great as he thought she was.

Dream girls can be a nightmare

The Babysitter Review

As any horror fan can tell you, babysitters are an absolute genre staple and with good reason. A young, innocent babysitter makes the perfect victim or unwitting heroine when night falls and trouble’s afoot. That said, if Netflix’s The Babysitter is on your radar because you’re in the mood to explore some familiar horror territory, you’re definitely on the right track, although possibly not in the way you think.

When Cole decides to secretly stay up past his bedtime to see what the alluring Bee gets up to at night, he gets a lot more than he bargained for. While Bee does do some of the things you’d expect, like inviting some of her friends over for fun and games after hours, Cole soon realizes she’s far from the sweet, innocent girl he thought she was. It quickly becomes clear that Bee and her friends are actually members of a dark cult with even darker plans for their evening, as well as for Cole.

The Babysitter isn’t one of those horror films that tries to repackage old tropes in an effort to convince you you’re seeing something completely new. Instead, it purposefully seeks to blend familiar things about different horror subgenres in a way that’s simply entertaining. Yes, it’s part dark babysitter movie, part Satanic Panic-style cult film, and part home invasion flick. However, it’s also got healthy doses of action, thriller, and dark comedy thrown in for good measure.

In fact, it’s difficult at times to put your finger on exactly what type of film The Babysitter wants to be, because it’s all over the place. That’s also what makes it a fun watch though. This isn’t a film that takes itself super seriously. However, it manages to deliver when it comes to graphic gore, suspense, and close calls anyway. In some ways, it’s everything you’d expect from a horror film about a babysitter, but it also manages to be that without also being tired or predictable.

One especially strong point about the film is way Bee the babysitter’s cult is filled with teens that are each familiar horror tropes in and of themselves. There’s a sexy but shallow cheerleader played by Bella Thorne (Amityville: The Awakening), a stereotypical jock played by Robbie Amell (The Tomorrow People), a wisecracking African-American kid played by former Vine star Andrew Bachelor, and a hipster-like Asian girl played by Hana Mae Lee of Pitch Perfect fame. Cole must take on each of them once he’s sucked into the gory goings-on of the evening and it’s great fun to cheer him on as he does so.

The Babysitter is also filled with Scream-style callbacks and quick references to a wide variety of other films, so diehard movie buffs will have a blast pointing them all out. (In addition to horror staples like The Human Centipede and Halloween, watch for nods to Home Alone, The Outsiders, Star Trek, and more.) In other words, The Babysitter isn’t for you if you’re looking for fine cinema. It’s not going to terrify you so badly you’ll be kept up all night either. It is a highly watchable, very enjoyable film that’s worth adding to your Netflix queue and watching with friends over popcorn with the lights out.

The Verdict:

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