Netflix made its newest original movie The Babysitter available for streaming on October 13th, just in time for horror fans everywhere to get ready for Halloween by watching scary movie after scary movie. We’ve all done it and we all love it, frightening ourselves all of October by watching classic and new horror movies and chasing that sweet, nostalgic feeling of being scared and getting candy every October 31st.
The Babysitter tries to capitalize on this Halloween nostalgia that young adults are looking for more and more, but, unfortunately, that’s one of the only things it exploits successfully.
The teen horror-comedy film was directed by McG who came to fame after directing Charlie’s Angels and stars Samara Weaving as Bee in the classic role of seemingly-normal-babysitter-who’s-actually-the-leader-of-a-satanic-cult and Judah Lewis as Cole, a constantly picked on teen that Bee babysits. The film also stars Bella Thorne, the former Disney star, and Ken Marino from the short-lived but critically acclaimed show Party Down.
The film follows Cole as his crush on his babysitter leads him to decide he’s going to stay up and spy on Bee to see if she has a boyfriend that sneaks over after he falls asleep. Cole watches as an innocent game of spin the bottle turns into a satanic cult sacrifice as Bee murders another teen graphically and the others drink his blood. Cole, now scared out of his mind, has to find a way out of the house.
The film is very campy and self-referential, and it references many horror movie tropes and other films like The Godfather Part II and the Alien franchise. The film has a lot of comedic elements, possibly trying to capitalize on the new comedy horror genre that has been picking up steam lately (The Cabin in the Woods and more recently Get Out) but, most of the time, it comes off as trying too hard.
What the film ends up being, feels like equal parts Scary Movie and Jennifer’s Body but comes off as condescendingly ham-fisted and lazy. Throwing references at the viewer as if to point to great movies so that hopefully the viewer confusedly lumps The Babysitter in with them.
Its one redeeming quality, in my eyes, was the fact that it used the in crowd at a high school as the villain. That was an interesting twist on a horror film, and in the eyes of prepubescent Cole, I can’t think of anything that would be more frightening than the popular, older kids.
All in all, all signs point to The Babysitter being a cash grab for Netflix viewers just in time for Halloween, as they try to recreate the success they had with Little Evil. I would give the film 2 out of 5 stars, as it was an interesting idea and twist on horror, but the execution left a lot to be desired.