Join me for Day Three of our 13 Writes of Fright as I step away from doom and gloom to watch this gory Halloween comedy. Share this series using #13writesoffright!
If Home Alone had a baby with When a Stranger Calls, and sent that kid away to comedy camp, you would get Netflix’s new original movie The Babysitter.
Here’s the deets… Cole, you’re super average 12-year-old nerd, still has a babysitter, which would totally suck for him if his babysitter wasn’t a very hot Emma Stone look-alike who knows her Star Trek and quotes classic films like The Godfather: Part II. But due to her luscious locks of golden hair and perfectly symmetrical face, Cole and his best-friend Melanie try to figure out what the babysitter does (or who she does) after Cole goes to bed.
The next night, Cole stays up past his bedtime to spy on his babysitter, Bee. But an innocent game of spin the bottle quickly turns into a satanic sacrifice when Bee stabs a fellow classmate in the head (cue the fake blood). Cole freaks out and calls the cops.
Meanwhile, the rest of the high school cult members collect the sacrificial blood before heading upstairs to get the “blood of the innocent” (re: Cole). Cole pretends to be asleep while they stick him full of needles. Afterwards Bee figures that something is wrong and waits around to find out Cole was faking it. He tries to escape but faints from low blood sugar.
Cole wakes up tied to a chair surrounded by Bee’s little gang of Satan worshippers: Sonya, the beret-wearing Asian goth with wayyyy to much eyeliner; Max, the jock who seems allergic to shirts; Allison, the dim-witted cheerleader that looks like Big Bird; and John, the token black guy who mostly just screams.
Bee tries to play the whole thing off as some weird science experiment, but Cole isn’t buying it. Then, when the cops show up, everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Allison gets shot, Max kills a cop with a fire poker and Bee slits another guy’s throat. It is chaos! And for a few seconds while everyone is arguing, Cole escapes his binds and runs. Now my little mini-Zac Efron wannabe, in all his space-pajama goodness, has to battle the bloodthirsty high schoolers in order to survive.
Now I don’t want to spoil the whole movie because you definitely should go watch it, but basically what happens next is one gory death after the next as Cole somehow accidentally starts off killing the cult members while trying to escape. Every good drop of blood is equally balanced with just a funny joke, keeping your heart rate up but not giving you a heart attack at every turn.
I didn’t go into this movie with a lot of expectations. Netflix has made some amazing original TV shows over the past few years but I never really fell in love with any of their original movies… But where Netflix seemed to struggle with characterization and depth they more than made up with casting choices. Everyone in The Babysitter was perfectly casted, from the Satanists to the neighborhood bullies.
And Cole, man don’t get me start on Cole. This little corduroys-wearing, scaredy cat is played by Judah Lewis. Judah has only been in a few movies, most notably 2015’s action thriller Point Break. But every time Judah gets on screen I’m thinking, Damn, that kid actor is good! He is definitely going places.
Now there were a few low points in the movie. The beginning was a lot of exposition that wasn’t necessary for the film and the director made an obvious effort to pan the camera at items that would later help Cole survive the night. There was also an unnecessary amount of slow motion, I don’t really know why. And, for some reason text would appear on the screen describing what you were seeing, like some weird graphic novel. Not a very good stylistic choice.
But putting all that aside, The Babysitter was as genuinely funny as it was gory. There were times when I couldn’t help but laugh. The movie even delves into the realm of meta-satire when characters start dropping pop-culture references and mimic other horror films. Kudos, Netflix.
Here are some of my favorite lines:
- “I don’t yell at you, I just speak in all CAPS.”
- “Oh, so you’re saying it took a dick to save the galaxy.” “… come on, aliens don’t abide by our primitive gender stereotypes.”
- “…Nobody’s done human sacrifice.” “People have always done human sacrifice.” “Yeah, but like… not in America with hot people.”
- “He shot me in the boob. What kind of dick shoots a girl in the boob?”
- “This is America. You need to wreck his ass.”
Overall, I would gives The Babysitter a rating of 4 stars. It kept me engaged with the dialogue and easily filled my blood-bath requirements for the week. It’s definitely something I would watch again with friends.
[media courtesy of Netflix]