Nothing in the theater was really calling out to me this week, so I thought I’d check out what Netflix had to offer for horror movies this month.
The Babysitter is a horror/comedy by McG, in which a twelve-year-old boy, left in the care of his young, attractive, and seemingly kind-hearted babysitter, tricks her by staying up past his bed-time and, as a result, witnesses a cold blooded, ritualistic sacrifice/murder by her and her cult of friends.
It’s a campy, tongue-in-cheek kind of movie, with not a lot in the way of suspense or scares. There are some gory and bloody scenes, but most are played for laughs rather than horror. I feel like, in movies like this, when they push the absurdity too far, they really lose the horror element. It makes you question why it’s even trying to be a horror movie at all, when it might be more effective as a straight up goofball teen comedy. I could be wrong, and maybe I’m not the target audience, but I felt like, as a horror/comedy, it wasn’t scary, and it wasn’t particularly funny either.
The story moved along pretty well and maintained some interest, though it seemed a little formulaic and almost deliberately unoriginal. I spent a lot of time questioning the choices of the main protagonist, especially when it came to his firm refusal to make an effective escape, no matter how many opportunities presented themselves. This is certainly nothing new to the horror genre though, and I feel like this also was a deliberate move, having the main character hide in some of the worst dead-end locations he could find when he could easily have just run away. Though they never give a wink to the fact that this is meant to be a joke, it’s so blatant that I have to assume it is one.
The acting was fairly well done and the characters, though stereotypical, were pretty interesting. Visually the film was pretty impressive, with some eye-catching shots and a cool slow-motion effect. It had a clear visual style that seems to be a trademark of McG, at least based on the couple of other movies of his that I’ve seen. Maybe this just wasn’t the right movie for it.
In the end, It’s an OK movie. It didn’t cost me anything to watch, so I guess I can’t complain too much. If you enjoyed movies like Freaks of Nature or Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, you might like it, but it’s not really what I’m looking for. If you like a movie with more balance between the horror and humor elements, like Cabin in the Woods or Fright Night, you should check out Happy Death Day. You can see my spoiler free review here. I’d say it’s the better of these two recent films.
I give the babysitter three protestants out of five.