McG’s newest film tries to be everything for everyone. And while it doesn’t always work, I loved “The Babysitter” for being so self aware most of the time. It’s not just a horror comedy about a really hot babysitter who turns out to be a Satanist, but it’s also a film packed with heart. It’s about growing up, learning to conquer your fears and insecurities, and learning that in life you have to take your lumps instead of finding the easy way out. Don’t get me wrong, “The Babysitter” is a fun and demented horror comedy, but it’s also a stellar coming of age film, as well. Writer Brian Duffield successfully conceives a slew of characters that learn something about each other and come to some kind of self realization.
What’s more is that the narrative has no respect for people that refuse to evolve and grow up, presenting a firm stance about the benefit of being an adult and facing a rough world. “The Babysitter” stars Judah Lewis as young Cole, a bespectacled young high schooler who is trying to figure out how to fit in at school, and is consistently bullied. The only escape he has is with his babysitter Bee. She’s everything a high school boy could want. She’s sexy as hell, charismatic, strong, aggressive, a movie buff, and has a fine knowledge of science fiction. Even better she has a boyfriend she hangs out with who is as geeky as he is. When Bee babysits Cole for the weekend while his parents go on a romantic getaway, Cole peeks in on Bee as she has her friends over while he sleeps in bed.
Much to his horror, Bee is a Satanist intent on making a deal with the devil, and she and her friends have plans for Cole. “The Babysitter” never really seems sure what it’s trying to accomplish at times, with its tone shifting from satire to pure horror comedy, and McG muddles the progression with pointless subtitles and never quite deciding if we should loathe Bee or find some sense of sympathy for her. That said, “The Babysitter” landed for me as a fun and raucous survival horror comedy that finds Cole stacked against impossible odds. These characters aren’t just airheaded self obsessed maniacs, but they also defy the clichés and tropes that McG purposely sets up. Even at their most idiotic, these villains are a force to be reckoned with, and Cole’s own sense of insecurity and ill preparedness tends to work in his favor more times than he realizes.
McG is able to grab strong performances from the entire cast including Judah Lewis who is a very complex and interesting protagonist, while Samara Weaving is a literal scene steal as Bee. I also quite enjoyed the turns by Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, and Hanah Mae Lee respectively, as McG flips the script turning them from basic horror archetypes in to relentless predators. I think “The Babysitter” will watch well on constant playbacks as it’s a great horror comedy with a genuinely touching tale of growing up tucked underneath the buckets of blood, and Satanism.
Now playing on Netflix.