#31in31 2017 – “The Babysitter”

“Seriously, have you ever been awake after she’s fallen asleep?”

Story: 12 year old Cole has a babysitter for the weekend. An impossibly cool and hot babysitter. In fact, Bee’s likely the best babysitter in the history of ever. Except for that whole satanic thing.

Scares: Of the Nickelodeon channel variety.

Splat factor: Of the Friday the 13th variety.

Closing scene “shocker”?: The good ol’ mid-credits thang.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Netflix original.

Trick or Treat?: Director McG delivers a film that feels like a mash of his best (Charlie’s Angels), and worst (Terminator Salvation). Sure there are great moments and tons of fun, but as a whole it’s a confusing mess. McG trots out so much backstory and so many second and third tier characters that the film feels bloated. Or better yet, it feels like he didn’t really know where to go with his story beyond “hot satanic babysitter”.

The film’s saving grace are the stellar performances by the cast. Mom and dad are played by the fantastic Leslie Bibb (Popular, American Housewife) and Ken Marino (Wet Hot American Summer). They take cameo roles and really make those scenes pop.  What I’m feeling particularly home decorator-y today.  Someone please help me rearrange my second bedroom.

Anyway, the rest of the cast is pretty damn awesome too, from Judah Lewis as misfit Cole and Emily Alyn Lind as girl-next-door Melanie to Bee’s crew of high school popular kids.  Hannah Mae Lee plays a popular girl version of her Pitch Perfect character, Robbie Amell as uber-Jock Max, Bella Thorne as the ditzy cheerleader, and Andrew Bachelor provides the real-person view of things (albeit with a HEAVY dose of Sassy Black Friend) as John.  Remember; these characters are all down with the upside-down pentagram, so expect most of the conversations from these folks to be related to the “party” they’re throwing.  Still, every one of these actors manages to go full-on with their characters, while still throwing in a bit of “satanists are people too” backstory.  Well, except for Hannah Mae Lee.  Her character is just pure psycho.

Which brings me to Samantha Weaving, who plays the too cool for school babysitter Bee.  Damn girl, you’re almost too good for this movie.  I say almost, because if Weaving wasn’t in this movie, it just wouldn’t work as well.  Weaving plays Bee as just a normal hyper-cool teen who wants what she wants…and will do whatever it takes to get it.  But beyond that, hey – pizza time y’all!  It’s a great performance, aided by the whipsmart dialogue from screenwriter Brian Duffield.  I want to see much more from both these folks. In fact, I’m salivating over Weaving’s upcoming miniseries Picnic at Hanging Rock.  Well, salivating even more; it’s a great book, and I already knew Natalie Dormer was involved.  But with Weaving in too?  This series can’t hit screens fast enough.

While this is definitely a horror comedy, there’s lots of fun for horror fans to dig into.  This blend of Nerd Hero and One-By-One story is chock full of pop culture references, fun 70s fonts (used as a sort of Captain Obvious Greek chorus), and a hilariously fist-bumping over the top climax, complete with Queen on backing vocals. You can start up a drinking game just playing “Spot The Foreshadowing”; a divorced dad’s hot rod able to really rev, crawlspace under the house, tree house getting taken down, Cole can’t really drive yet (dad trying and failing to teach him how), toy cars all over the hallway…you get the idea.

Just let the story wash over you and admire the tongue-in-cheek screenplay and those solid performances.

Score: 3 out of 5 pumpkins.

This entry was posted in 31 in 31, In Horror, Movie Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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