When I saw the trailer for The Babysitter, I knew beforehand not to expect much. I knew the kind of movie I was going into, and I knew that I wasn’t exactly walking in to a masterpiece. That being said, let’s review Netflix’s The Babysitter.
The Babysitter is a movie that classifies itself as a teen horror comedy flick.
It attempts to adapt all the jokes and comedy that comes from a stereotypical teenage drama, and blends it into a slasher-thriller type movie. It has the same over exaggerated stereotype characters and the same kind of humour that you can expect from these kinds of movies. Basically, think Mean Girls mixed with Scream.
Now I feel like I should discuss the general plot of this movie. The story revolves around a geeky boy who stays up past his bed time to find out what his hot babysitter gets up to when he’s asleep. To his horror, he discovers that she is instead part of a satanic murderous cult who will stop at nothing to keep him quiet.
Let’s start off with some of the good things about The Babysitter movie.
For one, this movie actually has some decent characters and the relationships between one another, especially Judah Lewis and Samara Weaving, who have a lot of chemistry. I didn’t expect them to spend time developing the protagonists in the first act, and while it caught me a little off guard, it did add to me caring about them in the second half when all hell breaks loose.
It meant that it wasn’t just another teen slasher flick, it had heart to it. The antagonist wasn’t some generic evil murderer, it was the cool babysitter that we had grown to like for the first act or so. And because of that, the protagonist actually had some internal conflict where he had to suppress his initial crush to kill her. I thought that was pretty cool.
One of the hardest things to account for is when a film is trying to parody the genre or stereotypes that can be expected. In that sense, the movie goes into this grey area where I’m not even sure if that’s something against the movie, or something that benefits from it.
Like I said before, The Babysitter has the same offensive jokes and the same over exaggerated violence.
It’s nothing new, and frankly, it’s not that funny. It’s so over the top that I hope that the intention was to parody itself, because I couldn’t take this film seriously in the least.
Let’s talk about the violence for a little bit. I’ve always had a problem with violence and gore, not that I’m someone that despises it, I just think that overusing it isn’t usually necessary. Especially in a ‘hardcore’ MA15+ horror comedy, the gore usually comes off as a joke. For example, there’s a scene where someone gets stabbed in the head with a knife, and the blood spurts all over someone else like a fountain. It’s not funny, it’s just gross and hard to watch.
A lot of films are able to accomplish the horror/comedy genre with a good blend between gripping horror and laugh-out-loud comedy. Unfortunately, The Babysitter isn’t one of them.
In fact, I’d struggle to call it horror at all, unless you’re someone that’s terrified of blood. At the bare minimum, a good horror film needs to have a good scary villain. That’s how a horror film works, by setting a terrifying threat that risks the protagonist’s safety, as well as giving the audience a good scare. This has none of that.
Instead we have a group of high school teenage stereotypes that play murderous hide and seek with a middle school kid. What makes it worse is the script writes in the worst jokes in the worst times that are supposed to be tense. There’ll be a scene where a guy is chasing the kid, and then he’ll suddenly stop to throw around some banter and give him some life advice.
On top of all of that, it seems like the producers don’t even understand their targeted audience. The film itself has an MA15+ rating, which can be shown through the offensive language and jokes, constant sexual imagery and utter gore porn. It’s one of the most ‘out there’ film, and yet it’s written and edited almost as if it was a middle school comedy for 12 year olds. Not that I have a problem with them, it’s just that it’s a very jarring difference to go from childish comedy into sexualised gore.
Now, by far one of the most annoying things about this film was these large reaction texts that they edit into the screen.
Whenever something surprising happens, we get a close up shot of a character’s reaction to it, followed by large texts that fill up the screen (like “WHAT THE F*CK”). It made the movie look more like an internet meme or a gif. The movie fails at delivering certain beats in the movie that they had to actually tell you how you’re supposed to react. I can look past everything else to an extent, but this crappy editing ruined the legitimacy of the entire film.
If you go into this movie expecting nothing more than a fun raunchy violent comedy, you will probably enjoy it. It’s not a godawful movie, it has some merits to it, and it is overall somewhat entertaining. But it is also far from a perfect movie. The film could’ve done better with a more menacing group of antagonists, a better script that wasn’t too focused on writing jokes, and just better jokes in general.
Also, take out those giant reaction texts, they’re bloody annoying.