The Babysitter (Movie Review)

The Babysitter (Movie Review)
8 10

PLOT: A teenager learns a frightening truth about his otherwise awesome babysitter when she invites some friends over one night.

REVIEW: About four minutes into THE BABYSITTER, I was sure I was going to hate it. Right off the bat, the movie exudes an aura of thinking it's too cool; it uses snippets from about five different pop songs in its first couple of scenes, unnecessary graphics spring onto the screen, calling attention to themselves, the characters' dialogue is irritating and unrealistic. At some point early on I was reminded that the film was directed by McG, and I thought, "Of course. This is the most McG movie of all time." After recently suffering through HAPPY DEATH DAY, another snide PG-13 slasher was not what I needed.

But, thankfully, THE BABYSITTER turned out to get edgier, funnier, nastier as it moved along, and I ultimately found myself digging it. The sarcastic attitude remained, but the cast was having fun spitting out their lines and playing around in the copious amounts of blood that suddenly gushed forth. McG's worst tendencies were toned down as well, and the film proved to be solidly directed and cut. You're hard-pressed to resist its maniacal charms.

It's difficult to get into the plot too much without spoiling the fun twists, but if you've seen the trailer you get the idea. (And if you haven't seen the trailer, I recommend staying away from it.) Our protagonist is Cole (Judah Lewis), a teenaged nerd who is slightly ashamed his parents still hire a babysitter to look after him. But if you're a teen boy who has to have a babysitter, you definitely want this one. Bee (Samara Weaving) is blond, sexy, quick-witted and really knows her geek stuff (she can talk Star Trek and Alien with the best of them). She's the prototypical girl of everybody's dreams. Further still, she really seems to like Cole. The one thing Cole isn't sure about is what Bee gets up to when he goes to sleep, so late one night he decides to stay awake to find out if she's bringing any boys over. What he sees is not what he expects.

I'll leave the details out, but Bee brings over a few friends: Bitchy Allison (Bella Thorne), jock-bro Max (Robbie Amell), mysterious Sonya (Hana Mae Lee) and jokester John (Andrew Bachelor). Sticking out from the pack is Samuel (Doug Haley), who is so dorky he makes Cole look cool. The group intends to play a round of spin-the-bottle and all goes quite well in that department (Bee and Allison's kiss is something to behold, won't lie), until, well, things go off the rails and people start dying.

The rest of the film is a fast-paced, crazy-as-hell bloodbath. Boobs are shot, throats are chopped open, eyeballs gouged, the works. All the while, the movie maintains its upbeat, nearly John Hughes-esque sense of humor - it's really more of a comedy than a horror movie. The best comparison I can make is the recently-released BETTER WATCH OUT, which similarly took what seemed to be a standard home invasion scenario and turned the sub-genre on its head with demented good cheer.

While McG impressively keeps this crazy train rolling along, it's the cast that really sells the thing. Judah Lewis is very likable as the shocked and startled young man who has to learn how to man up in an increasingly freaky scenario. Thorne, Haley, Lee, and Amell all excel at playing up their archetypal roles (Amell is especially amusing in his scenes with Lewis), and Weaving positively steals the show in what should be a star-making performance. This, combined with the upcoming MAYHEM (out in November), cements Weaving as not only a terrific actress to have in your horror-comedy, but just a superbly appealing screen presence in general.

What's most memorable about the film is the relationship between Cole and Bee. It gets complicated toward the end, for sure, but it's the glue that keeps all this madness together. I can't say how it all ends up, but their last few scenes together are sweet, absurd, just generally f*cked up. That's essentially how I'd describe THE BABYSITTER, which will make for very good company this Halloween.

Extra Tidbit: THE BABYSITTER hits Netflix October 13th.



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