Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Chills & Thrills: The Babysitter (2017)

Movie Name/Year: The Babysitter (2017)
Tagline: Dream girls can be a nightmare.
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production Companies: Boies / Schiller Film Group, New Line Cinema, Wonderland Sound and Vision
Producer: Devin Andre, Steven Bello, Alexander Boies, Brian Duffield, McG, James McGough, Zack Schiller, David Siegel, Mary Viola, Jimmy Warden
Director: McG
Writer: Brian Duffield
Actors: Judah Lewis, Samara Weaving, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, Doug Haley, Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino, Samuel Gilbert, Zachary Alexander Rice, Miles J. Harvey, Chris Wylde

Blurb from Netflix: When Cole stays up past his bedtime, he discovers that his hot babysitter is part of a satanic cult that will stop at nothing to keep him quiet.

Selina’s Point of View:
The Babysitter looked like it was going to be a trope-y, corn-fest of a film. I was positive that the only reason I could possibly be amused by it at all was because it was one of those ‘so bad it’s good’ movies. I was super wrong. This is 100% a case of don’t judge a book by its cover.

I was shocked by how good the film actually was. I was a little distracted when I started watching it, but by the end I was completely invested.

On the surface, a lot of the characters seem to fit their little profiles. But it’s almost like The Cabin in the Woods (2012) in that the creators KNOW the characters are all trope archetypes and they play around with that. They turn things on their head and change well-know motivations into something else.

I’m not saying they completely subvert the expected – but the majority of the tropes they tease are actually avoided and make it more shocking or funny when a trope actually lands.

My brother-type actually recommended it to me a few months ago, and now I see why. It was completely up my alley. It was horror and comedy – split almost right down the middle. It struck a perfect balance between gory suspense and dark humor.

There really wasn’t anything I disliked about The Babysitter. Sign me up for the cult. I’m in.

Cat’s Point of View:
I had a feeling I was going to like this movie, but I underestimated how much. I laughed, I was horrified, and I was exerting much willpower to not talk to the screen or shout when I got startled. (I generally end up watching movies for the blog after everyone else in my house is in bed – when it’s not something they want to watch, that is.)

Now THIS film was immensely successful in the horror-comedy genre blend. I didn’t have to struggle to find the laughs – it was blissfully effortless. At the same time, there was no less connection to the characters for it. My heart went out to the soft-spoken main character who just wanted to be taken seriously in spite of his age.

I have a special place in my heart for 80’s slasher movies. Back then, I wasn’t allowed to watch R ratings, so any time I got a chance to watch one on the sly, it was extra enjoyable. Horror and babysitting seems to be quite the pairing, honestly. One of the scariest ghost stories ever is the one where the killer is calling the babysitter from inside the house, after all. There’s a pair of movies based on that story, even… but I digress. When I used to babysit, I would wait until the kids were in bed and then turn on HBO (or MTV…but mostly HBO) so I could catch Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996).

Getting back to the point – this film felt like someone reached back and snagged one of those screen gems and brought it into the present day. When you add to that a few standard horror movie tropes getting flipped on their heads, it’s bloody brilliant.

Let’s talk cast. I promise I won’t go gushing about shirtless Robbie Amell (The Hunters, Max, ARQ). Promise. (Ahem. Moving on.) Surprisingly, one of my favorites of the antagonists was played by Hana Mae Lee (Unleashed, Patriot, Love Beats Rhymes). This role was a far cry from her whisper-mumbling character, Lilly, in the Pitch Perfect (2012) trilogy.

Another stand-out for me was decidedly Samara Weaving (Mystery Road, Bad Girl, Monster Trucks), as Bee. She had the down-to-earth, yet badass girl-next-door thing really dialed in. There’s some nuance to her performance that seems to allude to a deeper story. I might just watch this again to see if I can piece it together. Of course, it might be nothing – but then, that’s half the fun, right?

My hat goes off to young Judah Lewis (Demolition, Game of Silence, Summer of '84). His resume might be on the short side with only 9 current acting entries on IMDb, but this kid is really going places if he keeps up this momentum.

All in all, I think this is an excellent choice for some spooktacular fun leading up to Halloween. It was aptly released on Friday the 13th a year ago, to this very month. Just keep in mind that while some of the main characters here are kids, like It (2017), this is not a kid-friendly movie. 

Speech Available: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles Available: French, English, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 72%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 60%
Metascore - 24/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.7/10
IMDB Score – 6.3/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4.5/5

P.S. Short scene in the middle of the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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