Benjamin Frohman ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Contributor
Movies distributed by Netflix have been a new phase in watching cinema. Beasts of No Nation, Okja, Hush, and The Fundamentals Of Caring are just a few of the movies Netflix has released in the past years. The push for more films from Netflix comes from the realization that Netflix users like to watch movies they haven’t seen before from the comfort of their home. The Babysitter, directed by McG, is a step in a new direction not yet seen by Netflix before, it’s a horror comedy film that puts a spin on the overdone babysitter trope.
The story focuses on a cowardly boy named Cole, (Judah Lewis), who is navigating the tricky corridors of adolescence and middle school. Cole is smart, driven, and charismatic but isn’t understood by anyone except his neighbor of the same age, Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind), and his cool high school babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving).
The simple storyline gets complicated when Cole sees Bee using his house as a place for sacrifice. From there the film goes into a Home Alone-esque folly as Cole deals with the other sacrifice participants, who include deranged Max (Robbie Amell), cliché Allison (Bella Thorne), funny John (Andrew Bach), and charismatic Sonya (Hana Mae Lee), each playing an extreme psychotic stereotype of high schoolers. The Babysitter is crude, graphic, and unfiltered, which adds a touch of pizazz to a Netflix film.
The film does exploit female sexuality, using a game of spin the bottle as a cheap turn on. It also relies on graphic violence to instill shock value and some overdone extravagance. However, it manages to build the character of Bee to a character that is not only multidimensional but one you almost sympathize with, which is not often what happens with female characters or villainess characters in Teen Horror flicks. The bond between Bee and Cole is one of the best characteristics of the film as it explores a volatile relationship once rooted in respect and admiration.
The key finesse of the film comes from the underlying relationship forming between Melanie and Cole. When the two have scenes together at school, all the other kids around them slow down, as Cole and Melanie remain the same speed with each other. This technique is so effective in showing the bond forming between them.
The development of Cole’s character is extremely prominent, as the film not only serves as a teen horror film but also demonstrates a coming of age story. This character development keeps the picture on track and delivers it to a satisfactory close.
The film has garnered mostly negative reviews, which is unsurprising, as it is a teen horror comedy that is most likely targeted to a pubescent teen boy audience. The Babysitter may not reinvent the whole genre or rejuvenate the teen horror comedy movie subgroup. However, it does add character to this genre by spicing up an underwhelming collection of teen horror comedies and lets the viewer relish in bloody mayhem and a nail-biting joyride.
Overall Grade: C+
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