THE BABYSITTER (OCTOBER 28TH)


YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU TAKES PART IN THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE; WATCHING ONE HORROR MOVIE A DAY THROUGHOUT OCTOBER. SOME OF THEM OLD, SOME OF THEM NEW, SOME OF THEM HAVE JUST BEEN ON OUR SHELVES FOR YEARS GATHERING DUST, STILL IN CELLOPHANE...

As my next watch is The Blood on Satan's Claw - I wanted to pick something quite different for tonight's 31 days watch. It took me about fifteen seconds browsing on Netflix to find that movie - The Babysitter.

It's a film that I have seen and heard a lot of horror fans talking about. Some seemed to have really liked it whilst others apparently haven't been as enamoured with the irreverent tone and over-the-top gore. However films like that often pique my interest. Add in the fact that McG was directing and the rather bonkers trailer and it was an easy decision.

12 year old Cole is an only child who has an embarrassing secret. He still has a babysitter. Well actually it's not a secret - he's ridiculed for it on a regular basis by his peers. Although clearly feels the effects of the bullying and teasing (he's a bit fragile), his relationship with his babysitter sure helps. She's called Bee. She may be a few years older than him but the two of them get on like a house on fire. Oh and she's super hot, of course. I'm not sure there's a scene in this movie where she's not strolling around in a pair of tiny shorts. That's not a complaint mind you. To balance things up, there is a rather good looking dude who is basically topless for the second half of the movie. Anyway, I digress. Cole's parents head off for the weekend, leaving Bee in sole charge of their son. Things are going great and the pair are having a blast. However, a girl at school that Cole is sweet on has told him that all babysitter's invite their boyfriends over during the night and Cole stays awake in an effort to prove her wrong. But when a group of people turn up during the middle of the night, Cole spies on them from the stairs. At first it's just Bee and a group of her friends playing truth or dare. But after one of the group is ritualistically murdered by the Bee as the rest look on, Cole begins to understand that the situation is worse than he could have ever expected - and he himself might be in imminent danger from his mysterious babysitter and her friends. Can he survive the night.

I have to say, I quite enjoyed this. It kind of ticks all the boxes that need ticking for a horror comedy. Great action, sharp dialogue, cool death scenes, a likeable cast, moments of seriousness amongst the mayhem. The Babysitter is not a film that takes itself very seriously at all. Some horror-comedies are intent on delivering genuine scares whereas this is intended as a bloody bit of fun. It's self-awareness and 'smile and wink' attitude means that bemoaning it's use of horror tropes and cliches is rather pointless. In fact, it uses them to it's advantage. In one scene, a tied-up Cole attempts to cut his way through his restraints, not realising that behind him on the wall is a huge mirror, so his assailants can see exactly what he's doing. There are also a lot of boob jokes, which admittedly do wear after a while...

Some of the criticism levelled at the film is because of McG's 'quirky' direction and by that I mean Zombieland style text overlays and other 'break-the-fourth-wall' moments. Tonally it does twist and turn too, which may confuse some. Sure, it's also loaded with relatively predictable set-ups and plot points, yet everything does still connect and feels cohesive at least. People may also point to the fact that during all the carnage inside (and out) this house in suburban America, where the hell are all the neighbours? Not one person seemingly notices all the screaming and gun shots and bloodletting. But hey, this isn't a film that you really need to be worrying about any of that. If realism is what you are after, this probably isn't for you!

The two leads (Judah Lewis and Samara Weaving) are also very watchable and their on-screen chemistry is obvious. Whilst Weaving is delightfully ruthless as the babysitter from hell (literally), Lewis carries the action and emotional weight of the movie (yes, there is a little emotional weight in there somewhere) and gives a solid comedic performance to boot. He isn't just a leering kid on the verge of adulthood, there's a bit more to him than that.

Some people may not get on board with the campyness of The Babysitter. It's irreverence may bother some but if you can't enjoy seeing people get blown up by fireworks or having their head ripped off, then shame on you.

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