Unpopped Kernels: The Babysitter (2017)

The allure of the babysitter has transcended different genres of films. There’s the seductive thrillers a la The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, or the tortured victim as part of horrors, stalked by a ghoulish entity. They are usually dippy young girls thrust into Final Girl mode as they romp over the screen, trying desperately to save the kid, save themselves…or have sex with the Dad.

Anyway, horror film The Babysitter is an entertaining piece of horror action.

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The Babysitter revolves around 12 year-old Cole. He’s your atypical nerdy kid who is bullied at school and has exactly one friend. Well, two, if you include his babysitter Bee. Despite his age, and being the only child in his school still in need of one, Cole is happy that Bee is there. The two are massive cinema nerds and have a special kindred friendship. She is also super-hot and popular, which makes everyone somewhat jealous of Cole’s time with her. On the suggestion of his friend Melanie, Cole wants to figure out exactly what happens when he goes to bed…only to discover that Bee is part of a satanic cult and has been sacrificing people in the dead of night. Now Cole has to stop her before things get seriously out of hand.

Everyone’s obsession with the 80’s has really over-boiled to the point where it has become somewhat a bit tasteless. Whether it is a shrewd imitation of the tropes of eighties flicks or utilising synth scores and the era’s aesthetics, hungry, addicted fans can’t get enough of an era where shoulder pads were actually a thing.

The Babysitter certainly borrows from these recent obsession in it’s satire of 80s horror films and usage of ultra-violet colour and gaming visuals. However, director McG has amplified these tropes in a gleefully bloody and cheeky way. The film is over-the-top and with a sexual, seductive wink to the camera, it knows it. With no genuine frights, McGee relies on the splattering of bloody red stuff as really as some pretty humorous dialogue in a feverishly fast and enjoyable ride.

What makes The Babysitter so much fun is how briliant lead actress Samara Weaving is. Like, you can completely understand why Cole would want her around as a Babysitter. Heck, I’m 28 and I want her as a babysitter. She is impossible smart, witty, and quotes The Godfather, for christ’s sake. She is every 12 year old boys dream. Whilst that may be a fault: an extension of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, Weaving those a great job to play her with an assured depth. Opposite her is the young Judah Lewis who is terrific. He has to play complete nerd whilst also levelling up to hero status as he defeats, in particular gory fashion, the college kids turned satanic cult. They have bouts of chemistry as a friendship gone sour and it’s intriguing to watch this twist into prey and predator.
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A mix between The Final Girls and Stranger Things, The Babysitter may tire of the recent nostalgia resurgence and stumble half-way through, it is still a pleasurable and blood-splattering effort. A wildly entertaining film that will make for a perfect Halloween viewing this weekend or upcoming frightful Tuesday.

Happy Halloween! 

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