Netflix has such a huge variety original shows and films that Netflick of the Week was actually conceived as a way to highlight new and interesting content that hit Netflix, but didn’t get the attention they deserve.
As our content has moved online and Netflick of the Week topics have become heavily focused on new releases, it’s also the first line of defense keeping the viewing audience from watching bad movies.
“The Babysitter”” is certainly not good.
Released on October Friday the 13th. “The Babysitter” is a horror comedy that isn’t scary and doesn’t deliver many laughs. It’s a confused movie that, while not in-your-face terrible, never tries to be anything more than passable.
The film follows 12-year-old Cole Johnson (Juda Lewis), the last person in his school to still have a babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving) his long-time babysitter and friend. Cole’s fears and general anxiety for all things make him a punching bag for his classmates as he suffers through a traditional middle school experience for a nerdy young boy. That is until one night Cole stays up past his bedtime and witnesses Bee and her friends murder a nerd from their class as part of a satanic cult sacrifice.
The problems with “The Babysitter” begin with it simply not working as a horror film.
There are several times where Cole is able to break free from his high school pursuers outside of his home, which is in the middle of an entirely average suburb. Instead of running through the streets screaming for help, or going to his best friend’s house which is just across the street Cole, decides to hide in his house crawl space, which he is terrified of because it is packed with spiders, and uses “Home Alone” style shenanigans to escape once the people attempting to murder him finally catch up.
There always must be a suspension of disbelief in horror films, but time after time, “The Babysitter” moves its characters to the next set-piece with no motivation or initiative from the characters. They’re just fulfilling the pages on the script.
“The Babysitter” has more issues than its director, however, who goes by McG. Although, when you are a professional film director who still goes by nickname McG when credited, it shouldn’t come as no surprise to hear this film lacks any and all subtlety.
The foreshadowing is sloppy and almost screaming at the viewer, “Remember me for later,” only to flashback to the same moment later on as well. There also are sometimes phrases or words that pop onto the screen when something happens. As Cole witnesses the initial sacrifice take place, the words “WHAT THE FUCK” pop up on screen, for some reason in a grindhouse-inspired font.
What’s a shame is that “The Babysitter” has a lot of elements that work in its favor. The cast of young actors and actresses work very well together, with Lewis and Weaving having a chemistry as the babysitted and the babysitter. Robbie Amell’s character Max, an incredibly positive horror slasher with an aversion to shirts, is one of the film’s best elements.
Finding out your babysitter is part of a satanic cult? That’s a wonderful premise, ultimately wasted with generic teenage horror tropes with characters and humor that’s juvenile to a level that quickly becomes a bother.
Honestly, “The Babysitter” is a film that refuses to try. It doesn’t try to give any motivation to its high school characters to be participating in a satanic sacrifice, it doesn’t try to find a reason for Cole to keep trying to hide in his own house and it doesn’t try to be scary. Feel free skipping this Netflix original. If you’re looking for a horror film, there are better options out there.