Film Review

McG’s The Babysitter: Killer Queen

The first Babysitter on Netflix is one of my favourite 80’s nostalgia bath horror flicks out there, so naturally I was curious about the recent sequel, Babysitter: Killer Queen. The first film is a blast of retro pop culture referential bliss, cheerfully gruesome cartoon gore, vividly farcical archetypal characterizations, a beautifully bold colour palette and some punishingly funny dark humour. So how much of that does this sequel bring to the table? Well thankfully a lot, and ends being like… 70% as dope as the first with a ton of rambunctious energy and clever new ideas.. however, it implodes a bit in the third act with some inexplicably off kilter character/plot curveballs that just feel weird, which I’ll get to in a moment. It’s been a year or so since the events of the first films and young Cole (Judah Lewis) is still processing almost being murdered and sacrificed to Satan by his evil babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) and her mad dog gang of psycho high schoolers. Life goes on and no one seems to believe him until it all happens again, his would be best friend Em (Emily Alyn Lind) turns out to be another devil worshipping bitch who goes nuts on him right as Bee’s followers all rise from the dead for one night’s last chance to finish what they started and dispatch Cole for good. He’s joined by the ‘new girl’ in his class, a spitfire problem kid named Phoebe (Jenna Ortega) and soon enough genuine sparks fly between them. The action is shifted from the pastel suburbia aesthetic and placed on a riverboat and the surrounding Arizona desert/lake atmosphere for a nice change. The gore is fast and furious, the dialogue whip smart and reliably hilarious and the soundtrack packed with joyous 80’s deep cuts of everything from Alannah Myles’ Black Velvet to Tangerine Dream’s Love On A Real Train. It’s a ton of fun, except… well the problem here is Samara Weaving, or a lack of her anyways. Her character is pretty much absent for most of the film, while her exuberant cronies do much of the chasing, terrorizing and wise cracking. When she does eventually show up in the eleventh hour, she seems distracted, listless, even a little pale and not up to the task, like she was somehow forced into this by a contractual obligation and kept her presence as scant as possible. Nowhere to be found is the spunky, sexy, full of charisma and deadly sex appeal we remember her having from the first film. Additionally, they’ve chosen a completely out of left field twist on her character that makes absolutely zero sense when you look at the first film and feels just, so shoehorned in for whatever behind the scenes reasons, most likely spearhead by Weaving’s own ideas about the whole thing. It’s shocking and a bit frustrating and kind of derails the entire franchise, if I’m being honest. Still though, the first two thirds of the film are cracking stuff and on the level of pedigree as the first film, I’m just not sold on the ending, and whoever’s plan it was to go that route with this Bee character.

-Nate Hill

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