Starring: Judah Lewis, Samarah Weaving, Robbie Amell
Running Time: 85 mins
The Babysitter is an American film about a 12 year old who ends up in a life-or-death survival situation after discovering his babysitter is a part of a satanic cult, and will do anything to stop him from telling anyone.
As stupid and juvenile as this film appears, it’s actually a lot of fun. While it doesn’t win any prizes for being the year’s most intelligent film, nor does it feature anything particularly novel in terms of its genre, but it is still a fast-paced, fun-loving horror extravaganza that, while not faultless, keeps you fully entertained for the best part of an hour and a half.
Let’s start with what arguably works best about the whole film: the directing. Above all, McG does a great job with making the film a fantastically self-aware, and as a result, really fun-loving affair, and that does wonders to make the whole movie a great deal more entertaining to watch from start to finish.
What’s more is that the director paces the movie brilliantly throughout. There’s no time wasted setting up particularly deep characters, nor is there much emphasis on establishing the typical eerie atmosphere that many horror-comedies go for early on. Instead, we’re plunged right into the mess of things within the first fifteen minutes, making the film a load of fun right from the start.
The great thing about The Babysitter is that, while it’s not the world’s most intelligent film, it’s not on the level of Scary Movie, where horror and genre parody completely takes over the whole movie. While there is a great deal of that too, the film is well balanced between sillier parody and its own crazy story, effectively streamlining the film as a whole to something much simpler, and much more entertaining too.
When it comes to that story, there are two sides to it all. On the one hand, it’s a really fun survive-the-night-style thriller, and seeing a 12 year old boy getting caught up in some seriously gory and often messed-up stuff is actually pretty entertaining. There are moments that’ll remind you of Home Alone, but then you see some things that are far, far more outlandish, but it all works fantastically in the middle of the film’s fun-loving vibes.
On the other hand, there are some parts of the plot that don’t work quite as well. It’s a really fun survival thriller, but whenever the movie stops for a moment to bring some emotion into play, it really loses its charm and fun. Yes, a bit of character development is obviously necessary to keep the film moving throughout, but I felt that there was often too much of a juddery disparity between the action and the ‘drama’, and it occasionally made for frustrating stoppages in the middle of some very entertaining action sequences.
Finally, we come to the performances, which are again not entirely perfect, but still fairly decent. In the lead role, the young Judah Lewis is really entertaining throughout. He brings a little bit of the Home Alone vibe at times, but also proves confident enough on screen to make his character’s rapid maturing over the course of one night from hell fully convincing.
What’s more, he manages to own every one of his scenes with his older co-stars, consistently proving the most charismatic and exciting on-screen presence, and although some of the other actors do have some entertaining moments, they do feel a little wooden in comparison to the film’s young lead.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with The Babysitter. It’s not a perfect film, but it is a simple and fun action horror comedy that you can sit back and enjoy from start to finish. With an entertaining story paced excellently and directed strongly throughout, it’s a surprisingly well-executed movie, playing further to its advantage in making a solidly enjoyable flick, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.