Article by Harrison Squire Mines
I must admit, when I heard Netflix was putting out a babysitting comedy, my gut reaction was they can do better. The babysitter trope has been stretched in so many directions the narrative has become stale by 2017.
Netflix isn’t one to miss the mark, so I wondered how they would deliver with such a dated premise. Much to my surprise– disbelief, honestly– The Babysitter was sick, ridiculous, irreverent fun.
With a Friday the 13th release date, the odds were stacked in favor of Happy Death Day in theaters; even the Friday the 13th franchise had more promotion on streaming services than this Netflix underdog.
After watching, though, the Friday the 13th (of October, no less) premiere of The Babysitter fit like a glove. McG’s electric slasher comedy emulated all the Halloween slumber party feelings I never knew I missed. I say this fondly: The Babysitter makes no sense at all, and the slapstick bloodbath is eager to celebrate immaturity and gore.
The screenplay could have easily been directed to a dry wit comedic effort, but the satanic twist on the classic girl-next-door tale called for a more epic, nonsensical endeavor. Everything from virgin sacrifice spin-the-bottle to egg yolk asphyxiation; The Babysitter is irrational and flaunts it.
Bella Thorne is this generation’s Lindsay Lohan and is likely the biggest star cast in The Babysitter. The film’s horror conventions are met with equal parts teen comedy, chiding football jock intellect and popular girl cattiness. I am forever rooting for a pretty villain and Thorne is the exact one I love to hate.
If you want your work to be successful in 2017, take a hint from Stranger Things and the newest IT movie and refer to beloved films from the 80’s.
The Babysitter wasn’t marketed as a throwback in any capacity but undoubtedly borrows from 80’s classics both inside and outside of the horror genre.
Mimicking the spirit of coveted 80’s films is a nostalgic way to put a smile on any viewer’s face.
To reiterate: I had low expectations for this film.
Even after I learned more about the film’s scary twist on classic babysitting stories, I doubted that I could relate to The Babysitter beyond mere curiosity as a horror fan. Despite the routine character elements and outrageous slasher sequences, The Babysitter is surprisingly sweet, and essentially a hero’s journey with an anti-bullying theme.
As we root for timid and intelligent Cole, the underdog of his character slowly dissipates and results in a full-fledged powerhouse. In babysitter stories of the past, the boy gets the dream girl. In 2017’s The Babysitter, the boy also rushes the dream girl with an airborne sports car.
This film hardly touches the iconography of Scream or Halloween but was an uncovered gem in my Recommended queue the night of Friday the 13th. Especially if you least expect it, watch this film for an underrated merry bloodbath.
The Babysitter may surprise you.