Bee interrogating Cole

Review: The Babysitter

Principal CastSamara Weaving as Bee
Judah Lewis as Cole
Emily Alyn Lind as Melanie
Robbe Amell as Max
Release Date2017
Running Time 85 minutes

The Babysitter is a mixed experience to say the least. The story follows Cole, your typical bullied nerdy kid and his babysitter, Bee, who acts as his friend, guardian, and confidante. Late one night, he finds out that his beloved Bee is actually the head of a satanic cult and has to find a way to get out of her cult’s clutches.

The setup for the plot isn’t awful . A kid with confidence issues finds out his babysitter, one of the few people he genuinely cares about, is head of a demonic cult and must find a way to survive. It leaves a lot of avenues to be explored. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t make use of any of them. The nature of the satanic cult is never really messed around with. No cool ritual stuff or fun gimmicks. Interactions between cult members hint at a history between them (potentially funny) , but that’s never explored. Characters get no time to breathe or give us a reason to root for or against them.None of the cult members outside of Bee and Max (the crazy jock of the group) feels fleshed out so they come off as annoying caricatures. This second problem spills outside of the cult as well. A lot of the supporting cast feels useless or tacked on. Outside of Melanie, Cole’s best friend, no one is utilized properly.

Direction ranges from strange to slightly better than expected. The score is typical for the type of movie this is, so while it doesn’t distract, it doesn’t lend itself to leaving a big impression. The movie makes use of floating words and pauses to create a strange comic-book feeling. It didn’t really work for me and I thought it was kind of strange. It didn’t add anything thematically and if it was an attempt at satire, it came off strange.

Speaking of satire, the movie is pretty hit-or-miss with its attempts at being funny with the genre. It doesn’t fully embrace the absurdity of camp like Dude Bro Party Massacre III and isn’t as clever as The Cabin in the Woods. It’s pretty on the nose about things, so if you’re looking for subtlety look elsewhere. I thought some of the moments worked, but others felt tacked on. The satire also isn’t properly integrated with the theme at the heart of the story- facing your fears and growing up. If it was, I think a lot of the movie could have been elevated. In fact, the reason I liked Max, is precisely because his absurdity and depiction with Cole directly ties in to the latter’s growth.

You see, despite my criticisms, I do enjoy the story’s exploration with growing up. Cole’s coming-of-age journey is just a more extreme version of things a lot of us have gone through, and I think the movie really nailed it. The relationship between Bee and Cole is actually pretty sweet and well-established so watching him deal with the revelation feels meaningful. Weaving’s performance certainly helps sell the emotional undercurrent of the story . It’s easy to see why Cole would be devastated at the revelation of Bee’s true nature, but on the flip side easy to see how good she was at manipulating him.

Report Card

TLDRThe Babsitter has some interesting ideas but rarely manages to be anything more than average. If you like Samara Weaving or are in the mood for a cheesy teen black comedy , then this movie might hit the spot.

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!


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