Yes, the gang is back from the first Babysitter film. That’s not quite the spoiler that you’d think it is. As part of the first Friday in THS Fright-A-Thon, we’re going over a new horror film. The Babysitter: Killer Queen just recently came out on Netflix. The first film, The Babysitter was a pleasant surprise of a horror/comedy. It had great performances from the two child actors in Judah Lewis and Emily Alyn Lind. Those two return in addition to Andrew Bachelor, Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Leslie Bibb, and Ken Marino. Also returning are McG as director and Brian Duffield as writer.
This time around, somehow the murderous teenage cult from the first film finds it’s way back in to Cole’s life. He’s now in freshman year of high school along with Melanie and her friends, Jimmy, Diego, and Boom Boom. The basic premise is that Cole’s parents think he’s nuts from the events of the first film. Bee’s body wasn’t recovered in the auto accident that ended the first film. So he’s dealing with increasing use of prescription meds to level off his “insane” thoughts. Melanie convinces him to take a trip out to the lake instead of waiting for his parents to take him to the asylum.
The film sets up the plot for the second film pretty seamlessly, but is it worth a watch, especially considering how surprisingly good the first film is? Let’s dig a bit deeper. But first, SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST 30 MINUTES OF THE FILM AHEAD. SO BE WARNED.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen Is Not For The Uptight Horror Fan
Normally I like waiting for the hard hitting analysis for the very end of the piece. This time, we’re starting off with it. If you are at all any type of hard-line “horror fan”, you will not like this movie. The jokes will go over your head. Sorry, I love 80’s horror movies just as much as you do, but it’s time to let some other stuff shine. This film takes a lot of inspiration from it’s past. Like McG’s other films, it’s a fever-dream of music, style, not too much substance, and bright colors. This film however, does contain much more substance than I originally thought.
Ken Marino gets a beefed up role here, as opposed to the quick cameo and way to set up the plot in the first film. He’s also given more chops for an emotional performance that I haven’t seen in him before. I’m so used to his comedic roles that some of the emotion that he gives off, particularly when grappling with his son either being insane or not, it’s surprising. I would love to see what he could do with a whole film based around him.
The other standout performances are Robbie Amell, Andrew Bachelor, Judah Lewis, and Jenna Ortega as Phoebe. I wasn’t convinced that Phoebe would be much more than the classic “new character that’s kooky”, but she did much more with the role than I was expecting. Judah Lewis stands out as the basic spine to the whole film. This is no longer a child acting, it’s a man. He’s still a bit bumbling, but his emotional journey sets this film apart. Amell and Bachelor are the stand-out funniest performances in the film though. Amell steals the scene every time he’s on screen, just like the first film.
Some Acts Wear Thin Though
I hate to say it, after the, I would say, star-making performance that Bella Thorne gave in the first film, she’s not given much to work with here. Hana Mae Lee is also given almost nothing to work with and is quickly the first casualty of the original gang in the film. It’s perplexing especially considering how big of a star Bella Thorne is on the internet now. The other characters aren’t written like complex characters either, but these two get the short end of the stick. Thorne still plays the ditzy Allison well enough.
Also the film tried to make a sort of comparison between the old guard in: Max, Allison, Sonya, John, and Bee and the new guard in: Melanie, Jimmy, Diego, and Boom Boom. That quickly is thrown out in favor of the old crew. Jimmy is given some funny commentary on young people and how they talk these days. Diego and Boom Boom are fairly generic and don’t stand out in the grand scheme of things. The way they die is also out of left field and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But this is a movie about satanic teenage cults trying to get the blood of the innocent. I’m not looking for complex narratives that enrich my life and neither should you.
The Thinnest Aspect That Doesn’t Work At All
McG’s directing style shouldn’t be a mystery. He’s most well-known for music videos. What are music videos designed to do? Get your attention and hold it for three to four minutes. There are some scenes in The Babysitter: Killer Queen that just do not work at all. One in particular is the fight scene between Phoebe and Melanie. It just sticks out like a sore thumb and doesn’t really work from a comedic standpoint. It’s framed like a fighting game like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, but it just falls flat. The other scene that I know people are going to complain about is the assumed “sex scene” in the film. I’ll just say, people are too uptight, and that one actually works with the wild and wacky way it’s presented. And yes, it is safe for work.
Other than that, the film is highly entertaining at it’s core. It works well on multiple levels as a sequel to a fun film.
Other Things That Work Well In The Babysitter: Killer Queen
The Effects Are Much Better This Time Around
The effects particularly the CG ones, were a bit lacking in the first film. It’s not going to have life-like realistic effects, but the over-the-top cartoonish ones work well here. What is particularly striking that I enjoyed was the just buckets of blood that are used when someone is killed. The whole film is a living cartoon like Shoot Em’ Up, so make it as unrealistic as possible. People are covered in blood and it shows by the end of the film. Cole and Phoebe are practically painted red by the end of it.
Also the more supernatural CG parts of the film do not stick out in a bad way. Normally with a lower budget film, you’d be able to see where the effects are being superimposed on the physical models. Here, that’s not evident very often. Especially at the climax of the film, where there’s a lot of CG effects.
The Soundtrack Is All Over The Place And That’s Okay
I was watching and thinking that the soundtrack was going to be distracting. Remembering that McG is well versed in music videos, it makes sense that all of the major action scenes in the film have some licensed music over them. The standout scenes that you’re going to remember from the film all have songs that keep up with the action and don’t actually overtake what’s going on, on film.
Finally, The Ending Somehow Makes A Lot Of Sense
Not to spoil anything about the film. But the ending of this film is interconnected with the events of the first film. It all gets wrapped up in a nice way. The world here is built in a surprisingly fleshed out way. Ending the film the way it does, doesn’t feel cheap, and it’s a nice payoff at the end in the final scene. The film feels smart, and that’s striking to the overall tone that it brings across. You wouldn’t expect this much heart out of a sequel, let alone one that goes over the top of the original.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen Eclipses The Original
At the end of the film, you’re not left with a movie that’s going to change your life, but you are getting one that will entertain you. That’s really all that matters when you watch most films out there. The Babysitter: Killer Queen is simply better than the original. While the original is a simple, albeit violent film, this one is more violent, less simple, but it doesn’t change how fun it is. Some things stick out like a fight scene and some of the jokes won’t be very funny after viewing (example: some joke about Travis Scott and a Jenner). I thoroughly enjoyed this film and recommend it for anyone looking for a fun ride for an hour and forty minutes.
For more on Horror, check out the rest of THS Fright-A-Thon.