The horror genre loves a babysitter movie. And Shudder is ready to introduce you to a new twist on the classic tale with Spoonful of Sugar. Suffice it to say, this nanny is no Mary Poppins.

Spoonful of Sugar introduces us to Millicent (Morgan Saylor), who’s trying to land a babysitting/nannying job for a sickly child, Johnny (Danilo Crovetti). As she gets interviewed by Johnny’s mother Rebecca (Kat Foster) however, we quickly realize both women are clearly hiding things. 

Rebecca says Johnny has too many severe allergies to be allowed outside the home. He also never speaks. (Hello, red flags!) She’s also weirdly testy about discussing their last babysitter. Millicent, meanwhile, claims she’s 21 (she’s clearly younger), and cagily deflects when Rebecca asks about her family and romantic life.

The movie establishes a tone of suspicion early on; you get the impression that a lot is going unsaid, and everyone has something to hide. That feeling is underscored at every turn, although ultimately things are a little less mysterious and a little more… openly unhinged.

Not a sound mind in sight

Rounding out our cast of characters we have Johnny’s father Jacob (Myko Olivier), who probably had an affair with the last nanny and sets his sights on Millicent next; Dr. Welsh (Keith Powell), a therapist who’s giving Millicent LSD and Johnny a bunch of mysterious pills to treat allergies he definitely doesn’t have; and Millicent’s current foster father (David Yow), who probably murdered his wife and is not-very-patiently awaiting Millicent’s 18th birthday to consummate their “relationship.” (Yikes.) 

Millicent, for her part, spends her time hallucinating thanks to the LSD, fantasizing about having sex with both Jacob and the devil himself, trying to abduct kids at playgrounds, and finding new ways to undermine all of Rebecca’s rules for taking care of Johnny.

When I say every single person in this movie is completely deranged, I mean it. There is not a sane, well-adjusted, reasonable or relatable individual to be found here. 

(And if you’re thinking, what about the kid? Isn’t he trapped in all this? Well, just know that he keeps physically attacking his mother randomly, and shows Millicent his collection of dead rabbits buried in the backyard. Again, his problem is not severe allergies.)

Spoonful of Sugar is like a Lifetime movie

I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of what happens in Spoonful of Sugar. It’s one of those films that’s best watched cold, without knowing too much about it. It’s not even about plot spoilers so much as the experience of watching this movie.

As a horror film, it’s okay, depending on how you like your horror. (Spoonful of Sugar is horrific, for sure, but it’s not really scary.) But Spoonful of Sugar really shines as more of a Lifetime flick. The characters are bonkers. It’s bizarre and surprising, somehow moving both towards the ending you expect and jumping through the most unpredictable hoops to get there. 

(That said, I want to be clear that the movie’s acting and cinematography is solid, and significantly outpaces your standard Lifetime flick.)

Spoonful of Sugar isn’t going to make my list of favorite horror films, but I can’t deny it really gripped me from start to finish (just like a good Lifetime movie). I didn’t like a single character, but I was invested in seeing what they’d do next. At one point, I even genuinely gasped out loud because I was so caught up in the drama. I’m not scared, but I am certainly entertained – and that helps the medicine go down, for sure.

You can stream Spoonful of Sugar on Shudder now.