The Babysitter movie review: The essence of Home Alone mixed with glamourised slasher genre-elements
The Babysitter takes the essence of Home Alone and mixes it with glamourised slasher genre-elements. Its arrival at the doorstep of horror-comedy, featuring young adults, seems like an afterthought.
One hand of mine was enough to count the number of scenes that made my mouth drop to a smile. The smiles, too, weren’t wide. They were, in fact, shorter than I expected them to last.
The dull variety of horror comedies that releases week after week in Tamil and Telugu has made my heart stronger. That has helped me digest garbage wrapped in shiny paper. Indian horror comedies try to balance laughs with a heavily creamed ghost that goes on slapping the comedian, for no particular reason. Well, Hollywood, on the other hand, constantly explores various methods to extract humor from its materials.
The go-to horror comedy film for any 90s kid would be Scary Movie. 7 out of 10 urban 90s kids would have watched at least one of the films from the Scary Movie series. Sadly, even Hollywood isn’t making any of those today. It’s just interested in making the superhero movies where extraordinary humans fly and save the world from imaginary villains. The times of the Scary Movie series are behind us now. We’ve only got the wings of nostalgia to take us to that period.
McG’s The Babysitter has committed a crime by revealing its key plot points in the trailer. How are the scares going to kick me off my chair if I know when and where they’re coming? So, even though, the story is getting built up in the first twenty five minutes, there are no ghastly factors waiting for me in the corner of the Netflix screen.
When the film focuses on the 12-year-old Cole (played by Judah Lewis) enjoying his company with his sitter, Bee (a stunning Samara Weaving), I’m biting my nails for the scene in which she puts two knives in a man’s skull to appear. This is what the trailer made me do.
The camaraderie between the two is easily noticeable in the beginning, especially in the scene where Cole cries to Bee about feeling weird. He’s the only 12-year-old kid to have a sitter look after him; naturally, he thinks he’s missing something. We aren’t told what the issues are exactly. We don’t need to know about them either because that’s not what the film is about. But what’s the point of it all when the large share of the meat revolves around chases and killings, I ask myself. That particular scene would have worked wonders in a coming-of-age drama. In this film, it doesn’t serve any purpose.
Home Alone’s Macaulay Culkin had a genuine look of innocence on his face and when he planned a series of attacks against the intruders (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), the audience was on his side. Culkin was a sweet little kid with two thieves wanting to gain entry into his house, whereas Lewis is the boy who needs to act on his feet to get away from a group of mad killers. Killers are more dangerous than thieves, aren’t they?
The character Lewis plays in The Babysitter is older than Culkin’s in Home Alone. Hence, Lewis gets to indulge in teenage romance. Also, since the Netflix film has violence as its main stay, blood rushes out like juice from a switched-on broken mixer.
Hollywood isn’t different when it comes to answering the calls of male fantasies. While Indian filmmakers carve out spaces for item numbers and put women in bikinis, Hollywood goes a step further by making two women kiss. Haven’t men stated that they love to watch some girl-on-girl action? 1998’s Wild Things is still remembered for its famous threesome sex scene (Denise Richards, Neve Campbell, and Matt Dillon). The Babysitter might find a similar place in the Hall of Internet if the clip featuring Samara Weaving and Bella Thorne releases on YouTube, or other such sites. The film bats for women’s fantasies in this department poorly by making Robbie Amell’s character run around shirtless.
Men get to ogle at a sensual kiss, and all women get is a shirtless man? That’s not right, McG!
The really funny scene in the movie that stuck to me was: “What happens when you kill someone,” asks Weaving. Andrew Bachelor, who plays John, says, “They lose, like, all their Instagram followers!” Maybe, if the film had more of such pop culture filth, it’d have made a rightful case for a flavorful watch.
For now, it’s just a weird mix of cheap thrills and Samara Weaving’s gorgeousness.
The Babysitter can be streamed on Netflix India.