A horror comedy has to strike you at the right moment. It is best when less a send up and more of a deliberate revel letting itself be stupid and over-the-top without being, shall we say, obstinate.
For those who insist on seriousness in horror to the point of stultification, The Babysitter will certainly be unsatisfying. For those who know there’s quality horror in being seriously silly, The Babysitter will be fun and rewarding.
Cole (Judah Lewis) is a 12-yr-old still being babysat. His babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) is one of his only friends and a male nerd’s walking fantasy–beautiful, funny, playful, tough, and deeply knowledgeable about all things geekery. Cole is a good kid or, at least, may become one, but his tribe is somewhere between the smarter end of the Reddit and the enabling populace of 4Chan.
Because his is our hero POV, we get all his craven hopes, dreams, and fears. Immediately, we realize we are in a stupid universe. And in this fan fic, Bee turns out to be the leader of a Satanic cult of popular teens looking to perform a ritual using Cole’s innocent blood. Cole stumbles upon their human sacrifice; hijinks ensue. Killing off the fantasy, revealed as a devilishly evil, and finding his confidence allows Cole realize his genuine best friend Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind) is for whom his energies should be expended. Of course, the Comicbook-Guys of the world will loath this story.
Most horror film folk hate this movie. I think they do because it lays bare just how stupid the slasher genre, the teen horror genre, the demon/devil worship trope, and nearly all pubescent male fantasies are. Is The Babysitter campy? Not as much as you’d think. But it is wonderfully self-conscious refusing to shy away from the stupidities of its genre. In fact, it doubles-down turning up all the ridiculousness to cartoonish level which make for moments of blurting laughter and head-shaking. This film isn’t a send-up, spoof, unintentionally funny, or ham-fistedly ironic. Rather, it’s stylized foolishness and should be enjoyed as such, which means in the moment and then forgotten.
The Babysitter is insulting because all of the allusions it makes in costume, character, and plot are directly and perfectly mocking what so many far too earnest horror-nerds love. It is an excellent insult.
A stupid, fun splatter flick.