There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
2020 Netflix Halloween Countdown
As crazy as it is to believe, it is already October 2020—it has been a bizarre year, for sure. For the past three years, I have been spending October watching and reviewing some of the spooky, scary, gory, chilling, and horror-themed movies on Netflix. With each review, I will include a table that ranks these movies from best to worst. This year will be my fourth year doing this, and I plan on publishing a new review each day. Some will be from movies that I have reviewed before, but there will be some new movies on here is well. So if you are looking to get in the Halloween spirit by watching some Halloween-style movies, then these articles are for you!
Cole (Judah Lewis) is a simple kid. He is naive, gets bullied at school, and he has an innocent crush on the girl that lives across the street. However, he has another crush, his babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving). He has become pretty good friends with Bee. She saves him from bullies, they play games together, talk about science fiction, and really just get along well. She is the perfect babysitter, but when someone at school mentions that she probably invites boys over after she puts him to bed, Cole decides that he is going to stay up late and spy on her.
Thus, he pretends to fall asleep and begins his surveillance. He soon discovers that Bee has invited people over, and they are playing what seems like an innocent game of spin the bottle. However, things take a sadistic turn when Bee stabs one of her guests in the head with two knives, allowing the rest of the group to collect his blood in ritualistic cups. While in a state of shock, Cole must quickly call the police and find a way out of the house before his babysitter (with her guests) come upstairs to collect the blood of the innocent.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
The Babysitter (+4pts)
Violence & Tone (+6pts)
Side Characters (-5pts)
Pro: Cole (+8pts)
I was surprised by how much I liked this character. When we first met him, he was getting a shot at school and was absolutely terrified of the needle. We then saw him getting bullied, we saw him afraid to drive, and we saw him too shy to tell the girl across the street that he liked her. This kid really came across as a pushover and a weak character that would be bullied throughout the first act or two of the story.
I knew this kid would go through some growth, but this kid went through some drastic growth and actually ended up holding his own against his babysitter's friends. I also thought the actor did a pretty decent job in the role. Cole witnessed and suffered through some pretty traumatic experiences and he grew ftom them throughout the film. I though Judah Lewis did a very good job of showing both extremes of the character as well as showing steady evolution that felt very natural.
Con: Plot (-6pts)
The plot for this movie was extremely predictable. From the few major plot points and everything in between, this story just felt vague and underdeveloped. The best example I can give without spoiling the movie was what the babysitter and her friends doing. They killed this guy, collected his blood, then tried to get the blood of the innocent.
That was their plan initially, and Bee had been reading all of these instructions from some demonic book. We never learn what she was trying to summon or why. We just knew that she was trying to do something very bad. The problem with this, was that while Cole‘s life was in danger, we never knew what would happen or be unleashed if Bee succeeded, and developing this piece of the story could have gone a long way in raising the stakes of this movie.
Pro: The Babysitter (+4pts)
While I really liked Cole and the actor playing him, the second key role in this story was Bee. For this movie to work, Bee had to be believably compassionate in the beginning of the story, and believably evil after Cole made his discovery. Samara Weaving nailed both sides of this coin and her transition felt natural. As a viewer, I really got the impression that most of her innocence was a front, but that part of her truly did care for Cole. This was a necessary and compelling element of the story, as it made Bee more than a one-dimensional antagonist, and it required Samara Weaving to bring the character's inner conflict to the screen effectively. Her character was layered, and Samantha Weaving brought those layers to the screen in a way that made her relationship with Cole impactful, and made for a satisfying climax.
Con: Egging (-2pts)
For the most part, I really enjoyed this film's pacing. It focused on the main characters in the beginning, and then when Cole makes his discovery, things started to escalate pretty quickly. The movie stayed at this escalated state for the rest of the movie, except for the egging scene. During all the madness, there was a point where Cole was trying to get away from one of the babysitter's friends, Max (Robbie Amell). Max was trying to kill Cole, but when they both discover that one of Cole's bullies was egging Cole's house, Max stopped trying to kill Cole and tried to convince him to go confront his bully.
Keep in mind, it was heavily implied that Max would resume trying to kill Cole as soon as he did this. I just found it pretty jarring for a deadly chase to be paused temporarily so that Max could give Cole a pep talk. If the egging scene was a necessary scene, I would be a bit more forgiving, but it was so insignificant and unnecessary that I honestly have no idea what the filmmakers were thinking when putting it in the movie. It was random, unnecessary, and made no sense from the perspectives of the characters involved.
Pro: Violence & Tone (+6pts)
This was a pleasantly ridiculous movie and the violence was shockingly entertaining to watch. The movie never really felt like a horror, but it rather felt like an entertaining horror-themed comedy, and this tone worked really well for me. There were blades, guns, car crashes, explosions, and just a ton of death. Once this movie got going (after Cole's shocking discovery) things got pretty crazy and it made for a pretty entertaining movie. The Babysitter was violent, and had horrific themes, but it never took itself too seriously. This movie suffered from some major plot and development issues, but I thought the violent action and comedic tone were entertaining and made up for a lot of those issues.
Con: Side Characters (-5pts)
While I thought the main characters were pretty well developed, all of the side characters felt extremely generic and one-dimensional. The side characters were: Allison (Bella Thorne), Max (Robbie Amell), Sonya (Hana Mae Lee), and John (Andrew Bachelor). All of these characters fit into a specific stereotype that has been done before. Allison was the self-centered cheerleader, Max was the bully-jock, Sonya was the dark and twisted psycho, and John was the character that freaks out (frantically) when anything unexpected happens. All of these characters fit into a generic character stereotype and none of them were able to ascend that stereotype. I think their performances were fine and they fit the roles well enough, but they did not bring anything special to the characters, and they ended up being extremely typical versions of characters you will feel like you have seen a million times before.
Grade: B- (80pts)
The Babysitter was a fun, horror-themed, action-comedy. The main character (Cole) was pretty interesting. He started as a scared and wimpy little kid, but through the course of the film, Cole went through quite the transformation. While the transformation was predictable, Judah Lewis (the actor playing Cole) was able to make if feel natural. Then there was the babysitter, Bee, who also had an interesting story. She definitely seemed sincere in caring for Cole, but when Cole made his discovery, the character drastically became the story's antagonist, and Samara Weaving was able to do this in a very convincing way. I always felt like she still cared about Cole deep down and I think that was evident of the strong, complex performance from Samara Weaving.
The plot for this film was extremely predictable and underdeveloped. There were probably three or four major, exciting plot points, while everything in between just felt like filler. Luckily, that filler came in the form of non-stop action and comedy, so it was still pretty entertaining. My last issue with this movie was how one-dimensional all of the side characters were. They were annoyingly generic and I think the movie suffered a bit for it. It was a decent and entertaining action-comedy that was set in a horror-themed plot. It was a fun, and never not took itself very seriously, and I ended up enjoying it for what it was.
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