The Babysitter 1
For me, there’s not going to be any beating around the bush when speaking of McG’s The Babysitter; I love it. I absolutely, positively love the sh*t out of The Babysitter. Personally, I see the first film as an instant cult classic horror comedy that’s a perfect watch during Halloween time if anyone needs a good laugh to go along with some creatively sick gore. On occasion the humor, specifically from the more obnoxious douchey side-characters, can get a little grating.
Overall though, this is a hilarious thrill ride that turns the “home invasion” subgenre on its head with a terrifically dark sense of humor and an ungodly amount of genuine heart between the leads, played by Judah Lewis and Samara Weaving. Any and every time Lewis and Weaving share the screen together, I am instantly charmed by their quirkily cute friendship between a shy boy and his totally cool as hell babysitter. Which, by the way, Samara Weaving is just perfect in every way… In the role of the babysitter, I mean… of course. I mean… Ugh. She’s so damn pretty.
In all seriousness, The Babysitter is a blast from start to finish with the majority of jokes landing, surprisingly stylish filmmaking, catchy soundtrack, and all of the characters being completely distinct from one another with their own crazy personalities. This was a gem that came out of nowhere, much like the sequel for me also felt as though it abruptly appeared recently without any real warning prior. Easily, I say The Babysitter is McG’s best film which doesn’t waste a single second of its 85 minute runtime. There’s not enough nice things I could possibly say about this flick… Again though, Samara Weaving is freaking awesome!
The Babysitter 2
Falling into the same trap that most comedy sequels fall into; The Babysitter: Killer Queen is a soulless, cartoonish carbon copy of the original without any of the heart or clever sense of comedy which made its predecessor so great. When the movie isn’t shallowly attempting to recreate the first film via Home Alone 2: Lost in New York style only in the desert, it’s distracted with shoving in horribly forced bits of douchey pothead humor through the parent characters. The heart from the original is stripped completely, the comedy throws out all the rules and does whatever the hell it wants, the narrative is a total retread, and Samara Weaving is still freaking awesome! Wait, that last one wasn’t an actual criticism… Whatever, she deserves better.
Two years after Cole (Judah Lewis) survived a satanic blood cult, he’s living another nightmare: high school. Since Bee (Samara Weaving) covered up all of the evidence from the events of the first movie, it seems that no one believes Cole’s accusations of the crazed teenagers trying to murder him. Everyone, including Cole’s parents, worry that these delusions have gone too far as now he faces the possibility of being sent away to a mental facility. In an attempt to help Cole relax, his best friend/love interest Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind) takes the stressed boy away for the weekend to privately party amongst friends in a secluded getaway.
Unfortunately not all goes well as it turns out a new satanic cult of high schoolers have brought the original cult back to life to kill Cole once and for all after performing a ceremony to be granted their wishes by the Devil himself. Cole has to find it within himself once again to persevere through one more crazy night of murderous chaos and survive until sunrise.
The First Act
Admittedly, for roughly the first 25 minutes or so, I was trying to enjoy myself during the movie as I was extremely excited once learning of this sequel to a movie I’ve held so dearly for the last three years. Some of the callbacks to the original film did get a chuckle out of me, such as the basketballs hitting Cole in the head and the slow-motion shots with Cole and Melanie hanging at school were some good moments. Plus seeing the continuation of the Cole character still recovering from that traumatic night had me invested, as well as seeing his cute relationship blooming from the first movie with his best friend Melanie had me relatively charmed. At no point was I ever loving the picture nearly as much as the first one, mainly because it wasn’t ever too funny as a lot of the jokes weren’t quite landing and the heart wasn’t quite there yet, but I was still hopeful in seeing where things might go.
Shooting Itself Right in the Face *SPOILER WARNING*
As we are entering the second act, I begin to wonder exactly how the crazy hellish shenanigans will kickstart in this go around… Then I see the teens start playing basically a game of spin the bottle, reminiscent to how the first movie introduced the insane antics of the night. At first, I shrugged it off as nothing to worry about, until it did exactly what I was worried about; copying the “shocking” bloody revelation from the original movie while also forcing Melanie as the antagonist as an obvious stand-in for the missing Bee. This instantly pissed me right the f*ck off!
Looking passed the glaring issue of the filmmakers cynically redoing an iconic moment from the first flick in lazy fashion, what also irked me about this moment is the total destruction of a likably sweet romance that was setup beautifully in the first installment between Cole and Melanie. They were absolutely adorable in the first movie and I was looking forward to seeing them grow together as characters. Then I realized that actress Emily Alyn Lind’s wardrobe resembled Bee an awful lot and in the back of my mind I was becoming concerned that she might be written as a villainous placeholder for Samara Weaving… I tried so hard to remain optimistic, but it was too late as her character made an evil turn so quick and there was no going back.
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And it would be one thing if the script retained the personality of the Melanie character or maybe continued on with that personal connection between her and Cole even though she’s chosen a more evil route in her life, instead it transforms her into just a schlock baddie who might as well be anybody because once she turns evil that’s it. There’s no personality to her anymore, no more romantic tension that had been built up between two movies already, she’s simply an excuse for this sequel’s plot to exist. It’s as though the closest thing this movie had to regaining a sense of the heart missing from the first movie was obliterated along with a woman’s throat that she slices open. In short, hugely disappointing.
A shining element from the 2017 flick was the gang of misfit psychopathic high schoolers with every single member bringing their own flavor of hilarity to the table. Setting aside Samara Weaving obviously being my favorite of the murderous cult because… I mean, come on. She’s amazing. I would have to say that my favorite character has to be Max (played perfectly by Robbie Amell), the shirtless jock who simply wants to murder Cole while simultaneously give him life advice by helping him stand up against bullies. Max was an absolute treasure watching him psychotically rampage on screen while strangely trying to mentor his pre-teen victim. Before getting into the subject of the teenage cult returning from the dead, I just need to say that Max is still genuinely really funny to watch again here.
Now to touch on the rest of the psycho teen team, including the originals and the newer players; Andrew Bachelor as John, Bella Thorne as Allison, Hana Mae Lee as Sonya, Maximilian Acevedo as Jimmy, and Juilocesar Chavez as Diego. Not to say that any of them are bad, because they aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. The entire crew still manages to earn a chuckle or two from time to time, mainly the cast from the original film honestly while the newcomers are mostly okay as they aren’t given a whole lot of screen time to become anything too special. Admittedly, it was nice seeing the original teen cult back at it again trying to kill Cole, it did however feel exceptionally forced and lazy how or even why they’re back. They were brought back to life presumably by the Melanie character, although we don’t actually get to see exactly how, it’s just all of the sudden the old gang literally walks into the scene and announce they’re back and that’s the end of it. I suppose it’s nitpicking, but it’s another element that simply feels like they’re only back because the filmmakers desperately want to recapture the lightning in a bottle without putting in the work for it.
Looking back at Cole’s parents in the first movie, they had very minimal screen time, but they were still charming in their own way and showed genuine care for their son. They were definitely funny, however, the movie knew exactly how to utilize them; including Melanie’s douchebag dad… The sequel does not understand what worked about these three characters in the first movie and are now being mostly used as comedic padding to push the runtime an extra fifteen to twenty minutes and almost none of their material works.
As though the director simply let actors Ken Marino, Leslie Bibb, and Chris Wylde adlib about smoking pot for entire scenes together in between the sequences revolving around the teenage cult murder spree. Early on in the first act, the Marino and Bibb were fine while still retaining enough heart to carry me through. Then once Wylde comes into play, that’s when the movie begins to get annoying rather than funny. Yes, I understand that the Juan character is supposed to be an unlikable douchebag, but we have to spend so much time with him that the movie feels like a slog every minute he’s on screen. Juan is so obnoxious that I couldn’t even enjoy his death scene because he’s still such an idiotic jack ass while dying!
The New Love Interest
So, not only does the movie turn Cole’s original love interest into the villain, but he also gets a new love interest that we are only introduced to in this very flick. To me, this makes no sense because we already started with an emotional connection between the Cole and Melanie character while the script was initially still building on that relationship… then it completely kills it in the blink of an eye while also forcing a brand new romantic subplot with a character that we have no investment in because we know nothing about her other than she’s a stereotypical angst ridden loner. I don’t get it, I truly don’t .
It seems like because the writers were so desperate for a Samara Weaving stand-in, they destroyed a good thing with the Melanie character to get it. Then realized that they still wanted Cole to get with somebody by the end of it, so they randomly wrote in a new girl for him to apparently fall madly in love with. Don’t get me wrong, actress Jenna Ortega as Phoebe the new girl, isn’t bad and she does her best to bring as much personality to the character as possible. Again though, it’s difficult to simply move on so quickly when we’ve already grown so attached to Cole’s previous relationship that was already cute as hell and then killed without mercy. It rubs me the wrong way and makes me irritated to see the filmmakers care so little about the characters they’ve created.
Bee’s Plan? *SPOILER WARNING*
Samara Weaving returns as Bee at the end of the picture as basically a cameo; revealing that she was behind this chaotic night all along that put Cole through hell. Except that’s not the only revelation that the Bee character has up her sleeve as it turns out that Bee organized this whole ordeal in order to kill off this satanic cult of high schoolers once and for all… but the only way to do that was by initiating new people into the cult herself and then convincing them to kidnap and try to kill Cole while also needing Cole to so happen to fall in love with Phoebe who was also babysat by Bee in the past, which not only did the two lovers need to fall for one another as they actually needed to have sex in the middle of running from crazed murderers in order to taint Cole’s blood because he would no longer be considered an “innocent” anymore as his virginity would be taken away, causing the cult as they drank the blood to finally die… even though they could have easily killed Cole several times over throughout the picture and he was only lucky to have survived at all… Great plan?
What the hell convoluted plan was this?! If it were played for laughs then that would be one thing, but it’s played completely straight so I’m just not buying a second of that bull sh*t. Although I will definitely say that I was glad to see Weaving back in the role for the brief time she was given, which did surprisingly supply the movie with a smidge of heart as Bee’s origins of her satanic initiation were explored involving the Phoebe character. Truthfully, as it flashed back to Bee’s origins, I wished to myself that this sequel was actually a prequel instead; I’m not sure how much material there really is to explore there, but at least the story would feel more original than what this turned out to be. Plus, we’d get more of the perfection that is Samara Weaving… I’m not in love with her, you’re in love with her! Shut up!!
Every time I watch the 2017 movie, I’m blown away by how exceptionally well the screenplay makes use of every minute of the relatively short runtime that it has to work with; there is not a single scene wasted as the script ensures to capitalize on every moment to lead towards something fulfilling later on. Whether it be thematically, comedically, or narratively speaking; the script is remarkably smart about what scenes are important while keeping a steady flow of entertainment value throughout.
That is not remotely the case with the sequel as so many scenes could either be cut or are so miserably telegraphed that I’m feeling miles ahead of the joke before they’re actually spoken. This movie passes the 100 minute mark for no good reason and should have been edited down to about 80 minutes by eliminating the majority of the scenes involving anything to do with the parents on their own. Even though that wouldn’t have saved this movie, not by a long shot, at least I could have said it was a quick sit. Instead it feels too drawn out without good cause.
This is one of those sequels that throws all the rules right out of the window and goes into the realms of complete absurdity. Can that work? Yes. Does that mean it automatically works here? No, it doesn’t. The original movie did have some fourth wall breaking humor within the editing and it worked wonderfully. Here, scenes literally turn into a ‘90s styled arcade side scroller combat game with digital fireballs and the whole shebang. To me, that would never have happened in the first movie and clearly shows that these writers have forgotten the spirit of the original. Even though the first flick contained plenty of silly physical comedy, surreal and goofy editing choices, there were still rules to the world these characters inhabited. Everyone was still grounded in some sense of reality and never would have all the sudden been able to fight with kung fu and shoot fire balls… that’s f*cking stupid.
An identifying feature of both movies are the spurts of darkly violent humor as the gore goes over-the-top in some of the most delightful ways. Occasionally the sequel is still successful in that department, for instance, when a certain bimbo cheerleader gets decapitated or when Max gets kicked in the dick while congratulating Cole on finally hitting the right spot. Moments of physical and gory humor like those still work. Then out of nowhere we’ll get a scene where one of the villains armed with a pistol somehow explodes the entire body of a deer in a terrible CGI effect and it just falls flat. Or after a good decapitation sequence, the headless body will randomly get squashed by a giant boulder. Also there’s about two minutes worth of the movie that turn into a ‘70s disco throwback music video for no reason! Sadly, it’s just not funny when the cartoonish tone is trying way too hard.
Out of all the bad attempts at comedy, the one type that I may have found to be the most overbearing was the endless supply of references in the dialog. Whether it be referencing classic movies or modern pop culture, there’s seemingly no end to it. Yes, in the first movie there were plenty of references made by the characters and for the most part were funny. The difference between the two movies is that the first flick’s dialog felt more organic to the characters as they referenced movies or what have you, here though, it’s just referencing things for the sake of doing so and it refuses to stop. Hell, the subtitle of the movie, “Killer Queen” is a freaking reference! Please just f*cking stop for five seconds and give us some actual character growth instead of a million references!!
Plus, this is yet another movie that makes the claim of Terminator 2 being better than the first Terminator… I’ve grown irritated by that mentality because I’ve always fell in favor of the first over the second. Not that I hate Terminator 2, I love it, but I’m sick of hearing that specific argument. Am I being petty for docking points on The Babysitter 2 stumbling over a minor pet peeve of mine? Yeah. Do I care? No, the movie sucks anyways!
Largely the visual style in cinematography, editing, and solid practical gores effects are maintained in the sequel thankfully. Although this time around there seems to be a tad more CGI used, for gore amongst other reasons, and it looks pretty bad most of the time. It’s never any of the worst special effects I’ve ever seen, but it does distract when they so glaringly stick out. Like I said though, most of the look is fine.
A huge part of the original movie’s identity came from the fun and popping soundtrack playing, whether it be “Boys Wanna Be Her” playing during the montage of Bee and Cole goofing around, “I Want Candy” while Samara Weaving made out with Bella Thorne… God, yes… or “We Are the Champions” playing over the climax of the picture as Cole drives a car into a house. These scenes are crazy memorable and that is partially thanks to the soundtrack being so good and contributing to the scenes in the best way.
Then the sequel just kind of puts in anything just to have a noticeable soundtrack without putting in the thought first as to how or why songs could fit certain scenes. At no point is the sequel’s soundtrack bad, it’s actually pretty solid featuring “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles, and of course “Killer Queen” by Queen. Yet it never feels as though these songs are adding to the scenes, but rather detracting from them as I can’t get into much of the fun or even small moments that are supposed to focus on key character arcs because the soundtrack will invade practically every single scene no matter how much it doesn’t fit.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen falls into the same camp as most other comedy sequels, being a sack of crap compared to the original. Is there the occasional chuckle to be had? Yes, but they are far and few between while never remotely being all that funny to begin with. Is it nice seeing the whole cast back, especially actors Judah Lewis and Samara Weaving reprising their unbelievably likable roles? Totally, but the movie doesn’t give them a story worth telling… At least not twice. This is a sequel that says, “Let’s do what we did the first time, only not nearly as inspired!” The movie shoots itself right in the face by not truly moving forward with its characters, it just brings them back to redo the same schtick all over again. Then the few times it does try to do something sort of different, it comes across as a cynical betrayal of everything that came before it. The humor doesn’t work, the story is the exact same as the first only executed far more complicated than necessary, and I’m in love with Samara Weaving! F*ck… I did it again.
Look, just skip this one and stick with the 2017 flick. Or if someone is desperate for another great horror comedy starring Samara Weaving that involves a devil worshipping cult then watch Ready or Not. Honestly, Ready or Not is a far better follow-up to The Babysitter than Babysitter 2; screw Babysitter 2! Ready or Not has far better humor, character development, gore/special effects, and a much better ending payoff than anything that can be seen in Killer Queen. Maybe the problem lies in the fact that original writer, Brian Duffield, didn’t come back to pen this second venture and was subsequently replaced by four other writers; two of which never wrote for a feature film before, one who mostly wrote for television shows, and the last being McG himself. This film was doomed from the start.
The Better Babysitter
That’s All Folks…
The Babysiitter: Killer Queen… Why the f*ck is it called Killer Queen? I get that it’s a reference to the Queen song, but narratively speaking it makes no sense. What do you think though? Like or dislike? Agree or disagree? Comment down below and let me know! Also, if you so happened to have enjoyed my review then please do me a favor and share this article around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a devilishly good day!
© 2020 John Plocar
John Plocar (author) from Weatherford on September 17, 2020:
I'm happy to hear that you're going to give the first Babysitter movie a try! Despite it possibly being against your taste in movies, I do hope that you enjoy.
For me, I'll give any sequel a chance. Unfortunately it seems that with sequels, especially comedy sequels, they tend not to work and become a cartoonish retread of what came before without bringing along any of the heart.
Anyways, as always, I'm glad to hear from you and that you enjoyed my review! =)
Jacqueline G Rozell on September 17, 2020:
Having seen neither of the original nor the sequel, but quite intrigued with your review of the first movie, I am looking forward to giving it a try. I'm not normally a fan of "dead teenager" fare but you have convinced me to try the original. If I really enjoy a movie I'm not inclined to give sequels a try. I get really invested in the love story angles, being a romantic. It's one of the things that held Back to the Future together for me through three takes.