The man known only as “McG” made a name for himself in the ’90s as one of the prominent names headlining the crop of “music video directors turned feature film helmers”. Then he made Terminator: Salvation and nobody really wanted to touch him outside of directing some TV show episodes. Believe it or not (said in Jack Palance’s voice), The Babysitter is my first McG movie and I’m not going to lie, I came into it with a little bit of bias as his prior works all came off as the type of sullied celluloid that I wanted nothing to do with. Today, that stance has changed. For the better? Find out!
Meet Cole. He’s your typical movie nerd stereotype. His choice of hobbies and nerdy attire make him a target for the local bully. He has asthma and a crippling fear of spiders. Physical activity is not his friend and he’s too afraid of fucking things up to try new things. Despite being 12, his parents still insist on him having a babysitter (hence the title). However, since his sitter Bee (as in the insect, not the Golden Girl) is a barely legal blond bombshell who’s into geeky shit and is disturbingly physically comfortable with her “is he or isn’t he” pubescent ward, this is probably as far from a negative as Cole’s got in his life.
After a 15 minutes intro of scenes establishing potential dangers around their house for Home Alone style reasons later, Cole’s parents (including his dad, played by Ken Marino!) go away for a weekend, leaving Cole in that “enviable if this were a porno” position of being alone with Bee for two days and nights. Too bad for him this is a horror flick instead, cuz it turns out she and some of her buddies from school are planning to do some very bad things (involving neither Christian Slater nor chainsaws, spoiler) after he goes to bed…
And no, it’s not an orgy.
But it does involve lots of bodily fluid. Like, buckets of. It’s a slippery, sticky, bloody good time.
Without pouring out too much in the way of spoiled miak, Cole ends up fighting for his life, challenging his own perceptions of himself, and learning to stand up for himself in that way that cinematic protagonists tend to manage over a 90 minute runtime that the rest of us need months or years of therapy to even scratch the surface of.
The Babysitter is a comedy horror flick that goes beyond the pale of simple “black humor” and goes full “words written on the screen” aesthetic. If excessive levels of absurdity, especially those in which every character has snappy dialogue to the point that you presume they all went to the same improv workshop together. Bee’s peers’ ridiculous personalities are each hilarious in their own way, and it’s extremely rare when I can say that I enjoyed every member of a movie’s cast.
As for McG, again, I can’t say anything about his work outside of The Babysitter, but at least here the guy has a great sense of pacing. Once things go sideways, they don’t stop until the end credits crawl. My only gripe is the climax, which gets ramped up to such a degree that it goes too far and completely derails the last ten minutes for me. It doesn’t ruin the rest of the movie by any measure, but it’s ridiculous enough that one of the movie’s most emotional moments didn’t land with me, as I was too preoccupied by, well, you’ll have to see it for yourself.
If you’re looking for some over the top absurdist shit to lighten up your evening, I can’t guarantee that this feature is the cure for what ails you, but it definitely gets my figurative seal of approval. If not for that ending, I might have given it a perfect score. Keep your comments in your pocket.
Four Billy Jacks out-of-Five
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