Netflix has given you two options this past Friday the 13th, and your best bet is to watch David Fincher’s incredible “Mindhunter” series over McG‘s absurd slasher The Babysitter.
Originally a New Line Cinema production, The Babysitter follows Cole (Judah Lewis), who is madly in love with his babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving). She’s cool and awesome in all the ways Cole is not. One evening while Bee is babysitting, Cole witnesses the unthinkable. Now he must survive a night full of first kisses, first broken hearts, and first encounters with homicidal maniacs (played by Bella Thorne, Andrew Bachelor, Robbie Amell, and Hana Mae Lee). –Netflix
This on-the-nose coming-of-age slasher is a buffet of gore that’s plagued by an inconsistent tone. Always trying too hard to be hip and cool (boasting a ridiculous soundtrack that would make a ’90s horror film jealous), McG turns Brian Duffield‘s Blacklist screenplay into a bad dad joke (with handjobs and all) that’s in the middle of a midlife crisis. It’s a bummer, too, because the chemistry between Lewis and Weaving in the first half of the film is dynamite.
Speaking of, Weaving’s performance dominates the first half of the film (she also steals the show in Joe Lynch’s Mayhem). She’s transcendent and could carry any film on her shoulders…only McG instead opts to turn the camera towards her unbearable knucklehead “Scooby-Doo” friends who bloat the second half of the film with a tiresome game of cat-and-mouse that’s dreadfully boring.
Even worse, The Babysitter looks like shit. McG comes from a music video background and that’s exactly what is on the screen – everything looks stage-y, with the empty streets lit up like a studio backlot where they would film “Desperate Housewives”.
The Babysitter also fails to deliver on its promise: the babysitter is somehow in possession of the book of the devil and it’s never used. In fact, you could completely remove the cult/satanic subplot from the film and nothing would change. Taking that one step further, removing everyone but the babysitter and child would have made for a way more entertaining movie.
As confused and sloppy as The Babysitter is, at least it’s astonishingly bloody. If anything, it’s a good primer for the far superior Better Watch Out, out now through Well Go USA.