Review – The Babysitter (2017)

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 13, 2017 (Last updated: November 8, 2023)

At a glance, you would believe that The Babysitter is going to be the usual recycled garbage that Netflix churns out on a fortnightly basis just to keep the thumbnails fresh. At a second glance, you would see the general premise below the bloodied up title, declaring a running time of one hour and twenty-five minutes, and naturally, you would think, well, this is going to be precious time I will never get back. I did not read the description and whilst I sat there sipping my first morning coffee and soggy Weetabix, it turns out that I fairly liked Netflix Original The Babysitter. 

The movie opens up with 12-year-old high-school boy Cole (Judah Lewis); regularly bullied, overly doting and smiley parents, lacks social skills and is the only kid within his limited social circles to still have a babysitter. Luckily for him, his babysitter is smoking hot, in the form of character Bee (Samara Weaving), so naturally, as a young boy that is about to hit those doomed teenage years, he does not care. He is also charmed by her because, in terms of the narrative, Bee is a super geek that understands intergalactic battles, sets up outside cinemas and speaks in movie quotes. These babysitters do not exist, or if they do I was extremely unlucky when I was younger. I was glad that I was right when Cole’s best friend asks him to investigate what goes on after he falls asleep. What he did not know is that Bee is part of a violent satanic cult, that sticks knives in people’s heads. You know, the norm.

The Babysitter starts off as the typical American high school drama that could force you to hit that snooze button any minute. What it becomes is a thrilling, amusing and sportive game of cat and mouse as Cole has to avoid getting murdered by Bee and her cult friends. The film does not over dramatise its gags. Nor does it excruciatingly drag them out. In the end, The Babysitter becomes a modern-day Home Alone slasher wrapped up and ready to be played on Netflix, and I was completely sold on it.

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The movie is in no way perfect, and the first hit of caffeine probably supported my viewing, however, the performances guide The Babysitter to the end credits. High praise has to be assigned to Judah Lewis who puts in a great account of a young boy that needs to grow and become more confident as the film progresses. In a way, he puts in a performance that sits well above this movie. The Babysitter may have suffered slightly if he did not put in a representation worth watching.

The whole narrative focuses on a boy that feels slightly suffocated by the adults that swarm around him and ends up in a brutal storm. The violence is the typical gore that you would expect from a slasher movie and you could argue it overplays the blood and flesh slightly. The other characters are typically generic but they are not overused in a way that makes it tiring. The satanic elements are rarely played on and it is possible that the plot device was squeezed in just as a way of setting up the entire scenario. It is important, but they could have used several different reasons for Bee to be insane, and the concept could still have been driven. The one major negative that needs to be said is that The Babysitter needs to make you laugh more, but because it is entertaining, it masks the glaring hole that this is also meant to be a comedy.

In the end, The Babysitter was a surprise viewing that uses the eighty-five minutes to its advantage. If Netflix produced these recycled concepts with this type of deliverance more often then I would not be so opposed to how many they release.

It’s almost like they are learning.

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