[Review] THE BABYSITTER Sets a Low Standard for Women In Horror

Was this script written in 1997? Because The Babysitter felt desperate for an update.

I’m going to be brief here, mainly because I don’t even want to talk about this movie any more than I have to. I wanted to love The Babysitter. I fell in love with the fast thrills and the trashy, campy fun of a modern-day meta-horror promised in the trailer. While watching that trailer for the first time, I thought, “how are they going to turn this on its head?” Well, I’ve since learned; they don’t.  The Babysitter is the same, tired tropes wrapped up in an overwhelmingly sexist package.

   

Netflix original The Babysitter marks McG’s return to the Director’s chair after an extended 3 year hiatus. McG is known for the female-lead blockbuster Charlie’s Angels, and the film’s follow-up, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Though the Charlie’s Angels franchise doesn’t stray away from the sexuality and allure of its characters – the three leads, played by Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, at least own it – it’s theirs to harness and exploit.

In stark contrast, The Babysitter feels like the extended cut to the “Stacy’s Mom” music video. Throughout the film, we see the charismatic and beautiful Bee (Samara Weaving) disrobe down to a swimsuit in painfully slow motion, watch her cat-crawl across the floor while the camera climbs up her short shorts, and cringe through a spit-filled 30-second girl-on-girl make out scene with actress Bella Thorne in a cheerleader uniform while the song “I want Candy” overpowers the soundtrack. This is far from meta.

I’m not sure where McG has been for the last 3 years, but I can bet it hasn’t been Twitter. It’s no secret (anymore) that women in Hollywood are no longer okay with silence.  Women everywhere. We want more for actresses, and for the characters they portray.

Now, if the current social/political spectrum could be simplified into Taco Bell sauce packets, you can guarantee I’m MILD. Unless I’m really riled by something, you’ll probably only see a single Tweet from me regarding my stance on controversy. But as a woman of the Horror community, and one that pays money to see horror films, I would assume I’m in their target demographic. And as a member of that demographic, hear me roar: I expect more for women. I’m speaking in Horror terms, but society as a whole needs a talking to. Think I’m exaggerating? The top news article right now when you search ‘The Babysitter‘ is from the Daily Mail, titled “BELLA THORNE FLASHES UNDERBOOB AT THE BABYSITTER PREMIERE”. Not an interview with the actress, not the highlights of the premiere.. just the fact that her boob made a modest appearance. How glad they could attend. 

the babysitter daily mail
My receipts

And as a Horror fan, it should be said I’m not just being prudish. Horror has always been the genre to embrace nudity and sexuality on screen. But it’s the excessiveness and vapid nature of the sexuality in The Babysitter that upsets me. It doesn’t feel real, necessary, or warranted. It’s the kind of sexuality you see on the calendar hanging in the office of an auto garage. Girls hold spark plugs and their shiny, oiled butts lean against shiny, waxed automobiles. What are we trying to tell, here? It adds no value, and is frankly, uncomfortable.

Here’s the synopsis if for some reason you’re still thinking this rant is somewhat of a legitimate review:

Cole (Judah Lewis) is madly in love with his babysitter (Samara Weaving) Bee. She’s hot, funny, and popular. One night, in a moment of defiance, Cole secretly stays up his bedtime to discover she’s actually a cold-blooded killer who’s in league with the Devil. He now must spend his night evading Bee’s band of killers who will stop at nothing to prevent Cole from spilling their dark secret. It’s up to Cole to survive the night (and blow up a few people along the way).

It’s a shame The Babysitter didn’t get a re-write. This movie had Cabin in The Woods potential. But, instead we watched a 40 year old’s wet dream disguised as a 12 year old’s wet dream, disguised as a Horror film.

1/4 eberts

 

The Babysitter is written by Brian Duffield (Insurgent, Jane Got a Gun) and directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation). Bella Thorne, Samara Weaving, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Andrew Bachelor, and Judah Lewis star.

The Babysitter is currently on Netflix. But, I say skip it – this one leaves a bad taste in the mouth. As an alternate; holiday horror Better Watch Out was released this month on VOD. It will quench your coming-of-age, home-alone horror thirst. If you want to head to the theatre, Happy Death Day just opened everywhere and features a hilarious and savvy young woman try to solve her own murder over and over.

 

KimmiKillZombie

Kimberley is Co-Host and Co-Creator of Nightmare on Film Street. She's a hair dye addicted, vegetable eating, pin collecting, board game nerd. Her favorite horror films are Creepshow 2, Poltergeist, & From Dusk 'Till Dawn.