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McG’s comedy horror The Babysitter was a Netflix original that many horror fans had zero expectations for. It seemingly came out of nowhere and strangely, it worked for the most part – delivering an enjoyable experience provided you did not think about it too hard.
The Babysitter was, at its core, a self-contained comedy horror that simply wanted to entertain and provide a couple of laughs. No one I imagine expected it to be a considerable streaming success but it was. And so it wasn’t long until a sequel was in the works. Now, three years on from the original, McG is back at it again with The Babysitter: Killer Queen.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen kicks off with a small amount of exposition detailing the first movie’s events. From there, we follow an older Cole (Judah Lewis, I See You) as he struggles to fit back into the structures of teen life with everyone around him questioning his sanity. He is also battling the traumas of that faithful night of the first movie when his babysitter crush (Samara Weaving) and her friends tried to sacrifice him as part of a demonic ritual. It isn’t long though until new student Phoebe (Jenna Ortega, You) transfers to Cole’s school and his past demons begin to manifest once again … literally.
Not much has changed since Cole’s encounter with the bloodthirsty cult from The Babysitter. Cole highlights that even with a couple of years of maturity, characters can still be surprisingly stupid. Where Samara Weaving’s Bee was the clear focus of The Babysitter where she delivered a charming and incredibly likable performance that almost had viewers rooting for her baddie, here Judah Lewis’ Cole and Jenna Ortega’s Phoebe become the main focus. Their unimpressive, unbelievable performances do nothing to conjure the same magic of Weaving’s previous central turn.
In fact, the entire cast here (except for a short and unnecessary return from Weaving) are abysmal. Cole’s parents, played by Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino, thankfully missing for most of The Babysitter’s runtime are used far more frequently here. Marino’s Archie is just an American Pie Eugene Levy rip-off, while Bibb’s scolding matriarchal figure routine grows tired very quickly.
Meanwhile, the returning cultists from the first movie are subjected to some of the worst writing mainstream horror has been subjected to in quite a while. Each of the baddies is given miniscule backstories through VHS-esque filters – deployed, one imagines, to try lessen the blow of just how terrible these characters are and to provide viewers with backstory they never asked for. Most of the cultist cast are weak too, but Bella Thorne’s Allison is remarkably cringey. Yet, to be fair, most of the comedy the script has her perform involves a series of animal murders – something impressively tasteless and undeniably unfunny.
However, The Babysitter: Killer Queen’s biggest sin is that for a comedy-horror, the horror here is next to non-existent – consisting solely of cheap jump scares – and the comedy is presumably the result of a group of out of touch writers getting extremely high and thinking their screenplay is the next Evil Dead installment. Loud noises and your standard run of the mill gore become increasingly mind numbing as things progress. Meanwhile, the loud gross-out comedy has more in common with that of the much-detested recent Adam Sandler vehicles than the clearly intended Happy Death Day. However, despite all that, McG saves the worst for last.
In the finale, a fight scene involving two female characters takes the absolute piss. As the word ‘FIGHT’ commands the centre of the screen, a 2D beat em-up brawl (even equipped with health bars in each corner) filmed with the subtlety of a Razzie winner ensues. It’s at this point I truly wanted to check out, turn on the hot water and take a much-needed shower to cleanse myself of this wince-inducing, completely uncool movie. After this, Samara Weaving makes her much needed return but it’s too little too late and one can’t help but feel sorry for Weaving’s role in a bottom of the barrel horror-comedy like this.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen is truly a rare breed. A horror comedy so devoid of horror and comedy that even Ed Wood would be turning in his grave at the thought of it. Even the soundtrack featuring Queen, The Dead Kennedys and Jefferson Airplane do nothing to inject any life or adrenaline into it. No matter how much you enjoyed the first movie or how excited you are for this new installment, stay well and truly clear of this one, folks. You’ve been warned.