• Zach Youngs

Movie Review: The Babysitter: Killer Queen

The Babysitter: Killer Queen is a sequel. It's two years after Cole was hunted for his innocent blood by his babysitter and first love Bee. No one believed his story and because he's told everyone about it, he's become an outcast. Melanie, Cole's best friend, sticks by him because she was there that night, but when Melanie invites Cole and her other friends out to a secluded lake, Cole suddenly realizes this isn't going to be the respite he envisioned. The film stars Judah Lewis, Samara Weaving, Jenna Ortega, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Hana Mae Lee, Maximillian Acevedo, Juliocesar Chavez, Jennifer Foster, Leslie Bibb, Chris Wylde, and Ken Marino. It is directed by McG and written by Brad Morris, Jimmy Warden, Dan Lagana, and McG. The film is streaming exclusively on Netflix.

There are terrible jokes, sometimes cringeworthy, and excessive, grotesque gore. Yet, as with the first film, I thoroughly and utterly enjoy it. I like that these films are a subversion of the slasher genre and a B-movie blast of silly and gross. Though, I did hope that the sequel could elevate itself a little more. It's a little ironic that the film references a great cinematic sequel so often, but fails to move in a new and interesting direction, just making the original premise more elaborate.

Whenever a premise is expanded beyond the limits set in the first iteration, it can get a bit bloated. Killer Queen has a much larger cast of characters and its setting is far more expansive. The tension of the first film is that Cole is trapped within the confines of his house and neighborhood. The detriment of this film is that Cole and Phoebe can run and run and run and the disbelief is hard to suspend when a killer can and does pop up out of nowhere. An expanded roster of killers also means so much more expendability and therefore uselessness to the overall plot.

A further detriment to sequels is a need to expand the world of the first film, creating a depth of mythology that was missing from the first adventure. That includes expanded roles for the parents and backstory for the original four killers, which is entirely unnecessary and distracting. The extended scenes with Cole's and Melanie's parents, which are funny, are just a bit more than necessary. I understand why they're around this time, but it's a bit more than fluff until they become plot relevant.

Despite its short comings, though, I'm still invested in Cole. I'm still invested in Bee as well (my goodness her sideways smirk can melt me into a puddle it's so inviting), she's a great evil character. Both plot threads even weave into each other to come to a satisfying conclusion. It's strange to say that a movie with multiple decapitations and more than a few buckets of blood can create a coherent and meaningful plot, but Killer Queen has that going for it.

The other thing Killer Queen has is great chemistry between Phoebe and Cole. Judah Lewis has grown into this role with the same awkward charm and gumption he brought to the first film. With age, Lewis' choices as an actor have improved and the performance feels as if he's lived the last two years of Cole's life. He's matched pound for pound by Jenna Ortega's Phoebe who is dealing with her own dark past. Ortega plays the guarded Phoebe and the open Phoebe with equal verve. These two are an excellent pair.

The Babysitter: Killer Queen isn't high minded, brilliant filmmaking, but it's a ton of fun. I laughed out loud several times and I was sincerely affected by the end of the film. If you're looking for a bonkers, bloody ride to take your mind off our never-ending anxiety about the state of the world, than this is for you. I highly recommend you spend an hour and forty minutes leaning into this weird and silly world. Though, do watch the first film because if you start with this one you will miss many references and callbacks.

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