‘Hardcore Home Alone’

It’s the Halloween season again. That means jack-o’-lanterns are carved, kids are in costumes, the dentist is not looking forward to work for the next week and some spooky scary cinema is in order.

Meeting up with a crowd of friends to binge appropriate films for October is one of Hallow’s Eve’s finest traditions. Be it a bone rattling horror, a campy over the top cheese fest or just some good ol’ fashioned spooky slasher fun -scary or not- that fits the night. If those last two sound up your alley, then Netflix has got you covered with its new original film ‘The Babysitter’. But is this an all style no substance trick, or a welcomed treat? 

Directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, Chuck) The Babysitter is a comedic slasher flick. One night 12-year-old Cole (Judah Lewis) is spying on his smoking crush babysitter (Samara Weaving) to discovers her and her friends are part of a satanic cult out for his blood. What follows is Home Alone putting on its big boy pants and going into over the top violent fun. It’s not excessive though, while there’s gore there’s only 1 or 2 standout moments of it and they’re not too graphic (assuming you’re ok with blood, gallons of it). 

Aside from its setting and atmosphere nothing else places this in the horror genre, it’s not scary but not trying to be. It’s a film that stands on its writing, charm and fun factor. Especially with a group of friends late at night. So many times, will you shout at the screen like “GO OUT THE FRONT DOOR” for example as Cole runs by it, wide open a few times but to the point where it’s clearly the joke and it works. It’s more endearing than annoying. But still can lead to some great laughs in a group.

The writing is where the film shines. Clever and fun dialogue with a witty coating on top mixed with absurd yet hilarious situational comedy. What other film will see a killer give genuine life advice and actually try help a kid with his problems, while trying to kill him? The athlete stereotype never wears a shirt because “we’ll look at him” is the only reason given. The film leads soundly from one fun scenario to the next with some great chatty and witty dialogue to tie it together. It’s sure to get you chuckling a few times. 

The film’s not perfect though. It does fall into a few clichés like the typical bully and forced romance. As well as the odd inconsistency and conveniences. But they don’t weigh it down too much. While the film goes over the top with its kills it kind of underplays outside them and it would’ve been nice to keep that going. That said though the over-the-top-ness does build well with each kill getting more outlandish as the film goes. 

Occasionally the style can get in the way. Sometimes when someone gets a weapon the film pauses the words “POCKET KNIFE” for example flash on screen and we continue on. They get kind of distracting and don’t serve a purpose other than to help the film stand out. They happen so infrequently that whenever they do, it comes off as jarring and forced. 

All in all, The Babysitter is a fun time. Clocking in at just under an hour and a half it’s the perfect length, anymore and it would’ve overstayed it’s welcome. As it stands it’s a perfectly fun slasher to throw on at Halloween. Different to the likes of Friday the 13th it still has its place among the Scary Movie and Cabin in the Woods audience. It’s not amazing but it’s worth the watch. 


Daniel Troy