Back in 2017 Netflix knocked out a feisty comedy horror that not only rose about the usual three-star-and-under type of throwaway film that they usually premiere (sorry Netflix, but it’s true), but also slapped some respectability back into the career of McG, the director of such subtlety-free zones as the Charlie’s Angel movie from the 00’s and the Arnie-less Terminator: Salvation. Featuring a bouncy, throwback, gory style (think 80’s video nasty meets the colour scheme of a Cardi B music video) and a hugely charismatic central performance by up-and-comer Samara Weaving (niece of Hugo, if you were wondering), The Babysitter turned out to be a suprisingly rollicking good time and the powers that be wisely gave the nod for the sequel that this splattery, silly comedy was definitely crying out for.
Two years after surviving a sacrifice happy blood cult made up of his awesome babysitter and her idiot acolytes, Cole is struggling through school life as the eternal odd man out. Wreathed in corduroy and enduring enough pills and therapy to make a Woody Allen character seem like the height of well adjusted, Cole is having trouble dealing with the fact that no one believes him as to what actually happened. Salvation comes in the form of Melanie, his long time crush who only sees him now as a friend, who suggests he ditch the meds and come away with her for a sweet weekend away and join a huge party occuring on a scenic lake, however once there he is horrified to learn that the members of blood cult have returned from the dead to try again to harvest Cole’s blood in order to get Satan to realise their own boneheaded desires. Teaming up with Phoebe, the mysterious, street wise new girl in school, the two launch a counterattack on these bumbling fans of beezlebub with splattery consequences but where is Bee, the titular babysitter who set all this in motion and how does she manage to connect everything together in ways no one can foresee?
While still being as deliriously energetic as it’s predecessor (it easily has the frantically racing heart rate of someone who’s washed down viagra with some Red Bull without spare a solitary thought of the consequences) there’s a sense that The Babysitter: Killer Queen is already out of ideas about 20 minutes in when every villainous character who messily expired in the original returns only to go though the exact same jokes the second they open their mouths. Bella Thorne’s vapid redhead gets shot in the tit, again; Robbie Amell’s psychotic jock wanders around shirt-free, AGAIN – you see where I’m going with this, right? In fact, where the mismatched gang of lunatic satanists (and their aggressively gruesome demises) turned out to be a major highlight of the first movie, without Weaving’s big bad to lead them they actually start to be, like, really bloody annoying. Thank fuck then for the good guys (something you rarely get to say in a horror movie) as the returning Judah Lewis as nervous survivor Cole struggles to handle day to day life as everyone – including his own bumbling but well meaning parents – simply believes his scrape with idiot satanists occured only in his head. Cole continues to be a legitimately likeable foil for the parade of broadly portrayed villains and his growing relationship with Jenna Ortega’s equally damaged Phoebe is genuinely sweet and is somewhat a refreshing calmer note in a movie where virtually every other character is furiously ad-libbing as if their life depended on it. Similarly original is the choice (SPOILERS) to make the previous film’s female lead the main villian as Doctor Sleep’s Emily Alyn Lind takes a shift over to the dark side while adopting Weaving’s previous weakness for sprayed on jean shorts. Ah, yes… Weaving. With her role hugely reduced (probably due to her workload expanding with Ready Or Not and the third Bill & Ted movie) the gap she leaves turns out to be unfillable despite Lind’s best efforts but her role (barely an extended cameo) does manage to tie the two films together with a satisfactory – if fairly unlikely – spot of retconning that turns out to be no more or less far fetched than anything else seen in the movie. Director McG has had quite the career resurgence thanks to the monolithic streaming service we earthlings call Netflix what with the first film and Goonies-esque alien invasion flick Rim Of The World allowing him to ply his trade on special effects laden comedies but while the hyperactive style from the original remains, what previously felt enjoyable chaotic now feels more than a little forced with embolism creating flashbacks erupting all over the place like mines on a playground. Every now and then the relentless outrageousness births something cool like video game life bars popping up during a climactic fight to the death, but chances are you seen them all already in far better movies than this. Derivative and utterly disposable, yet worth a watch seemingly for no other reason than you’ve paid your subscription and there’s nothing else on, The Babysitter: Killer Queen is horribly slave to the Netflix movie formula that you’re very likely to forget it as you watch it… there isn’t even any actual babysitting involved and I’m not entirely sure who the Killer Queen of the subtitle is supposed to be either (I’m betting Bee despite only having less than five minutes of screen time) All this just further proves my point that the movie is just as carelessly thrown together as it’s title, but then I guess The Babysitter: Filler Queen would have been too on the nose…