Brief synopsis: Cole is a reticent and bullied boy who is somewhat mollycoddled by his parents and scared of everything. His only friends are neighbour and school crush, Melanie and his hot babysitter, Bee.
When his parents go away for an evening, leaving Bee to look after Cole, he spies on her and some of her friends when she thinks he is sleeping and sees her kill someone. When they find out Cole may have seen them, Bee and her cohorts are determined to silence him permanently.
Is it any good?: The Babysitter is far better than the premise or even a brief peruse of the trailer would have one believe. Elevated by good performances and snappy directing and editing, it is an enjoyable horror-comedy.
Spoiler territory: Cole (Judah Lewis) does not want to get a flu shot. Needles scare him even as he denies being scared of getting the shot to Mr Daisy (Carl McDowell), the nurse. Cole is rubbing his arm later in the gym hall having received the shot. Someone throws a basketball at his head and shouts, “Pussy!” At him. This is his life.
School has ended and Cole waits with Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind) as she waits for her father (Chris Wylde) to pick her up. Her father pulls up in a muscle car. Melanie tells Cole that he bought the car after he divorced her mother to try and win her back. It did not work. She asks her dad if he will drop Cole home as they are neighbours.
Melanie’s dad is a bit of an oaf and sneers at the notion, leaving Cole to wait for a bus. Cole walks home and is set upon by the school bully, Jeremy (Miles J. Harvey), and his two sycophants, Romeo (Samuel Gilbert) and Luis (Zachary Rice).
Jeremy pushes him to the ground. His bullying is interrupted by Bee (Samara Weaving), Cole’s babysitter. She scares the boys off, threatening Jeremy and puncturing his bike tyre.
Bee takes Cole home. Bee is very attractive and Cole is besotted with her. Cole gets home to find a note telling him is that his mother (Leslie Bibb), is under the crawl space. He goes and finds her under the house. He asks her if she thinks he is a “pussy,” that he is afraid of everything. She tells him that he will grow out of it.
Cole is in the car with his father (Ken Marino). His father is trying to teach him to drive. Cole turns on the engine, puts his hands on the wheel, but is too scared to drive. Father and son swap seats. He asks Cole if his friends make fun of him for having a babysitter. Cole tells him that they do, but they get jealous once they see her. They go home.
On the bus to school, Cole tells Melanie his parents are going away. He feels like they go away to get away from him and to have sex. Melanie tells him that they probably have sex at home. She also says the babysitter probably has her friends come over when he goes to sleep.
Cole tells her he is going to find out. Cole sees Bee flirting with a bespectacled youth. Later, at home, his parents are getting ready to go away. Bee comes over. When the parents have left, Bee and Cole have fun, dancing and playing and generally fooling around. They watch a film, acting out the scenes.
Bee ribs Cole about fancying Melanie. She tells him that he has to go for what he wants. Bee tells him it is time for bed, but Cole says he is not tired. Bee tells him that she is, and asks if he will go to bed if she gives him a shot.
Cole agrees to go to bed after the shot. Bee brings him a drink. Cole says he does not want to drink alone. When she goes to get herself a shot, he pours his into a plant pot.
Cole goes to bed and waits. He texts Melanie, telling her that people have come over. She tells him to go and watch. Besides Bee, there are five other people; Max (Robbie Amell), Allison (Bella Thorne), John (Andrew Batchelor), Sonya (Hana Mae Lee), and the bespectacled youth from earlier, Samuel (Doug Haley). They are playing Truth or Dare, spinning a bottle to decide who plays.
The bottle goes to Max. He chooses truth, telling all in attendance that he would like to sleep with Sonya. Next, the bottle goes to Bee. She picks dare. Max says she has to kiss everyone. She kisses Max, she then passionately kisses Allison. She licks John’s face, much to his disgust, and kisses Sonya on the forehead. Only Samuel is left. He is nervous as he is the newest member of the group. Bee tells him to relax.
She kisses him. She then plunges two daggers into his skull. The others grab goblets to fill with his blood. Cole witnesses all of it. A panicked Cole calls the police. Bee takes out an old book. She tells them that it is a book of the Devil and needs blood to work.
They will need to draw blood from Cole. Max wants to know why they don’t just kill him for his blood. Bee explains that if they did, they would have to find another innocent to repeat the spell.
After having his blood drawn, Cole gets up, planning to escape out of his bedroom window. The blood loss causes him to become lightheaded and pass out. Bee, who had suspected something was amiss, catches him.
Cole wakes up to find the five looking at him and himself tied to a chair. Bee wants to know why he is not asleep. Cole says he could not sleep. Bee does not believe him. They talk a bit, Cole asking why they needed his blood. Bee tells him it was for a science experiment.
She tells Sonya to untie him. Before Sonya can untie Cole, police sirens sound. Bee realises that Cole called the police, meaning he must have seen something. Cole says he did not. The police call-out from the front door. Cole screams for help.
Two policemen burst in, guns at the ready. Max throws a poker at one of them, spearing him through the eye. He gets off a shot, hitting Allison in the breast. The other officer points his gun at John. Bee sneaks up behind him and slits his throat. Max talks on the police radio, assuring the controller that everything is fine after Bee gets Cole to tell them what to say.
Allison starts screaming, bemoaning the fact that she has been shot in the breast. As the group are distracted by her groans, Cole escapes. John pursues him. Cole pushes him and he slips on one of Cole’s toy cars, falling over the bannister and getting impaled through the jugular. Max chases after Cole.
Cole runs to his bedroom and goes out of the window. Max catches up with him and tries to pull him back up into the bedroom. Cole falls from the window and runs to the garage.
In the garage, he comes across the corpse of Samuel. He grabs a firework and leaves the garage and goes to the crawl space. Sonya comes after him under the house.
As she looks for him, Cole alerts her to his presence by flicking a spider onto a mousetrap. As she comes after him, he sets off the firework and gets out of the crawl space, locking her in behind him. As Sonya comes for him, Cole sprays a flammable liquid at her and blows her up.
An amused Max is still looking for him. He gives Cole, who had been blown back by the explosion, a head start. Cole trips Max and kicks him in the groin. Max tells him he missed and grabs him around the throat, choking him. He is interrupted by the sound of Jeremy egging Cole’s house. Max tells him to go and beat Jeremy up.
Jeremy knocks Cole down. Cole tries to enlist his help, but Jeremy smashes an egg on his forehead. Max starts the chase again. Cole runs to his treehouse. Max follows him up there. As they struggle, they both fall. Max gets tangled, a rope around his neck. His neck breaks as they fall.
Bee shoots at Cole. He runs to Melanie’s house. Bee comes after him. Bee searches the house but is unable to find them. Cole decides to leave the house so as to keep Melanie safe. He goes back to his own house.
Back in his home, he sees Allison. He thinks she is dead. She is not. She tries to kill him. Bee comes into the house and blows her head off. Bee says she will have to leave town.
Cole grabs the book and threatens to burn it. He wants to know what the book is for. Bee tells him that the book will give them anything they want as long as it has a sacrifice mixed with innocent blood. Bee says they can say that the others attacked them and go away together. Cole sets the book on fire, throwing it on the floor. He runs out of the house. Bee stays, trying to put the fire out on the book.
Cole steals Melanie’s dad’s car and drives into his own house, crashing into Bee. The emergency services turn up and Cole’s parents return, grateful that he is safe and alive. Cole tells them he does not need a babysitter anymore. As a fireman looks through the rubble, he is attacked by Bee. The end.
The Babysitter, written by Brian Duffield and directed by McG, is an enjoyable horror-comedy. The film mixes elements of adolescent longing, high school jinx, coming-of-age and horror staples, sacrifice and bloodlust, and works surprisingly well in this snappy production.
Samara Weaving’s Bee is the babysitter every adolescent boy dreams of having; fun and beautiful and treating Judah Lewis’ Cole as a person as opposed to a paycheck. Weaving is good as both an engaging, fun babysitter figure and as the more manipulative, malevolent Devil worshipper.
Lewis perfectly inhabits the unconfident Cole, his body language that of a person used to failing. Amell, Batchelor, Lee, and Thorne are all good, though their roles are much more one dimensional, more caricature than characters. That is not an issue and works perfectly well within the framework of the film. Amell particularly has fun as the macho and psychotic Max, wanting just to kill people.
At 85 minutes long, The Babysitter moves along swiftly through its runtime, moving at breakneck speed once Haley’s Samuel is gruesomely dispatched. A veteran of some 40+ directing credits, McG’s directing is good, with some great jump scares and humour.
The Babysitter is how a horror-comedy should be made, a dark story or premise played for laughs. Though the film is not laugh-out-loud funny in any parts, it is, nonetheless, enjoyable, and worth an hour and a half of your time if you like horror comedies.