The Babysitter: Killer Queen – (Netflix) review

Brief synopsis: After surviving a traumatic satanic, murderous night two years earlier, high-schooler Cole, finds that he is the butt of ridicule and shunned by most of his peers because no one believes his story of a night of horror, murder and mayhem. 

Only his friend, Melanie, believes him as she was with him the night of the incident. When Cole finds out his parents plan to put him in a mental institution he tells Melanie. She persuades him to escape for the weekend. Unfortunately, for him, Melanie has an ulterior motive.

Is it any good?: A sequel to the 2017 horror-comedy, The Babysitter, 2020’s The Babysitter: Killer Queen, is an enjoyable one hundred plus minutes of hokum that sees the original cast reprising their roles as well as a few new additions. 

Carrying on in the same vein as the earlier film, there are gruesome, bloody deaths, sharp, quick-witted dialogue exchanges and cartoonish, video game direction. The Babysitter: Killer Queen is an enjoyable and worthy sequel. 

Spoiler territory: Cole (Judah Lewis) is a diffident and nervous high school student. Two years after having nearly being killed by his Satan-worshipping babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving), nobody believes his story as no evidence of the night was left behind. All the students, the student’s guidance counsellor, Carl (Carl McDowell) and even his parents, Archie (Ken Marino) and Phyliss (Leslie Bibb) do not believe him.

The only person who believes him is Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind), who was with him on the night but will not back his story. Cole goes to see Carl. Carl tells him that his only problem is he needs to have sex. Cole meets up with Melanie and voices his concerns about everyone thinking he is crazy. She tells him that he should not talk about the night.

As they are talking, Melanie’s boyfriend, Jimmy (Maximilian Acevedo) and two other friends, Diego (Juliocesar Chavez) and Boom Boom (Jennifer Foster) turn up. Another student asks Jimmy if he is going to the lakes at the weekend. Jimmy answers in the affirmative. They all head to class. In class, a new student joins. Her name is Phoebe (Jenna Ortega). She is a little strange and bold. 

At home, Cole’s parents are discussing treatments that they think he needs to be taking. Cole walks in on them talking. They pretend to be discussing dinner. Later in the evening, Archie tells Cole he needs to keep taking his pills until he gets back to feeling normal. Cole protests a little, explaining that he was always told to be true to himself. 

In their bedroom, Archie tells Phyliss that Cole still believes he had a terrible encounter. They decide they will have to put him in a psychiatric school. Cole discovers that his parents plan to move him to a psychiatric school. 

At school, Cole tells Melanie. They plan to do it that lunchtime. She tells him that he needs to get away and that he should come to the lake with her for the weekend. 

Cole’s parents turn up at the school to collect him. Cole decides to go with Melanie. He does not realise that Jimmy, Diego and Boom Boom are coming as well. 

Cole’s parents, unable to find him at school, go to Melanie’s house to look for him. Her father, Juan (Chris Wylde), answers the door. He is not at all worried about his daughter being away until he finds out she took his car. 

Down at the lakes, Cole is having second thoughts as he sees his peers having fun and frolicking by the water. He feels out of place. Melanie persuades him to stay, telling him his innocence is endearing. Cole’s parents report him missing. 

At the lakes, Cole and the others are on Jimmy’s uncle’s boat. The group play a card game. Cole and Melanie end up kissing in a closet. They get back to the game. Diego asks Cole about his cult horror night.

Melanie tries to dissuade him but mentions the devil book. Cole never told her about the book. Melanie realises the ruse is up. She kills Boom Boom. 

Melanie, Diego and Jimmy have all signed the devil book in exchange for getting the life they desire. Cole freaks out when he sees Max (Robbie Amell). He saw him die two years before. John appears and then Allison (Bella Thorne). 

Cole swears that they are dead. Allison tells him they are dead. Max explains that they have until sunrise to complete the ritual they did not complete two years before otherwise, they would have to wait another two years to try again. 

Sonya (Hanna Mae Lee), comes into the room carrying cookies. She died two years ago as well. Cole grabs the fish hook Melanie killed Boom Boom with and threatens the group. 

Phoebe, coming across the boat accidentally, walks in on the scene. Cole thinks that it is all her fault. Phoebe, seeing Boom Boom’s corpse on the floor, makes an excuse and leaves. 

With the group momentarily distracted, Cole escapes and jump onto the back of Phoebe’s water ski. Max chases after them and shoots a harpoon arrow at them. He only manages to hit the water ski’s fuel tank, causing it to leak. 

Cole and Phoebe escape to another part of the lakes. Melanie, Jimmy and Diego, the new younger cultist and Max, John, Allison and Sonya, argue. Melanie sees the fuel trail in the water and sets it alight. 

The water ski blows up and the group go to the site of the explosion. Phoebe, already on a secret quest of her own, leaves Cole. She sees a man sitting by a fire. She talks to him but his intentions are less than gentlemanly. Cole comes to her rescue. 

The seven pursuers look for Cole and Phoebe. Sonya finds them first, killing the would-be molester of Phoebe before turning her attention to the two youngsters. Cole, who is in the car of the dead molester with Phoebe, runs Sonya down. He crashes her into a wall, the surfboard on top of the car sliding off and decapitating her. 

The others find Sonya’s corpse and decide to split into two groups, the younger cultist leaving three originals. Max, John and Allison go off to search for them. Cole and Phoebe head to a cabin that Phoebe used to stay at with her family as a child. 

Allison sees the kids first and goes after them. Back home, Archie, who is at Juan’s, is getting high and playing video games. At the lakes, Cole and Phoebe are spooked by a hare. Allison shoots the hare. She comes down to confront the kids. They manage to distract her by appealing to her need to be famous. Allison, offended by a comment, shoots wildly at them causing a bullet ricochets and hit her in the chest. 

The two run off, pursued by an enraged Allison. She falls between the rocks, her head getting stuck between rocks, her body dangling above the ground. Cole and Phoebe pull on her legs, parting her body from her head and killing her. Max is right behind them and immediately tries to kill them with an axe. 

They escape to a motorboat and ride off. Max, undeterred, jumps into a lifebuoy that is attached to a rope and the rope to the boat. Phoebe slows the boat down and sprays silly string into Max’s face. She sets it alight. He falls into the water, which puts the fire out. He comes to attack again. Cole switches on the boats propellor and Max gets killed. 

On the pier, with only four of them left in pursuit, Jimmy and Diego tell Melanie they are leaving. She tells them that they cannot because the deal they signed has no get-out clause. They decide to leave. They both blow up. 

Melanie decides to execute another plan. She calls Cole’s dad, telling him that Cole is not acting right. Archie, who is still at Juan’s, says they will come and pick them up. 

Cole and Phoebe head for the cabin. Melanie and John follow after them. In the cabin, Phoebe takes them down into her basement room. Archie and Juan head to the cabin. In the cabin, Cole and Phoebe get amorous. Cole loses his innocence.

Archie and Juan reach the cabin. Melanie tells Archie that Cole is freaking out. Phoebe tells Cole she was in the car that crashed into her parents. She feels it is her fault they died. 

Archie comes and calls to Cole. Phoebe tells Cole not to go upstairs. Cole, determined not to leave his father in danger, comes out of the basement with a crossbow. He tries to shoot John but misses. John grabs a sword and comes after him. He cuts through a rope, causing a large horned ornament to fall on him and kill him. 

Melanie comes into the cabin. Cole tries to tell his father that she is part of the problem but he does not listen. Phoebe throws a machete at Melanie. Melanie catches it. Cole and Phoebe run from the cabin. Archie goes after Cole. Juan tries to stop Melanie. She kills him. 

Cole and Phoebe split up. Archie catches up with Cole. He drugs him and takes him to the car. Melanie and Phoebe fight. Phoebe is winning but Melanie pulls a knife and takes her hostage. Cole wakes up at the gas station and steals the car leaving Archie. He goes to where Melanie has Phoebe and gives his blood. The others return; Max, John, Sonya, Allison and the original leader, Bee.

Melanie mixes his blood with Boom Boom’s. She, along with Max, John, Sonya and Allison, drink the blood. They all die, Cole’s lack of innocence spoiling the ritual. 

Bee knew that the ritual would destroy them and had set the actions in motion, having been Phoebe’s babysitter also. Her deal with the devil came about because she had wanted to save Phoebe’s life in the crash. 

Happy that the ordeal is over, the three hug. Bee tells them that all the demons are not dead. She drinks the blood herself and dies. Archie sees Bee die and realises that Cole had been telling the truth. Cole returns to school a happy high-schooler. The end. 

Final thoughts: As I said before, The Babysitter: Killer Queen is wonderful fun and total hokum. The actors commit fully to the material and seem to be having a blast reprising their 2017 roles. Directed once again by McG, he employs various cinematic techniques and exercises all of his flair in directing the film. 

Written by Brad Morris and Jimmy Warden, with the screenplay by Dan Lagana and McG, the script crackles with sharp and clever witticisms. 

With Weaving’s Bee taking a much smaller role in the sequel, it is left to Lind to fill the role of antagonist. She does so wonderfully, sneering and scowling as the wish craving Melanie.

The Babysitter: Killer Queen flies through its one-hundred and five-minute runtime and keeps one interested throughout. If you enjoyed the first film, you will enjoy the sequel. 

X-men? No.

It is rant time again. Normally I reserve my rants for real life, keeping my written rants to a blessed minimum. No one wants to read daily whines, not when you can be entertained by them on YouTube. But as I don’t do vlogs and I would probably forget a lot of my grievances if I did do it as a vlog, it will have to be a normal, written, blog.
My topic for ranting today, in keeping with the overall theme of the blog, are the films of that – close to my heart – team of mutants, shunned by society at large, the Uncanny X-men.

Unlike some of the comic geeks online and forums, I do not claim to be a definitive expert on everything mutant related. I was a comic collector – X-men, Daredevil, New Mutants, The Dark Knight (not Batman, just the Frank Miller series) Alan Moore/Alan Davis run in Captain Britain – over a period of maybe five or six years, when Forbidden Planet was still a basement store, way before anyone cared about comic book movies.
Even though the X-men comic and characters debuted in nineteen sixty-three, it is the eighties Chris Claremont run that made the comics famous. His Jean Grey/Phoenix/Dark Phoenix story arc, encompassing the Hellfire club run – very important in the cannon in relation to Grey’s mind – the original Days Of Future Past comic (spoiler, Kitty Pryde was the lead in that comic. Logan dies.) plus other crucial character arcs.
Logan/Wolverine was always the most popular character and it is easy to see why. He, more than any other character, embodied the freedom, otherness, and injustice many of the readers of the comics identified with. It stood to reason that his popularity would translate to the big screen.
Bryan Singer’s X-men in 2000 kicked off their cinematic journey, followed three years later by the, unusually for a sequel, better X2, also directed by Singer.
As is the nature of film sometimes and it is not something I usually have an issue with, they like to change things so as to accommodate the story.

This is common especially for a book to film translation. Singer’s adjustments were….interesting. I did enjoy the first two films, but that does not mean they were right. The first thing to go, as has been common in most superhero films, was the costumes.

Obviously, brightly coloured spandex was never going to be taken seriously on the big screen. The costume changes were a necessary evil.
Anyone who read my review of Logan – loved it – knows I thought it was by far and away the best X-men film. It was gritty and raw, emotional and gripping. Hugh Jackman was astonishing as the broken Logan.

He is still nothing like the comic book character. Logan in the comics is five foot three, butt ugly and also gorilla hairy. Jackman, as one would expect, nails the manner and attitude, but he could not make himself ugly or nearly a foot shorter.
The other stand out characters in the films have been Magneto, played by Sir Ian McKellan and Michael Fassbender and Professor Charles Xavier, played by Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy. In an ensemble film, based on the eighties best-selling comic, only three characters stand out.

Even in the sequel, that opened with the fantastic Nightcrawler attacking the White House scene, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is still the lead character.
In the comic, Cyclops is the group leader, with Storm taking over the leadership when Cyclops takes an indefinite leave of absence. The Scott Summers/Cyclops and Jean Grey/Marvel Girl/Phoenix relationship are also very important in the X-men story, not that you would get that from the films. The casting for all of the films, strangely casting two statuesque actresses as Jean Grey – Jean was never a physically imposing character – in Famke Janssen and Sophie Turner, whilst casting underwhelming Scott Summers’ in James Marsden and Tye Sheridan, neither screen couple ever convincing.
I’m not sure I can talk about Mystique. Singer got it so right initially, casting Rebecca Romijn who was perfect in the first two films. After the worst X-men film ever made by, when Brett Ratner stepped in for the risible Last Stand, Singer, who had left after the first sequel, returned to try and save the franchise.

He did a good job as well, even if he did completely change the story and make Wolverine the central character – surprise, surprise – side note: for an openly gay man, one would have thought that an opportunity to have a female-focused superhero film out first would have appealed to Singer. Apparently not.
In the sequel, Singer replaced all the main X-men characters with younger actors, with the exception of Jackman. The mangling of the cannon continued in Apocalypse with Jennifer Lawerence – an actress I like a lot – reprising the role she had taken over from Romijn in the previous film, as Mystique, becoming a….hero.

This is so far from the comic character! Romijn had nailed it, as had Lawerence in the first reboot, but the Apocalypse Mystique is terrible and unknown to this comic book geek. I will salute Singer for what he did with the Sentinels though. Genius.
Even as I am writing this I am realising that it could run on to two or three blogs. There are so many aberrations to the cannon and as I said before, it is expected that there will be differences.

What is so galling is, if they are going to follow or be influenced by stories that have already, for many a comic fan, been movies, in essence, having been paneled in comics, just make a new story. Stop rewriting perfectly good histories and characters and changing their ages and relationships and…argh! Too much. Just stop.