Ah, Fall. It’s my favorite time of year. And what better way to ring in the Fall season than with a tongue-in-cheek horror-comedy sequel on Netflix? I beg your pardon, but there probably are worse ways to do it, thank you very much. Especially given that The Babysitter: Killer Queen is actually a pretty fun movie.
The first Babysitter film, directed by McG, debuted on Netflix in 2017. In that movie, meek, picked-on Cole (Judah Lewis) discovers that his cool, attractive, worldly babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) is actually part of a satanic death cult. Deadly hijinks ensue—including a delightfully shirtless Robbie Amell—and by dawn, Cole succeeds in destroying the cult and defeating his evil babysitter. And, just maybe, growing a little bit in the process.
Cut to two years later, where Killer Queen picks up, and it appears that, sadly, Cole is still the same meek, picked-on kid he was in the first film. The only difference is now he’s a junior in high school. “High school is worse than a near death experience,” he says at the beginning, “I can confidently tell you that because I almost died like five times in one night.” Kid, I feel you.
Cole’s problem is that no one believes him about the satanic cult. His classmates don’t believe him, which makes him the target of bullying as “the crazy kid.” Cole rightly points out that in high school the only thing worse than being invisible is being visible for the wrong reasons. (Though if I could offer Cole some unsolicited advice, he could help himself out by not dressing like Wes Anderson every day.)
Much more dangerous for Cole is that the adults in his life don’t believe him. Cole pours out his story to his school guidance counselor slash nurse, a tale of blood and death and a guy who was shirtless for some reason—excuse me; “some reason”?!—but the best advice the overworked man can offer him to just get laid. Cole’s parents meanwhile, (played by the excellent Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino, and made intensely relatable by their inability to figure out how to say “homeopathy” correctly), have given up and are ready to have Cole committed to a psychiatric high school.
Learning of this plan breaks Cole out of his timid routine, and sends him on a trip to party on a houseboat on a lake with his neighbor and crush: the cool, attractive, worldly Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind). Deadly hijinks quickly ensue, featuring blood, shirtlessness, and a mysterious newcomer named Phoebe (Jenna Ortega).
The original Babysitter was a fun surprise back in 2017, and while this movie lacks the out-of-nowhere thrill of the first, it’s still pretty enjoyable. The cast is uniformly good, and deserving of special shout outs are Hana Mae Lee, as the goth-y Sonya, and the still delightfully shirtless Robbie Amell (never change, buddy).
The movie does suffer, though, a distinct lack of Samara Weaving, who was presumably/hopefully busy ascending towards A-List status. She appears, but only briefly, and the formidable impression she makes and the way the movie picks up when she’s onscreen is a key reason why this sequel isn’t quite on the level of the original.
I have found McG’s directing style alienating in the past when he has been in “over caffeinated mode,” as he is here (see: the Charlie’s Angels movies), and it eventually wears a little thin in this movie, too. But he mostly keeps things brisk, light and fun. There’s plenty of gore, but it stays on the cartoonish, “comedy” side of “horror-comedy.” (Indeed, anyone hoping for genuine scares should look elsewhere.)
I say “mostly” brisk, however, because the film does indulge in a few too many asides and “cool moments,” including backstories for all of the villains, that cause the film to drag occasionally. But these bits are brief, and mostly funny, so it’s not the worst case of bloat in the world. Meet Joe Black, this ain’t.
Long story short: I wasn’t blown away, and it could have been a touch shorter, and it definitely needed more Samara Weaving, but I enjoyed it quite a bit, and if you’re in the mood for a silly horror-comedy, this will definitely do the trick.
Final Score: 3 out of 5 Satanic Death Cults
The Babysitter: Killer Queen is available for streaming now, on Netflix.