Part Home Alone, part Halloween, The Babysitter knocks it out of the park.

When bullied 12-year-old Cole remains awake past his beddie-byes to spy on his babysitter, things take a rather dark yet uproarious turn.

The slasher narrative of the 80s and beyond is hilariously turned over onto its decapitated head in this gorily joyous self-reflexive exercise in post-modern movie. The ‘final girl’ babysitter, alongside her band of cliché friends, including the jock, the cheerleader, the black guy, the nerd, and the freaky chick, are all of course present, existing purely to be dispatched for our viewing pleasure.

The fun lies in the fact that this unlikely group of friends are the bad guys, intent on terrorizing young Cole throughout a horrific evening of blood, bile and spin the bottle. Though the level of gore is heightened and focused in upon far past the level we are to expect from the usual off-screen slashing of the genre, the film remains rather light-hearted, managing deftly to balance the shocks of the spatters and the comedic value of playing with conventional horror tropes.

Though nothing truly surprising once you’ve reached the first bloody hurdle, The Babysitter remains an extremely entertaining watch. Scream has of course already poked fun at the cookie-cutter genre’s tropes, conventions and characters, but The Babysitter does it in a different manner, employing parody to a heightened extent and hybridizing the genre with that of the splatter film.

One moment will make you grimace as a jock is pushed from a treehouse, and another will have you belly-laughing at the self-awareness of the clichéd characters lines and mannerisms. Each actor plays the role to hyperbolic perfection, allowing those less familiar with the genre a chance to understand the playfulness of the intertexual referencing throughout the movie.

While IT may still hold the top  spot for the horror movie of the year, and deservedly so, it will be far less accessible come Halloween, making The Babysitter a must-see bloodbath for this October.


The Film Fanatic