Producer: McG, Zack Schiller, Mary Viola
Writer: McG, Dan Lagana, Brad Morris, Jimmy Warden
Cast: Judah Lewis, Emily Alyn Lind, Jenna Ortega, Robbie Amell, Andrew Bachelor, Leslie Bibb, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Samara Weaving, Ken Marino
Streaming Platform: Netflix
The tone of The Babysitter, the 2017 prequel to The Babysitter: Killer Queen, can be best described as the climax of Welcome (2007) meets the climax of Mother (2017); what-the-fuck meets WHAT-THE-FUCK. In the first film, a satanic blood-cult goes wrong, when a babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving), also the head of the cult, involves Cole (Judah Lewis), the 12 year old boy she is baby-sitting. She needs to mix the blood of the sacrificed with the blood of the innocent, the latter provided by a drugged-to-bed Cole. When a cheerleader, one of the cult members, is shot in one of her breasts, the blood clotting and flesh around it putrefying in real time, she sulks that men won’t enjoy motorboating her anymore.
A #BlackLivesMatter slogan slamming, and Kardashian-Kanye referencing black man shows the cheerleader different ways men would still enjoy motorboating her. His head is eventually pierced through a sharp glass plaque, through the jugulars. There’s a perpetually shirtless man who wants to both capture the escaping Cole and also give him life advice on how to deal with bullies, feeling proud of him when he finally gets a girl. There’s also a mysterious Asian girl with eyeliner caked in layers reaching her eyebrows. Like one of the characters in the film says, “Give me a second to process that shit.” The sequel is heir to this throne.
There’s something Murakami-like about all of this. That is to say, as a viewer you only enjoy the random, questionable things popping up, if you don’t question the random, questionable thing, and surrender to the bizarre beyond belief landscape. Surrender requires patience, and a mood. This is not for the control-freaks, and those that watch films with a magnifying glass.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen starts off two years after the prequel ended, and Cole is now in junior year of High School. No one believes what happened to him- the blood-cult attempting to take his life – because no remains of the cult are there in the house; they seem to have disintegrated into thin air. Everyone except his childhood sweetheart, Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind), thinks he’s gone mad. The day his parents want to submit him to a mental institution she whisks him off to a lake party with her boyfriend, and two other friends squeezed in the back of her father’s car that she stole.
Essentially the same thing that happened in the first film happens here, and all the dead cult members from the first film re-emerge, except instead of an LA secure neighbourhood, it is now wild in the open. The spiders in the crawlspace under his house are replaced with rattlesnakes that snake up inside Cole’s pants and make their way up his chest, popping its head through his unbuttoned shirt, slithering. (How loose must those pants be?)
This time, he’s not alone. He has Phoebe (Jenna Ortega), the new student at her high-school who introduces herself to the class as three-weeks pregnant, and is lo-and-behold a snake-empathiser. She is at the lake for she has some unfinished business there, and their paths cross, both saving each other, while also attempting to brave the attacks of these demon-humans, or as Phoebe calls them, “the psycho Breakfast Club”.
Cole has graduated from the first film where he calls someone a protestant when he meant prostitute, to now attending school in a three piece chardonnay corduroy suit, reticent, with dry elbows needing lots of lotion to be kept beside his bed. Here, the film fully embodies its camp-potential, breaking scenes with pop-art expletives, to mirror our inner screams.
The film’s sheer audacity is striking, and though I don’t care much for slasher movies, here the violence is played for giggles. Every time someone’s face is scorched off with party string cans, lit by a lighter, or someone’s balls get knocked hard, there’s a very distinct humour that is played up. It reminds me of those “Just For Laughs: Gags” that used to play on television as fillers between shows. There’s something child-like in this very-much adult violence; where the end product of violence isn’t death or mourning, but just devils disintegrating to dust, where violence doesn’t come from any bigoted or hateful space, but a sheer love for one’s life. There is oddly nothing sinister about this violent film, which makes it a perfect distraction, because it gets your attention from the go. It’s not crafted for enduring, but for you to recollect a stray moment of it years later in an inopportune moment, ‘Oh remember that film where two completely baked fathers try to search for their kids, one of whom is a chainsaw massacrist, the other is cuckoo.’ This is that film.