Thursday, 10 September 2020

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)

The Babysitter was some much-needed escapism when it was first released. A horror film that played with tropes and didn't take itself too seriously. Sure, maybe it was a little stupid, but I had a blast watching it, so when they announced a sequel, I was excited. I am happy to report that the sequel delivers, and cleans up some story holes from the first. It is ridiculously rewatchable.

The film is set two years later. After surviving the night against Bee and her blood cult friends, Cole finds himself an outcast as no one believes him about the events of that night. His parents are considering putting him in a facility. To escape the pressures of high school, he accompanies his best friend and crush Melanie to a party in the canyon. Those plans are thrown out the window when the blood cult ( Max, Allison, Sonya, and John) return from the dead. Stuck in limbo, every two years they are allowed to roam the earth, and attempt to complete the blood ritual that they didn't finish.

Cole must once again survive the night, but he doesn't have to do it alone this time. He is aided with his new classmate and fellow outcast, Phoebe who has personal reasons for being in the canyon. While all this is happening, Cole and Melanie's parents are trying to find them. Well, Cole's parents are trying to find him. Melanie's dad wants his car back.

Its bonkers style is fully realized and embraced this time around, doubling down on its 80's influences. The comedy is at the forefront here, and the ensemble successfully balances it here. With its self-aware style, it gives you more of what to expect with the villains but briefly expanding on their backstories and motivations which was missing from the film. In the original, some of it fell flat and was scattershot. This was particularly surprising as four writers are credited to this film. When there are four or more writers, that is usually a warning sign. The kills got more creative, and with Cole's character being older and having experience, the character is much more active and surviving the night.

The twist with Melanie's character in the middle act ks so something that I am still on the fence about. I certainly didn't see it coming, but the change felt forced and didn't flow well. Respect to the filmmakers to sticking with it till the end, but I didn't like it. Honestly, most of the new villains fell flat in personality and how they were written, especially when they share the screen with the original villains. The scenes shared between Cole's dad and Melanie's dad annoyed me, but the parallels between them and how their kids turned out is some good perspective.

The climax somewhat disappointed me. Bee's character is back, making brief appearances throughout the film in flashbacks. Her involvement in this one to me felt shoehorned in, and I wish that they moved on from her character. How she is brought back and her interactions with the clut were straoght up sloppy. The plot holes around couldn't be ignored. Samara Weaving is great, but if you are going to include her again, give her more to do. The soundtrack, like the first one is killer, and only adds to the fun, keeping the story's kinetic energy up.

Judah Lewis and Jenna Ortega play off each other well and provide a good dynamic between them to serve as the heart of the film. The entire cast is having fun here, but the scene-stealer of both films is Andrew Bachelor (King Bach). He was the first cult member killed last time, and he last longer than the rest here. He is effortlessly hilarious and likable, even though he is evil. Another relationship in this film I liked was the dynamic between Cole and Max. Max is a psychotic killer who encourages Cole to stand up for himself and grow up, while still trying to kill him. His attachment to him is somewhat endearing.

If you are looking for a bloody good time, look no further. There is a tease for a potential third film, but unlike other potential franchises, this film stands on its own.

The Babysitter: Killer Queen is a sequel that improves upon the original, and is a hilarious silly gory ride with unexpected emotional heft.

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