With THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN Director McG continues his strange Netflix success, which was not well received by viewers and reviewers. We’ll reveal in our review whether the sequel adequately continues McG’s first mix of violence and humor.
OT: The Babysitter: Killer Queen (USA 2020)
Three years after the release of the Netflix film “The Babysitter”, but two years after the events described in it, the story of the shy, nerdy Cole (Judah Lewis) continues. He has been suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome since one grueling night when he had to defeat a satanic cult that was seeking his life, incited by his babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving). And even worse: because all evidence of the extremely bloody, extremely destructive night suddenly disappeared, everyone thinks he’s completely crazy. Only his neighbor and best friend Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind) believes him. But that gives him little stability in his new life as a victim of bullying at high school. Because Melanie is popular (and inadvertently shows him how unpopular he is). And she is taken, which causes him great heartbreak. When a grumpy, mysterious new classmate named Phoebe (Jenna Ortega) arrives at Cole’s school, it marks another turning point in his life…
McG was at times considered a “Michael Bay on the cheap”. His “Charlie’s Angels” films, his “Terminator” film, the action romantic comedy “That’s Trouble” and the actioner “3 Days to Kill” written by Luc Besson follow a similar line of undemanding popcorn cinema with moments in pure video clip aesthetics. Except that Bay has his own megalomaniac noise booming style, while McG remained interchangeable in those years. A Michael Bay would never make “That’s Trouble,” but many People could direct the film in the same Bayesque way as McG did. And then came “The Babysitter”: released on Netflix in 2017, the streaming film marked a turnaround for McG, and not just in terms of release method. No, the director also showed a completely new side stylistically. What begins as a teen comedy about a shy boy who falls in love with his funny and idiosyncratic, lasciviously dressed babysitter suddenly becomes a mercilessly over-the-top horror comedy full of splatter and self-deprecating breaks with genre norms and his own fictionality.
Chris Wylde as Juan, Andrew Bachelor is John and Ken Marino as Archie.
The reception of the bright candy-colored film, in which 80s genre fun tropes collide with the flippantness and media dissatisfaction of the late 2010s, was extremely mixed. Numerous (self-proclaimed) hardcore horror fans insult “The Babysitter” in every vulgar language they can think of. Quite a few press reviews criticized an excess of clichés and worn-out character drawings and plot structures, but praised the film for its excellent cast and upbeat narrative pace. And then there are those voices that celebrate “The Babysitter” as a modern representative of a genuine, campy “Midnight Movie” that broadcasts on its very own, distorted frequency and does its thing tough. After all, the film looks (and has dialogue) as if it were the latest Disney Channel Original Movie in the tradition of “High School Musical 2”, the “Descendants” trilogy or “ZOMBIES”. Except that at times he goes completely over the top and experiences macabre, bloody humor in the spirit of Sam Raimi (in his weird phases) or Joe Dante (in his splattery phases).
“And then there are those voices that celebrate “The Babysitter” as a modern representative of a genuine, campy “Midnight Movie” that broadcasts on its very own, distorted frequency and does its thing tough.”
This results in a “consensus” of 2.8/5 stars on Letterboxd, with 15 percent of the votes falling for less than two stars, 16 percent for four or more stars, and around 12,000 hearts for “The Babysitter”. became. Either way, McG’s most refreshing and memorable directorial effort cemented titular (anti)heroine and part-time Margot Robbie lookalike Samara Weaving as the star of weird, bloody genre delights (see also: “Mayhem,” “Ready or Not” and “Guns Akimbo”). And he apparently pushed the ominous and all-powerful Netflix algorithm to give the green light to a second part. It was again directed by McG, who this time replaced the original author Brian Duffield together with Dan Lagana, Brad Morris and Jimmy Warden, and sees the return of Judah Lewis, who as Cole has now grown from an early teen to a high school boy. Those responsible kept a big secret about the return or non-return of other “The Babysitter” cast members until shortly before the film was released – before Netflix made a 180° turn and offered most users all imaginable, potential surprises in the personalized interface Ears skin.
Phoebe (Jenna Ortega and Cole (Judah Lewis) try to find a solution to the problem.
But aside from this annoyance, what else does “The Babysitter: Killer Queen” have to offer? Well, first of all, a throttled first act. While “The Babysitter” ventured deep, deep into the exaggerated world of typical Disney television films (which are generally already “family and children’s comedies with a sugar shock”) before escalating into completely non-serious horror scenarios. , “The Babysitter: Killer Queen” opens almost conservatively: assembly line high school comedy aesthetics and plot elements meet set pieces from horror sequels in which “the previous film is processed” – with deliberately placed goose feet. Cole is traumatized in a shallow way, in the same way that characters in loveless horror sequels produced purely out of greed for money are traumatized, and the whole “Nobody believes it!” number also fits into this impression. Not to mention that like many (horror) sequels of the 1980s and early 1990s, The Babysitter: Killer Queen undoes the character development from its predecessor – the first film ended with a confident, determined Cole, and all that thrown overboard within a few seconds of the film in part two.
“Assembly line high school comedy aesthetics and plot elements meet set pieces from horror sequels in which “the previous film is processed” – with deliberately placed goose feet.”
Now one would be asking McG and Co. far too little if one were to bluntly note that “The Babysitter: Killer Queen” would trample into typical (and outdated) sequel pitfalls. Because both parts of this film series prove, through a multitude of loving references as well as minute, twisted games with horror conventions from the VHS heyday, that those responsible know exactly what they are doing. Tastes are welcome to differ as to whether “The Good Old Days” is being “destroyed” by modernization, or whether it is precisely the intention and art behind these films that McG and Co are nostalgic for to combine what those who have recently outgrown the Disney Channel Original Movie core target group are nostalgic for. Everyone always wants “something new”, but when their own nostalgic feel-good food gets new shapes and side dishes, it is not called new, but rather bullshit.
Cole is the number one topic of conversation in his school.
But: As knowingly as all of these elements from typical cheap sequels and assembly-line high school comedies are used in “The Babysitter: Killer Queen” – the script team does little with them. If the appeal of a clash between modern Disney television and 80s horror comedy is self-explanatory, “We’re doing something that is somehow lame but romanticized at a distance, just again – just subtly pointed out” is half-baked as a concept in direct comparison. The ingredients are there, but they cannot develop.
However, once the first act of “The Babysitter: Killer Queen” is over, McG finally puts in the Gaga turbo with which he drove the entire predecessor forward. The sequel mutates, the proverbial poop starts to boil, even more so than the original into a sketch-like series of crazy moments – but that works better on a meta level in a tongue-in-cheek, genre-savvy, jittery sequel to a winking, genre-savvy, jittery film still the entrance. Because sequels are often bigger, faster, further, wilder. And it simply plays into the cast’s hands: for example, when Judah Lewis as Cole frees himself from an awkward situation by having the socially awkward, nerdy loser do a completely exaggerated satire of his image, or when Emily Alyn Lind plays the role opposite Cole’s father of a helpless, kind-hearted sandbox flirtation to the extreme, the cast’s desire to play almost drips off the screen. There’s Jenna Ortega (“Jane the Virgin”) As the tough, mysterious new kid at school, she’s almost subtle – and in the “The Babysitter” universe, “subtle” still means Disney Channel-esque scenery-chewing with a charming wink – and yet she still manages to convey her very cramped, dark secret in a touching way to display.
Max (Robbie Amell) likes to go topless.
The inevitable, satanic opponents of the teen heroes are once again comic-esque oneliners in the style of Kevin from “Ghostbusters – Answer the Call” who deliver cannon fodder, which are killed very creatively and pointedly (but usually also very digitally). To give the whole thing a bit of feel, gallons of fake blood are poured into the heroes’ faces in counter shots – even more so than in part one. And even more than in part one, there are humorously exaggerated media gimmicks, such as flashbacks (which gradually become more and more nonsensical) in a worn-out VHS look or a music video (!). Towards the end, “The Babysitter: Killer Queen” also becomes a satire of the sequel trend of always making everything unnecessarily complicated, which the cast conveys with wide eyes and fake poses in a way that fits the tone of the film. But that also complicates the conclusion: It suits “The Babysitter” to completely exaggerate in the second part and immediately plow through three types of sequels. Nevertheless, this means that potential falls by the wayside – in the first third there are simply not enough punchlines and directorial comments on the lovingly satirized originals, and the last few minutes would have been enough for an entire film of their own.
“For example, when Judah Lewis as Cole frees himself from an awkward situation by having the socially awkward, nerdy loser create a completely exaggerated satire of his image, or when Emily Alyn Lind takes the role of a helpless, kind-hearted sandbox flirt to the extreme opposite Cole’s father , the cast’s enthusiasm for acting almost oozes from the screen.”
So it remains: Anyone who already hated “The Babysitter” because they shouldn’t spoil the sacred genre of 80s horror with so many digital tricks and modernisms would be in for a huge surprise if they said “But I love part two !” Fans of part one, on the other hand, will most likely have fun – but should be prepared for a zigzag curve. You be the judge. INTENTIONALLY WITH TWO E’S BECAUSE A REFERENCE TO WEAVING’S CHARACTER IN PART ONE AND THE KIND OF GAG; THAT THE FILM WOULD BRING.
Conclusion: McG is having fun again, and still doesn’t care who’s on his wavelength: The sequel to “The Babysitter” is first less and quieter, then suddenly much more and more “out there”.
“The Babysitter: Killer Queen” is now available to stream on Netflix.