The prime time for Horror fans is finally upon us, and Netflix is here to deliver. With older favorites like Evil Dead (1981), Killer Clowns from Outer-Space (1988), The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016), and upcoming Netflix Originals (Hubie Halloween, The Binding) in October, we’re sure to get some of our spooky season fix while watching safely at home from our couches. Released on September 10th, The Babysitter: Killer Queen arrived just in time to bring us some goofy and camp-adjacent horror.
Following its original (The Babysitter, 2017), The Babysitter: Killer Queen returns with triple the amount of ambition and one-third the amount of effort. The film is written, produced, and directed by McG, whose film background is equally as chaotic as this sequel. We return to find Cole (Judah Lewis), clearly and rightfully traumatized from barely surviving a group of satanic teens two years prior. No one—not even Cole’s parents—believe Cole’s retelling of events, because all of the cult members’ bodies have seemingly disappeared. I’m assuming this also stands for the two police officers that were murdered as well…
Upon finding out that his parents intend to commit him to a psychiatric facility, Cole skips town with his best friend Melanie (a character from the previous installment), her boyfriend and two other friends for the “lake” for the weekend. I use quotations around “lake” because the giant spring break-ish desert party doesn’t look like any lake that I’ve seen.
Inevitably, we find Cole back in the grasp of a blood-thirsty cult. Apparently he is the only innocent virgin in town. Regardless, the original villains appear to be back with a lot of the same charm from the prequel. This time around, we have a sidekick for Cole in Phoebe (Jenna Ortega), a new and seemingly unhinged student. She coincidentally arrives at the same lake as Cole and the gang to tie up some apparent loose ends.
There are a few things that are poorly addressed in the film. We aren’t sure why Bee or the many dead bodies have vanished. We also aren’t sure why no one—including the police—attempt to investigate. Cole is presumed to be mentally unstable regardless of physical evidence (a car through a home and missing persons). Did the murdered officers and cult members not have any loved ones? Isn’t Cole’s home the last known location of the officers? Even the flashbacks that are used for character depth seem rushed and pointless. I know the devil works in mysterious ways, but this is excessive. In earnest, the only reasoning in this movie is that using enough horror tropes can make anything happen, and can allow anyone to come back from the dead for a sequel.
If you don’t mind plot holes and a cheap storyline to continue the franchise, this film has the potential to be enjoyable. It certainly isn’t for anyone requiring realistic plot devices. Although the movie does continue to use the same inside jokes and raunchy humor as its predecessor, you don’t necessarily need to watch the first film to enjoy the sequel. I do highly recommend watching the first, simply because it’s much better.
Where the prequel landed its camp and nostalgia hits, Killer Queen misses its full potential. There’s virtually no fear factor. Each kill is flooded with video game/slideshow pop-art and cheesy one-liners. All of this might have been decent if spaced out appropriately, but smashed together and used until it’s dry, we often forget to laugh or scream. It sort of seems like the director tried to force Stranger Things and Summer of ’84 to have intercourse while he watched in the corner, and it gave birth to this raunchy, purple-tinted teen film. Evidently, the movie has many similarities to these films when it comes to art direction and charismatic, likable characters. What’s lacking is the heart, and the thoughtful writing. The movie rwaps up in such a lazy way and, to quote Bee and Cole, “shortcuts are a cop out”.
Let’s face it, it is always a struggle to top a good original movie, but after Phoebe discusses famous sequels that supersede the original, we can’t help but compare. You can only reference the Terminator franchise so many times before enough is enough.
The film is incredibly ambitious, there’s a decent-enough twist, a lot of laughs, and a ton of action and gore. But the deaths are silly and cliche. I think that’s the gimmick McG is trying to convey. The Babysitter: Killer Queen has everything you’d need for mindless horror entertainment. The focus definitely is not on the scares, but more on one-liners and references to ’80s horror hits (which seems slightly outdated for a cast of present day teenagers).
Filled with ambition and a high kill count, this movie might be great for those with tempered expectations. If you’re watching this flick and expecting it to be able to stand on its own with the likes of Cabin in the Woods, Friday the 13th, or Evil Dead, you will be incredibly disappointed. Bottom line: this movie is fun. Is it good? No. But is it bad good? Yes. I suspect that this picture will be criticized for a bit eventually become a cult classic, due to its humor and unrealistic gore.