With a bit of a rough start, BABYSITTER MUST DIE settles after the prologue and opening winding road sequence- riddled with out of place voiceovers and some awkward exposition. While I spent the first few minutes of the film sort of rolling my eyes, it quickly became a fun, laugh and scream out loud romp that I loved in spite of its flaws.
Josie Jane (Riley Scott) is stuck in her hometown, as all of her friends have gone off and continued their lives – she doesn’t drive, she doesn’t work besides babysitting. She’s still a counselor at her childhood summer camp. She’s getting her degree in teaching, which is admirable but will likely keep her living the same old life… well… forever. But as we learn… you should never underestimate a Mustard Seed – and her campfire training serves her well, as a group of cultists overtakes the house where she’s sitting, and she has to put her skills to the test.
I’m going to be honest… the cult storyline just never worked for me. It’s messy – not defined enough, sort of loose-ended and confusing. It seems in a story like this we need more backstory or none at all – this inbetween thing is confusing and distracting. Give me a “Shape” type slasher, or give me a lush, rich secondary storyline that gives meaning and depth to the overall arc of the film. There were plenty of interesting visuals – sigils on eyepatches, horrifying death masks – but none of it had enough explanation to really hit home. The characters behind the cult were mediocre – a brute and a badass babe – typical. Not very interesting, not very original.
Original, and a TON OF FUN, on the other hand, is the campfire girl, “Mustard Seed” throughline that carries a lot of the action of the film. Animated merit badges highlight each of Josie’s special skills as they are used – from the typical to the bizarre and laugh-out-loud funny. Terribly convenient that years at summer camp gave her every skill she could need to stop a home invasion and a death cult, but I suppose we all have our strengths!
Scott might be a little on the mature side to be playing this young college-age girl, who is also done up in pigtails and without makeup to drive home the whole “immaturity” thing. It’s kind of uncomfortable at first. As her badass abilities come through it all starts to make sense, and she is tough as nails and so fun to watch.
BABYSITTER MUST DIE has big cult following potential – and I can see Josie being the Halloween costume of the year for indie/alternative girls everywhere. She’s everything you want in a final girl – and like the greatest of final girls before her – she’s “just” a babysitter.
|Babysitter Must Die
||1 Hr. 30 Mins.
Kohl Glass, Julie Auerbach