Where 2012's Cabin in the Woods turned the horror genre on its ear as a smartly written gaze at genre tropes, The Babysitter treads into a similar concept, albeit to lesser effect. All of the requisite characters have a role; the shirtless jock, the quirky girl, the self absorbed cheerleader, and the funny friend of color who can't resist being his own cliche.
Cole however, awkward as he is, can't help but wonder what babysitters do after kids go to bed. His closest friend, Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind), is convinced babysitters invite friends over for sex, thus challenging Cole to sneak around after hours to spy on Bee's extracurricular activity. It's a decision he soon regrets.
The final hour is a glorious, blood spattered thrill. The film never takes itself too seriously, even if some of the gags stretch a bit to long and some of the more prurient scenes linger into uncomfortable exploitation (teenage me is all in; late middle age me...less so), but once things ramp up into the gory side of Sears, it's a non stop blast of outrageous kills and bloodletting the should keep slasher junkies satisfied and jonesing for more.
Other members of the cast, ultimately lambs for the slaughter, all have moments to shine as the cliche character each exemplifies. The cheerleader (Bella Thorn), the jock (Robbie Amell), the quirky girl (Hana Mae Lee), and the joker (Andrew Bachelor), all bring an unique presence to the film that serves the schtick well.
Director, McG, keeps the wheels turning, never allowing the film to wallow, and given the short runtime, succeeds in holding viewers interest without short-sheeting the earnestness and ultimate sweetness of the film's final moments. Cole comes of age, in a trial-by-fire sort of way, and his acknowledgement of such, tongue in cheek as it is, feels earned in the end.
The Babysitter should find a place on your annual Halloween watch list, alongside titles like Trick-or-Treat (2007), or The Loved Ones (2009).
3.5 out of 5