Over the last couple of years, Netflix has seemingly stepped back from original horror content. It’s been sparse pickings for horror fans outside of October on the streaming giant. Now with Halloween season just around the corner, Netflix re-visits one of its past original successes – The Babysitter. Among a handful of movies that made star Samara Weaving (Bad Girl, Mayhem), something of a genre favourite, The Babysitter proved to be a surprising mix of gore, humour, and teen romance. This time around, Weaving seems to be absent and the main character probably doesn’t need a ‘babysitter’ anymore. But sequels are going to happen. Hence, The Babysitter Killer Queen hits Netflix this fall.
It’s been two years since Cole survived his devil-worshipping babysitter, Bee, and her blood cult friends. Now he’s just trying survive high school. As it turns out, high school is its own hell. No one believes Cole’s story about a satanic blood cult – not even his parents. And his best friend – and longtime crush – Melanie is dating an empty-headed jock. But when Melanie convinces Cole to come along for a cabin retreat with her boyfriend and friends, demons from his past decide to crash the party.
The Babysitter Killer Queen Throws the Baby Out with the Bath
Director McG hasn’t made a career out of subtle filmmaking. But if The Babysitter was a wild, silly, and over-the-top horror comedy, there was still a surprisingly sweet coming-of-age story hidden in between the spraying blood and gore. Few sequels are necessary, but it’s not impossible to at least re-create some of what worked in an original movie. Sadly, The Babysitter Killer Queen is the definition of unnecessary. Arguably, what’s worse, Killer Queen undoes much of the goodwill generated by its predecessor.
…The Babysitter Killer Queen is the definition of unnecessary.
Not since The Houses October Built 2 has a sequel so undermined its own storytelling. In addition to McG, three writers are somehow credited for the story here. And it’s a story that does everything from regressing its main character to retconning what we knew about other characters. In fact, The Babysitter Killer Queen ruins everything we knew about certain characters not once, but twice, for the sake of contrived twists. At least one of these twists is the movie’s worst offence. Still McG’s treatment of his central protagonist, Cole, feels particularly egregious. Maybe it was necessary to set the character back to propel the sequel’s story. Nonetheless, the effect is to render all of the character development in The Babysitter moot.
The Babysitter Killer Queen More Frenetic, Less Fun
Like most of his work, The Babysitter exemplified McG’s manic style. By and large, it worked the first time around. Even when some of McG’s over-indulgences wore thin, his characters saved things and, at times, there was some restraint. No such luck this time around. Plenty of the ridiculous blood-and-guts humour works. That is, The Babysitter Killer Queen is often a lot of fun. Heads explode and and blood spray. But McG double’s down a lot on obnoxious visuals including what feels like a strained attempt to tap into a Scott Pilgrim vibe. A side story with two dads and some pot defines the meaning of ‘beating a dead horse’. This frenetic filmmaking style in conjunction with the sequel’s unnecessarily long runtime drain things of much of the fun.
Jenna Ortega and Robbie Amell Fill Some of the Gap Left By Weaving’s Absence
With Samara Weaving missing in action, The Babysitter Killer Queen misses a big part of what made the first movie work so well. Both Judah Lewis (I See You, Summer of 84) and Emily Alyn Lind (Doctor Sleep) are still exceptionally good here. But the sequel’s story does there no characters no favours. In particular, Lind’s ‘Melanie’ gets shoehorned into direction that’s a disservice to the first movie. Perhaps sensing the impact of Weaving’s absence, McG gives Bella Thorne, Andrew Bachelor, Han Mae Lee, and Robbie Amell – all from the original movie – plenty to do here. Amell really shines with the comedic material. But it’s Jenna Ortega (You) who steps up in Weaving’s absence. After her strong supporting role in season 2 of You, Ortega again flashes plenty of charisma and talent.
The Babysitter Killer Queen Watchable, But Disappointing Sequel
Despite its limitations, The Babysitter Killer Queen is still a watchable sequel. In fact, if McG had trimmed at least 20 minutes or so off things, the sequel’s flaws might have been more forgivable. Yet as it stands, The Babysitter Killer Queen makes some odd story choices that strip it of much what made the first movie work so well. It’s not so much uneven as it is frustrating. And without some of its character movements, McG’s filmmaking style feels more obnoxious here.