Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thoughts on Babysitter Wanted

Warning: Major spoilers ahead

Okay, I know there was a good movie in there somewhere, but between the script and the direction, something went horribly wrong.  I didn't know a thing about this movie going into it, but here's what the cover looks like:

So, it looks way brutal and horrifying, yes? I most definitely was bracing myself for some disturbing shit, but I ended up laughing so loud that my wife said she could hear me cackling through the floor. So what exactly went wrong?  Shall we dissect this film? But of course.

First off, from the very opening scene, you get a pretty good sense of what is going on. You see bare flesh with black marker lines that suggest butchery. Pretty chilling, right?  But then, early on when the babysitter is first being shown around the house, the whole plot is blown when the mother instructs the babysitter to only feed her child the food in the containers marked with his name. You can clearly see through the tupperware that each meal consists of bloody cuts of meat. So, with an hour and fifteen minutes to go, you already know the plot is about a child, most likely a demon, who lives off of human flesh. Now, I've got to say, this is a pretty cool premise for a horror movie, but for God's sake, don't blow the whole plot fifteen minutes in.

The tragedy of this movie is that there are so many great oppotunities to be truly scary and unsettling, but the filmmakers managed to blow them all. If the film was just a straight-up shit sandwich, I'd have switched it off and watched something else, no biggie. But the frustrating part is there's much to admire in this film. The performances are solid (for the most part), the look and feel of the movie are spot-on, yet at every turn, something just falls short. For instance, there is a scene in which a large, scarred, scary dude busts into the house, obviously out for blood. The babysitter, in her very annoying habit of explaining to herself what is perfectly obvious to the viewer, says aloud, "I need to find a weapon." She ransacks the house, and in the process opens a cabint to find several human skulls and an upside-down cross surrounded by burning candles.  This is obviously supposed to be a big beat in the script where she realizes what is really going on, but instead she just closes the cabinet, presumably thinking, "No weapons here," and moves on.

Speaking of the big scary dude, once you figure out the plot, the character is completely ineffective as a red herring. If the child is a demon, this guy must be the demon slayer, right? As if the movie didn't project his true identity 3 miles away, the filmmakers thought it clever to make his weapon the freakin' Ajanti Dagger from The Golden Child (okay, maybe not everyone would get that reference).

All in all, Babysitter Wanted is a strangely compelling mess that absolutely reeks of amatuer filmmaking, but has enough redeeming qualities that you kind of hope the filmmakers will hone their skills, study some early John Carpenter, and come out with a better movie in the future.


  1. I just caught up with this one. I didn't read your analysis beforehand because I was hoping it would be a good one. I completely agree with your dissection. The execution was so frustrating as I found so many of the elements compelling. It is a mess, but I found much to like about it.

  2. haha, I love the 80s feel in this flick! Plus I happen to like the twist! silly, but nice!


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