The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)

OCTOBER 12, 2020


When I finally got around to watching 2017's The Babysitter a few weeks ago I promised to watch the sequel soon, and look! I am a man of my word! Alas, like most straight comedy sequels, The Babysitter: Killer Queen rehashes a number of gags and beats from the first movie, so my advice would be to give yourself as much distance between them as you think your brain can handle. Like, if you are so attuned to your memory that you know you'll completely forget everything about the first movie by the time you wake up on Tuesday, then watch it pretty late on Monday night.

Because otherwise I think the deja vu will detract from the experience, and if you're like me you know it wasn't exactly a knockout the first time around anyway. The entire cast returns (yes, even the dead ones), and everyone seems happy to be goofing off again, so that gives the movie some of its juice, but the sameyness is kind of a drag - once again the cult needs Cole's blood, once again they chase him around as their number gets whittled down thanks to Final Destination style ridiculous deaths, and once again Cole has to "man up" and find some inner bravery to save the day. Maybe with all new characters going after him the repetition wouldn't be as big of a deal (sequels are, traditionally, remakes to a degree) but with only three new characters of note and the aforementioned brief period between the two viewings, I must admit I found very little to really pull me in here.

It doesn't help that the movie confusingly says it's only been two years, when it's clearly been more. Not only has the young actor playing Cole aged *four* years since the original (which sat on a shelf for a while before being sold to Netflix) but he's also in some later year of high school, when he should only be in eighth grade or, at best, a freshman, since he was only 12 in the first film. I'd argue that saying it's been the actual 4-5 years would actually make some of its ideas work better as well; not only would the "party by the lake" concept apply more to a junior/senior life, but Cole's continued status as a virgin would be more of a point of contention since that's more around the age where they start feeling self conscious about it. Who's that concerned when they're only 14?

(To be fair, the original movie is partly to blame by saying he was only 12 when the actor was clearly around 15 then, in order to make the "still needs a babysitter" plot work, but it still doesn't excuse them for not jumping further ahead here.)

The other thing they bungle - and I dunno if this counts as a spoiler so be warned - is that they clearly only had access to Samara Weaving for a day or two, which not only limits her interaction with her co-stars (there are several very awkwardly blocked shots of her standing with the other cult members that I would bet good money are just composited together) but robs the movie of the original's best asset. She only finally shows up in the present in the movie's final ten minutes, but you know all along that she'll be back because Weaving appears in a few previously unseen flashbacks, showing how she recruited Bella Thorne and the other cult members from the first movie. Even a child could probably understand that they wouldn't go to the trouble of getting her back to appear in four random quick shots, so you're just endlessly waiting for her to finally return and bring her considerable energy back to the proceedings. Alas, her awkward and limited contact with her co-stars doesn't even allow for much of that, and she spends most of her screentime standing still.

Instead (again, kind of a spoiler, but revealed fairly quickly) the main antagonist this time is Melanie, the girl next door crush of the original. Now she's a cult member as well, and has a few helpers of her own along with all the returning ones. It might have been fun to have them at some kind of war with Cole (and new girl crush Phoebe) caught in the middle, but her own little posse doesn't leave much of an impact, and the script (by four people, including McG but none of them original writer Brian Duffield) is too keen to have the old ones go through the same things again (Bella Thorne is once again shot in the boob). And they apparently missed the fact that part of what made Bee such an interesting villain is that she had a genuine affection for Cole, yet Melanie - his best friend for years - just turns on a dime and becomes a one note ice queen, without as much of a shred of remorse for what she's putting him through despite their longtime friendship. It's... just weird.

However it does get two things right. One is that Ken Marino is given more to do, and that's always a good thing. Leslie Bibb returns as well but is written out rather quickly while Marino goes looking for Cole, joined by Melanie's stoner dad, and scores most of the movie's best laughs ("Call her back" is one highlight, with the context). The movie's odd decision to have all evidence of the first film's events disappear along with Bee means everyone thinks Cole's just crazy, but it's worth it for Marino's reaction when he sees something to prove Cole was telling the truth, providing the movie with something closer to the emotional core that the first one had with Cole and Bee's final scene together. The other is that McG has drastically toned down the hyperactive onscreen graphic stuff, limiting it to a few callbacks and one fight scene that is given Mortal Kombat style health bars.

But, overall, it's just kind of more of the same. The timing was perhaps bad; for the past week I've been rewatching the Alien and Predator movies for a podcast, and those are films that knew how to blend the repetitious needs for a sequel along with new ideas and characters (to varying degrees of success, yes, but they shot for the fences more often than not), so to go from those to something this samey back to back did it no favors. Then again, there are people who want their sequels to be comforting and with a bare minimum of new ideas and approaches, so for them I'm sure this is just as good as the original (though I'm not sure how reducing Weaving to a mere cameo could be anyone's idea of a smart move unless they just don't like her). For me it just kind of made me appreciate the original a little more; at least it had the element of surprise and a villain you kept hoping would redeem herself.

What say you?

P.S. Since Netflix doesn't release discs but HMAD only survives on Amazon referrals, here's Ready or Not, which also offers gory deaths for cult members but also 10x more Samara Weaving and better jokes.


  1. Would you maybe recommend watching the sequel first, so everything seems new and fresh, and then watching the original, to where things are similar but better?

    1. No, the only things in this movie that really work well depend on familiarity with the original.


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