Movies about Satanic cults have always appealed to me. RACE WITH THE DEVIL (1975), DEVIL’S RAIN (1975), ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) and SUSPIRIA (1977) are a few of my favorites of all time. Admittedly, THE BABYSITTER (2017) is more light hearted, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s kind of a cross between SATANIC PANIC (2019) and FRIGHT NIGHT (1985).
Judah Lewis does fantastic in the role of Cole. He’s a young kid who is bullied and worries about everything. He’s too afraid to drive, scared to stand up for himself and is fearful his parents are heading for a divorce. His babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) is one bright light in his dark life. He has a mad crush on her and it’s easy to see why. I would have crushed on her, too. Hell, I crush on her now! She’s vampy wicked and I like that a whole fucking lot.
Sexy, funny, tough and no-nonsense, she treats Cole like a person and not just a job. He needs that desperately in his life. His mom acts like he’s a baby. His dad doesn’t quite understand him, but wants him to be a bit stronger. No one really just allows him to be him, aside from Bee and his best friend/neighbor Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind).
When Bee babysits Cole, it is Melanie who encourages him to stay up and find out what happens when he is usually asleep. She’s sure that Bee is getting down to funky town with a dude. When Cole tells Mel his house is full of peeps, her first thought is the babysitter is having an orgy. She reminds me a lot of myself at that age! That’s what I would have thought, too. I watched a lot of flicks I should have as a kid. A lesser gal would have thought party, but not Melanie. She’s no dummy. She knows there are shenanigans afoot, but she does not know the scope! Satanic ritual sacrifice is not on her radar.
At first, it appears Mel was on the ball. Bee and her cronies play a strange version of Truth of Dare meets Spin the Bottle resulting in her making out hardcore with Allison (Bella Thorne). Usually, I’d be all over this scene like white on rice, but I don’t like Bella Thorne. She irks me and not just because she sold out the sex worker industry for some pet project. She can’t act, she’s annoying and completely affected. One may argue that she was going for tongue-and-cheek. I agree she was going for that, but she failed miserably. She’s not winking at the camera. She’s full on hamming it up in an unfunny comedy routine that is essentially a God-awful parody of Cher (Alicia Silverstone) from CLUELESS. She just sucks. That said, she’s my only real grievance with the film.
After Bee turns on her date and kills him for a ritual which Cole witnesses, shit hits the fan. Cole tries to play it cool, but it isn’t long before the group finds out he’s awake. They tie him up and the cat-and-mouse chase begins.
The Satanic cult hunts him down while Cole holds his own, taking them out one after another. There are a lot of cool and inventive death scenes. The pace is fantastic, aided wonderfully by the witty dialogue and non-stop action.
Melanie is a good fucking egg. She comes thru, when Cole sneaks into her house and begs for help. She’s not a wimp. She doesn’t kick him out or turn him in. She helps him hide from Bee and even kisses him moving their friendship into a sweet courtship. Also, rock on Mel for making the first move! She saw her moment and went for it. If he didn’t like it, she could have been like, “hey I was just trying to make you feel better because you had a rough night. Don’t make it weird,” but since he went for it, she was all “hey let’s make out next time.” Did I mention how much she reminds me of myself at that age? I like Melanie. She’s cool shit.
She also brings out the best in Cole. When he says, “I wish all girls were like you,” he means it. He’s totally disillusioned with his babysitter crush and feels rightfully betrayed. It would have been easy for him to have a complete mistrust of all girls, but when Melanie says “just because she’s a psychopath, doesn’t mean all girls are evil” she relaxes him and gives him the boost he needs. He even goes into protective mode with her, which is adorable. Melanie doesn’t need protection. She could have taken out Bee. She’s got game that don’t quit, but she allows him the win - almost. She does remind him that he can’t lock her in as the latch is on her side of the door, but she stays put.
Overall, this is a terrific flick. Samara Weaving is fabulous in the lead. I loved her in READY OR NOT (2019) as the protagonist and she does just as well in the role of an antagonist. Her character Bee is a badass, hardcore, Satanic fem who won’t let anything stand in her way.
It truly is a great coming-of-age, horror, flick with a killer soundtrack, a sweet romance, relatable emotions and a whacked out fun plot. It’s an awesome popcorn movie and has earned its cult classic reputation.