THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN (2020) commits to being a crazy, bloody and gloriously enjoyable slasher flick

When The Babysitter hit Netflix back in 2017, it was a surprise horror/comedy hit from McG, embracing the ridiculousness of its premise and delivering a solid, enjoyable slasher flick. Now we have a sequel that, surprisingly, may be even better than the first film…

In the lead-up to this film, I didn’t expect to see anything more than a rehash of the first one with the same slasher elements, expecting something very subpar and formulaic. However, this sequel went above and beyond with the craziness of the story, ridiculousness of the characters and extremity of the blood and gore. From the get-go this movie strives to be different, deciding that it’s going to be an over-the-top horror/comedy and never backing down on that. If it had just made a half-assed attempt to be unique it would have been largely forgettable, however, the McG’s dedication to making this film so stylistically wacky is what makes it really work. The humour is ridiculous, there are copious amounts of blood and the story goes to some unexpected places, making the whole thing an enjoyable rollercoaster ride.

Similar to the first film, the first act really takes its time laying all of the groundwork and foreshadowing that is going to come into play down the track. These early moments would feel like a waste if they didn’t pay off greatly later on in the story. From setting up mysterious plot twists to laying groundwork for running jokes and key comedic moments, the time spent on the opening act is overall very beneficial. From there, the narrative takes a number of twists and turns that, combined with the essential slasher elements, make for a dynamic horror adventure that flows quite well. Having been done to death, literally, directors need to continuously find ways to make slashers stylistically interesting and McG has done exactly that. There are one or two quirky stylistic moments that are too out there, but they’re short and don’t have a lasting impact, just could have done without.

Although McG returned to direct this sequel, the original writer, Brian Duffield, did not. Instead, a writing team including McG, Dan Lagana, Brad Morris and Jimmy Warden took the reins. It’s definitely evident that the film looks to have taken elements from the different writers and fit it into a cohesive story, but it turned out well so I’ve got no complaints there. There are a couple of story decisions that were evidently made since they didn’t know what to do with certain characters, but for the most part it seems pretty well constructed.

When it comes to the performances, the introduction of new characters and the return of old characters, this movie feels a little stacked… but in a good way. There are a quite a few characters in this film and a number of seperate character arcs all happening concurrently that actually adds to the overall enjoyment as oppose to making it feel convoluted. It adds a sense of variety to where there are so many characters to follow that there is something different to gain from each area of the story. Normally, this kind of structure would result in an absolute mess, but the fact that this whole film seems designed to be chaotic means it just fits.

Anyway, back to the performances. A number of new characters get introduced, one of whom is undoubtedly the best part of the movie. Jenna Ortega (Phoebe) plays a central role in the story and brings a delightfully charismatic presence that leads to a great dynamic between herself and Judah Lewis (Cole). Her character’s arc and overall presence is the most engaging element of the film. Without her, the narrative would have a deep hole in it that none of the other characters could fill. Her performance is lively and really commanding when she’s on-screen, making me really excited to see more of what she can do. As for the other new characters who make up Cole’s group of friends, they leave no real mark on the story at all, to where at one point I even forgot they were in this.

The rest of the great performances come from the return of Bella Thorne (Allison), Hana Mae Lee (Sonya), Andrew Bachelor (John) and shirtless Robbie Amell (Max), whose very out-there personalities add to the quirky/fun tone. They’re there to deliver cheesy comedy and contribute to the ridiculous slasher sequences and they do all of that really well. Emily Alyn Lind returns as Melanie, a character who got very little screen-time the last time around but has a much greater role here. Also, the supporting roles from Ken Marino, Chris Wylde and Leslie Bibb bring some additional comedic flair to the story that does not go unnoticed.

In the end, The Babysitter: Killer Queen somehow manages to improve upon its predecessor simply by being more ridiculous, more bloody and more stylistically quirky in every opportunity it gets. The addition of Jenna Ortega is the best thing about the film because of how much she brings to the story and the overall fun. It’s stylistically over-the-top and it never tries to be anything it isn’t, which is what makes it a fun time across the board. I don’t know how a sequel could continue things, but I’d love to see what they come up with.

7.6/10

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