Dr. Lauren & Darren Review “The Babysitter: Killer Queen” (2020)

Dr. Lauren McIntyre is a horror obsessive, tattoo connoisseur, natural Goth and cat wrangler. In the last week, Lauren has been doing some medieval coffin fancying. Say hi to her on Twitter: @noddinggoth

Darren Gaskell is a horror obsessive and “enthusiastic” karaoke performer. In the last week, Darren has been eating his own body weight in food from around the world. Say hi to him on Twitter: @darren_gaskell

*** WARNING: THERE ARE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD PLUS THE OBLIGATORY FEW SWEARS AND TALK OF ITALIAN DESSERTS ***

THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN (2020)

Starring: Judah Lewis, Jenna Ortega, Emily Alyn Lind

Writers: Dan Lagana, Brad Morris, Jimmy Warden, McG

Director: McG

Darren: Okay. Here we go with the sequel to 2017’s The Babysitter which has appeared on Netflix with not a particularly massive amount of fanfare. I didn’t realise this was coming out until a couple of weeks ago. It’s The Babysitter: Killer Queen.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah. I didn’t see anything about it either until about a week ago.

Darren: Before we start reviewing this movie I’ll address what could be the elephant in the room. I sent you some information about whether or not I should eat panna cotta for dessert last week and then progressed to sending you a picture of me eating panna cotta. I can only apologise for that.

Dr. Lauren: I don’t even know why you’d do that. I thought we were friends.

Darren: I was in an Italian restaurant and I was wondering what to have but based on what happened during our review of The Platform I guess asking you about panna cotta was a really stupid idea.

Dr. Lauren: No, you’re fine. It was funny. If you want to eat garbage desserts that’s your problem.

Darren: Other Italian desserts are available.

Dr. Lauren: Why did you not have tiramisu? That’s the optimum Italian dessert.

Darren: I’d had tiramisu before and I was thinking that every time I’m in an Italian restaurant I always end up having tiramisu. I thought I might have something else and then I thought maybe I’d go for the panna cotta. In retrospect, I realise my mistake.

Dr. Lauren: Boo fucking hoo. I could eat tiramisu every day of the week.

Darren: So now I’ve gone some way to atoning for my panna cotta lapse, on to the movie, which is a direct follow-up to the first Babysitter movie.

Dr. Lauren: Before we get started, I just want to say you’ll be the first one against the wall when I’m in charge.

[Darren bursts out laughing]

Darren: Thank you! Just because of a fucking dessert?

[Dr. Lauren bursts out laughing]

Darren: I mean, we’ve got a bunch of jokers in charge now but they’re not executing people for dessert choices.

Dr. Lauren: Not yet. Give ’em time.

Darren: If you’ve seen The Babysitter – and we’ve both seen it and I think we both thought it was pretty good…

Dr. Lauren: I loved The Babysitter. Liam Regan, of My Bloody Banjo fame, was going on about it on the old social media and I thought I’d go check it out and it was fucking great! I loved it.

Darren: I was surprised that it was from McG as well. McG’s not got the most amazing track record as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t mind the Charlie’s Angels movie.

Dr. Lauren: Did he do that?

Darren: Yeah, he did the Cameron Diaz/Lucy Liu/Drew Barrymore one. It was all right, I quite enjoyed it but if someone had come up to me and said McG had done a horror movie my first reaction would have been “Yeah….okay”.

Dr, Lauren: I can’t remember if The Babysitter was the first thing I saw Samara Weaving in. Either that or Mayhem.

Darren: The Babysitter’s good anyway but I think it’s better because Samara Weaving’s in it. Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it but Samara Weaving’s character dies at the end of The Babysitter…

Dr. Lauren: Or does she?

Darren: Or does she? There’s a hint that she might not have. The opening of this one goes back to the end of the previous movie and then moves on to how Cole is trying to deal with those events. His parents don’t believe him because there’s no evidence. They think he’s a bit of a crackpot.

Dr. Lauren: Nobody believes him at all.

Darren: Even his friends at school. His parents try to get him into a psychiatric educational facility but he sees a way out because his friend Melanie is going to spend the weekend out at the lake and she invites him along.

Dr. Lauren: Melanie, if you’ve seen the first film, you’ll remember as the young girl who lives across the street who Cole has a bit of a crush on. Also, I should probably say that this film is set a couple of years after the first one and there are recurring characters in it. It’s also two or three years since the first one was filmed?

Darren: Yeah, about that.

Dr. Lauren: I was confused about the age of the kids in it to be honest. Maybe it’s a product of me getting old but I thought the kids in the first film were a lot younger. I thought they were about 12 but it turns out they must have been about 14 or 15.

Darren: I think there may be a reference saying Cole was 15 when the first movie happened. I may be wrong.

Dr. Lauren: He does not look 15 at all in the first one! And Melanie looks about 12.

Darren: They’re mid to late teens now.

Dr. Lauren: The main reason that I bring it up is that later on in the film there’s a few things going on, depending on how old the kids are, which are a bit sketchy. For example, the way that Melanie dresses. Fully got her bangers out. Dressed up to the nines. If she’s supposed to be 16 there’s a fair bit of over-sexualisation of that character.

Darren: It’s not a surprise to learn that four guys wrote this movie.

Dr. Lauren: It’s not a surprise at all.

Darren: It wouldn’t be a second Babysitter movie if the blood cult didn’t come back in some way to pester Cole once more, and they do.

Dr. Lauren: I did enjoy this film and it was fun but whereas the first one felt quite fresh this felt like it was trying too hard. It was pretty laboured. It really suffered from the lack of Samara Weaving. She does turn up in it in very small amounts. You can see that they’d be told they could have Samara Weaving for, like, two days. Because they couldn’t bring back her character for the majority of the film, they’ve tried to turn another character into her and I didn’t think it worked at all.

Darren: There’s bits of the history of certain characters where Samara Weaving appears in their backstory. It’s funny but it’s always trying to be funny to the point where it gets a little bit wearing because everything is played for laughs in this. They’re trying so hard to make a joke all the time.

Dr. Lauren: The other one felt a lot more effortless in terms of the humour and what it was going for whereas this one did feel like it was trying too hard. It’s not that I didn’t laugh. The guidance counsellor guy I thought was hilarious.

Darren: Yes.

Dr. Lauren: The two dads were funny as well.

Darren: The running gag about Cole’s dad, who’s clearly been warned off drugs by his missus…

Dr. Lauren: That’s referred to in the first one. He’s a bit of a stoner and his wife’s having none of it now because she’s really straight-laced. Although to be honest I can’t see why they’re married at all. They’re not a very good match.

Darren: That’s true. Having said that, you’ve seen me and Alison so we can talk about mismatched people. They’ve reiterated the joke about Cole’s dad being a stoner and Melanie’s dad just wants to play XBox and smoke weed.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah.

Darren: It has the same level of gore as the first and again it’s gory in a ridiculous and OTT and kind of fun way. You’re generally not going to get massively offended by the violence in this because it’s so utterly daft when it happens. It’s a 15 rating and that’s fair. It’s bloody but it’s not unnerving or scary in any way.

Dr. Lauren: I think if you’re in your mid to late teens you’d probably find this really fun. Maybe I’m getting old and fed up of stuff like this. The way that it’s presented has been done a lot better, and it’s been done a lot better by the people who made this film. It reminded me a bit of how Tragedy Girls but that was done really well whereas this just annoyed me after a while.

Darren: It does hammer the same kind of thing over and over. It does have that McG thing where they throw in a dance sequence. There’s a reference to a video game. Anything they can chuck in, style wise, they do.

Dr. Lauren: Performances were all right. The guy who plays Cole was pretty good. Jenna Ortega was really good, I really enjoyed her character.

Darren: Yeah, she gets to be the one who kicks the most ass.

Dr. Lauren: And, as a side note, her hair was awesome.

Darren: Considering the slightly leering way in which the other female characters are portrayed, her character is very much the voice of reason, the smart one, the resourceful one. They don’t redeem themselves by having just one female character who isn’t a sex object but it goes a little way to balancing it out. Doesn’t excuse the other stuff, though.

Dr. Lauren: I did notice Leslie Bibb, who plays the mom, was a fleshed out character in the first one but in this she’s reduced to the role of the nagging wife and she’s barely in it.

Darren: Okay, they make a joke about how her husband is useless but they make more of a joke about how she nags him. She doesn’t really get anything of substance.

Dr. Lauren; Again, I couldn’t figure out if she was busy and couldn’t get her for very long.

Darren: It kind of feels that way. They probably needed her in at some point because she’s the mum. She gets sidelined by the plot and isn’t really around for the last two-thirds of the movie.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah.

Darren: Speaking of the last bits of the movie, the ending didn’t work for me. It was too long.

Dr. Lauren: I enjoyed the journey to the ending. I didn’t like it anywhere near as much as the first one. It was very hit and miss. Some bits were pretty good and some bits fell completely flat. The ending? Yeah, I didn’t think it was great. I actually did hate it when Samara Weaving came back. I thought it was awful. Not her, though! It was what they’d done to her character. Also, I don’t know if she’d had to cut her hair for something else but they had her in a really terrible wig. Did you notice it?

Darren: Yeah. I don’t normally spot that kind of thing but I sat there thinking “Is that a wig?”. I thought her hair was either really bad or it was a crap wig. I agree about the character, they ruined what was good about it in the first one. The way the plot’s resolved, even in a film that’s so stupid, is still difficult to swallow.

Dr. Lauren: This felt like a halfway house to where I would have preferred to have it. They should have either completely cut Bee out or got her back for the whole thing.

Darren: It doesn’t satisfy either of those. The end’s very daft and it’s ridiculously drawn out as well. It’s one of those rare movies where the middle doesn’t sag at all but the end does. It takes forever to resolve it.

Dr. Lauren: The rest of the film goes along at a fair old pace. For its faults, I wasn’t bored during it.

Darren: Which makes it more glaring at the end. It runs along at a decent clip up to about 75 minutes then it grinds to an almost complete halt. The last 20 minutes is really, really draggy. When it should be going for the big finish it fizzles out. I don’t know if the ending was changed, it doesn’t seem to belong to the rest of the movie.

Dr. Lauren; It’s almost like they had to write the ending at a quarter to five on a Friday.

Darren: Before they had to hand it in. We’ve got ten minutes to get this done. Oh, let’s just put that in as the ending.

Dr. Lauren: They’re writing it on the bus on the way to the studio.

Darren: McG on the bus trying to finish the script. That’d have been a better ending.

Dr. Lauren: I stand by what I said. They should have completely cut Samara Weaving’s character out of it. Would it have been the same if they’d had Bee in it but a different actress playing her? I’m not sure.

Darren: I would have cut her out rather than recast the role. For me, it’s got to Samara Weaving or nobody.

Dr. Lauren: She’s so good in the first one and I love her anyway. I’ve got a massive crush on her.

Darren: Yeah, I’ve got a thing for Samara Weaving as well. I’m sorry, Samara.

Dr. Lauren: I’ve not seen her in anything where she’s even been mediocre.

Darren: So, this is fine. It’s watchable. If you like fun horror movies there’s enough to commend it. It’s ropey in a few places and it doesn’t totally hang together but if you’re looking for something disposable and fun after a couple of beers this’ll probably fit the bill.

Dr, Lauren: Yeah, it’s fine. I had a decent time with it. I think if you’re a fan of the first one I’m not entirely sure you’ll be a fan of this one.

Darren: It takes various things from first one and winds them all up to 11, all of the time. With it being a sequel it obviously doesn’t have the freshness of the first one and it tries a little bit too hard. It thinks that everything has to be bigger and louder and gorier and that’s fine as far as it goes but I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as the previous one.

Dr. Lauren: The first one for me was a four out of five, with this one I’m wavering between a two and a half and a three out of five.

Darren: I’m gonna be generous because I think the funnier bits carry it through even though I really didn’t like the ending. I’ll give it a three.

Dr. Lauren: I’m gonna be controversial and I’m gonna give it two and three quarters out of five.

Darren: We’re introducing quarters now?

Dr. Lauren: I think two and a half is a bit mean but I don’t quite want to give it three.

Darren: There’s no rules for the scoring system.

Dr. Lauren: Two point seven five blood sacrifices out of five.

Darren: Three uncomfortable and dodgy shots of that teen actress out of five.

Dr. Lauren: Now I need to go out and buy myself a fringed suede waistcoat and some hot pants.

Darren: I’m going to have to say this. It may not be the greatest horror film on the block at the moment but it isn’t Human Zoo.

Dr. Lauren: I’ve been wondering how long it was going to be before you brought that up again.

Darren: Well, we’ve been doing a bit of a Greatest Hits with the panna cotta reference so I thought I might as well go back to Human Zoo.

Dr. Lauren: I think it could be a damn sight better than what we’re going to be reviewing next time.

Darren: OH YES! I have to say I’m afraid and excited in equal measure.

Dr. Lauren: Me too.

THE SCORES

Dr. Lauren: 2.75 / 5

Darren: 3 / 5

The Babysitter: Killer Queen is available on Netflix.

About celluloiddeej

Film fan, horror festival goer, karaoke enthusiast, cat whisperer, world traveller, complete idiot. Happy to chat with you on your podcast/whatever if you can stand the Yorkshire accent.

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