“The Babysitter: Killer Queen” proves that 2020 won’t stop punishing us

THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN (L to R) ANDREW BACHELOR as JOHN, BELLA THORNE as ALLISON and ROBBIE AMELL as MAX in THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN. Cr. TYLER GOLDEN/NETFLIX © 2020

Add McG’s execrable slasher sequel to the pile of tragedies 2020 has foisted upon us.

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The Babysitter: Killer Queen stinks. It sucks. It’s a bad movie. Watching it would be a waste of your time. I recommend avoiding it. 

I know why you – well, hopefully not you – would watch it, how tens of thousands of eyeballs will witness this sad sack of trash playing at 24 frames-a-second. Those who sit down for Killer Queen won’t do so because they’re desperate to see the next chapter of the story begun by 2017’s The Babysitter or because they’ve heard good things from critics or friends. No, they’ll watch because the holy Netflix algorithm presents it as a perfectly fine way to kill an hour-and-forty-minutes. They’ll click, with a shrug. I doubt they’ll even be particularly disappointed. 

Such is the promise of the “Netflix Original Movie” – I’m bitter about it. The original The Babysitter released before the genre had become a lane of its own; directed by “McG,” the subpar coming-of-age/horror comedy boasted a lot of bold-but-bad direction and a strong outing for Samara Weaving as the titular character. Over a mercifully brief runtime, we meet 12-or-maybe-14-year-old scaredy-cat Cole Johnson (Judah Lewis). He still has a babysitter, because he’s a scaredy-cat. 

THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN (Pictured) HANA MAE LEE as SONYA in THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN. Cr. TYLER GOLDEN/NETFLIX © 2020

Then we find out his cool female role-model is actual an evil devil worshipper, and horror-comedy hijinks ensue, though they’re never ever scary or funny. Two years later, puberty has hit Lewis like a ton of bricks, and Cole’s trying to move on from his night of stylized, over-the-top violence – to no avail. Nobody believes his babysitter and her four friends all perished in ridiculous, unbelievable circumstances involving exploding heads and poorly staged mayhem. 

Here lies Killer Queen’s first problem: trying to add meaning by playing the consequences of the first movie straight. But this is really the least of this screenplay’s problems, which is half expletives, half lazy pop culture references, the type of garbage only a hack could write. 

So odd then to find Dan Lagana, former showrunner of Netflix’s wonderful mockumentary American Vandal, as the credited writer. Oh wait, Netflix needlessly canceled American Vandal after 2 seasons. Perhaps Lagana’s revenge was to intentionally scape the bottom of the barrel. Perhaps Netflix didn’t notice. 

Killer Queen quickly reveals itself to be a complete rehash of the original. Somehow, another group of murderous high schoolers is trying to steal Cole’s blood, and also the annoying pack from the first movie has been brought back from the dead to help. That includes former Vine star Chris Bachelor (here incapable of landing a single punchline) and OnlyFans scammer Bella Thorne. Arrow-verse alum Robbie Amell turns out to be the only bright spot as the sadistic Max. He’s clearly having a good time, and it shows. 

It sucks. It’s a bad movie. Watching it would be a waste of your time. I recommend avoiding it. 

He’s an exception: while The Babysitter movies are marketed as campy entertainment, they lack the heart to actually have any fun. The blame falls on one “McG,” a filmmaker so insecure in his own craft that he compensates by directing with the attention span of a toddler. He’s prone to just throwing large text on the screen and tasteless unnecessary interludes (in an early scene, he “provocatively” informs us that every kid in Cole’s high school is addicted to something). For no reason at all, Cole wears a Wes Anderson-esque tweed suit. Nothing makes the movie any less boring. 

In other words, McG knows how to make choices, he just seems physically incapable of making any of the right choices. Outside of Amell, an almost-inspired dance sequence and an occasional appearance by Ken Marino (as Cole’s stoner Dad) are the only times this thing is watchable. Missing are memorable characters, coherent storytelling, striking frames, effective comedy, great performances, or any of the other elements that make cinema a worthwhile medium. I’m pretty sure I noticed a shot that didn’t have its audio synced up to the picture. 

A week ago, Netflix released Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things, one of the most engaging, original, outside-the-box movies of the last few years. Who would’ve paid for it if Netflix hadn’t? I like plenty of Netflix Originals: Cam, High Flying Bird, Roma, Marriage Story, The Irishman, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before to name a few. But behind their freshwater spring of quality content lies a river of sewage; The Babysitter: Killer Queen is just another drop in that pipeline. It stinks. 

The Babysitter: Killer Queen is currently rotting brain cells over at Netflix.

The Babysitter: Killer Queen Trailer:

Jonah Koslofsky
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