The Babysitter: Killer Queen might very well be the worst thing I've watched in 2020, and I sat through the State of the Union Address.
Gory horror-comedies with half-baked plots can actually be quite entertaining if they are at least well-shot and well-written. This sequel to the borderline-decent 2017 Netflix original The Babysitter is neither of these things. It's essentially a replay of the first, to the point that the action stops at one moment so the words "What The Fu**?!…. AGAIN?!?" can appear on the screen. Embarrassing.
What's worse is that this kind of blasé "I don't really care, do u?" attitude permeates most of the movie, except for when would-be tender scenes of genuine emotion collide into what is otherwise a yukfest. Apart from the annoying nature of realizing "oh, I guess someone demanded they try to insert stakes here," these two or three moody, emotional moments have an evocative, electronic score underneath it, similar to the music Tangerine Dream created for Risky Business that helped elevate that 1983 movie from a sex romp to a bonafide classic. And then you realize, wait a second, this doesn't just "sound like" that music -- it is that music! Criminal.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen picks up two years after the first ended. The cusp-of-puberty Cole (Judah Lewis, who is actually amusing enough in this; this isn't his fault) is now a nervous, awkward teen who has been gaslit by his parents and guidance counselors into thinking the violent acts he witnessed years ago never happened. He wears a brown corduroy jacket and a tie to high school, not quite a nerd, not quite retro New Wave, but definitely an odd duck. Bravo to the costume designer. Anyway, he's heavily medicated but his would-be gal pal Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind) convinces him to come to a party by the lake.
There's a group of wacky TikTok-primed teens there, just like the collection of dopes that Cole's babysitter brought to the house the night she tried to make a satanic blood ritual (and Cole had to fight for survival.)
Well, wouldn't you know Melanie is part of the same group, and everyone from the last movie has returned, undead, from Limbo for one last try to mix Cole's innocent blood with that of some poor sap victim. If they do, all their dreams will come true. Boring bloody mayhem ensues.
"First Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner break up and now this?!?" one of the guys says, in the approximation of humor. "I got shot in the same boob," Bella Thorne, far from the world's finest thespian, cries at one point. It's like the GIF of Steve Buscemi asking "how do you do, fellow kids?" somehow became a screenplay. There are dozens of other cringers, plus flashbacks in a cheesy Instagram-y "VHS-look" filter, and even a big showdown between Lind and Cole's love interest played by Jenna Ortega that is shot and edited in the style of a Mortal Kombat game. That's what you do when you don't trust the material on its own, you dress it up in filigree to hide the fact that there's nothing there.
I know I sound like I'm just no fun, and for all I know someone out there might think this is good. But I've seen a lot of other movies directed by McG, and while he's never done anything I'd write home about, they are rarely this awful. One of the kills involving a surfboard decapitation at least got a "whoa!" out of me, but that's about it. Even the 2017 Babysitter had more of a dizzying, Sam Raimi-esque quality.
At one point in this achingly bad screenplay someone suggests hiding "in a cabin in the woods" and the haw-haw-haw retort is "nothing ever bad happens in a cabin in the woods." It reminded me I should probably rewatch the very creative 2011 film Cabin in the Woods.
TV Guide rating: 1/5
The Babysitter: Killer Queen is now on Netflix.