Stick with me here… Airplane II (1982), Teen Wolf Too (1987) and Meatballs 2 (1984). All of them are to their original counterparts as The Babysitter: Killer Queen is to The Babysitter (2017). That is to say: an inferior sequel that lazily recycles the previous narrative. And if you don’t know any of those aforementioned movie titles, there’s a good chance you won’t understand a lot of the weird misplaced nostalgia that’s happening throughout this new Netflix original.
Just a heads up: spoilers ahead for the 2017 film.
Following the events of the previous outing – whereby he was subject to the satanic rituals of a demonic cult – our young hero, Cole (Judah Lewis), is now socially awkward and haunted by what he witnessed two years ago. His parents believe he is certifiably psychotic and plan to enlist him in a psychiatric college, but before they have a chance, Cole sneaks away with his friends, including his besty neighbour Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind), to a houseboat on the lake. Following a game of Spin the Bottle (sound familiar?) things take a sinister turn when the sect of murderous fiends return from the dead to finish what they started.
By relocating the plot from the suburban household to a houseboat, director McG is hoping that a cheeky change of scenery will provide enough smoke and mirrors to distract viewers from the fact that there really isn’t anything new here. He also doubles down on the humour in a desperate attempt to appeal to viewers with short attention spans, which ultimately results in a clunky effort to re-capture lightening in a bottle. Suffice to say, fans of the original – myself among them – would be right to approach with caution.
There is also a clear obliviousness by the filmmakers as to what made their first film so good. The appeal was more than just its kooky story, and so much of the charm was owed to the juxtaposition of originality and nostalgia; it was the kind of film that could have come straight out of the John Hughes era of cinema. And while riding the current wave of 80s-centric titles, it also presented a bunch of typical characters for the social media, influencer-obsessed teens of today.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen lacks tact and plunders every opportunity for laughs. There is no shame either, with so many self-referential musings falling on deaf ears. Unnecessary nods to 80’s pop-culture litter the film, with everything from Teen Wolf, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and MC Hammer referenced by the teenage characters. It’s hard to believe that these kids would know any of the allusions they reference, and when Indiana Jones, The Terminator and Young MC are all mentioned within the space of 5 minutes, all credibility is lost.
To its credit, the movie looks just as polished as the original, and it manages to unleash a few tasty surprises along the way (mostly predictable). This is small praise, to be sure, but when the guy (me) with the penchant for second-rate sequels struggles to find the pros amongst the cons, it’s best to give said title a wide berth.
With that said, subscribers to Netflix will not be out of pocket, and The Babysitter: Killer Queen does behold that curiosity factor – sometimes you just have to see for yourself, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
‘The Babysitter: Killer Queen’ is now available on Netflix and can be streamed HERE.