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The Babysitter: Killer Queen

I had heard some not very good things about THE BABYSITTER, so I was surprised when I, a person who’s generally pretty picky about horror comedies, liked it more than my friends. And then as soon as I said that everybody told me “I liked the first one, but the sequel is terrible.”

And it’s true – the tight construction and sincere sweetness that I found so appealing in THE BABYSITTER are not as present in the sequel. It’s more scattershot, maybe in part because rather than the one original writer Brian Duffield they have a team of Dan Lagana (Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous) and Brad Morris & Jimmy Warden (co-producer of the first one) and McG. But it doesn’t feel crazy enough to say it’s McG going Full Throttle again. For the most part it stays true to the spirit of the first one, but the circumstances of sequelization corner it into being more far-fetched and having to stretch it more to keep the story going and bring back certain characters and stuff.

Luckily it’s also funny and gory enough to be a pretty good time. The returns are diminishing, but I’ll take ‘em.

As I mentioned in the BABYSITTER review, our young protagonist Cole (still Judah Lewis, THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES) has gone through a growth spurt in the three years between movies. He’s in high school now and it’s hard to believe he’s considered a nerd even with his brown corduroy suit, flip phone and calculator watch. Hell, those things might even make him seem hip. But his his troubles have gone from insecurity to genuine trauma. He’s haunted by the violent events of the first film, not only because they messed him up but because to this day nobody believes him that they even happened. His parents are still supportive, but they think they’re supporting him struggling with mental illness.

He aptly compares his situation to Sarah Connor at the beginning of T2. There’s alot of T2 talk for a movie directed by a guy hated for his TERMINATOR sequel – you’d think he wouldn’t want to bring it up. When Cole befriends the weird new girl in school, Phoebe (Jenna Ortega, “Vice President’s Daughter,” IRON MAN THREE), he’s impressed that she’s familiar with T2, which threw me off for a second until I realized oh shit its true, I’m old, and even the most iconic movie from the early ‘90s is ancient history to today’s teens. Which makes it funnier that McG still has them listen to Das EFX and Young MC and (in one of my favorite jokes) be familiar with “867-5309/Jenny,” and even that it’s sung by Tommy Tutone, which I could not have told you. He also uses “Police Truck” by Dead Kennedys well. I mean, yes, it’s gross for genuine political punk rock rebellion of the ‘80s to now be a nostalgic groove in a silly comedy made by a giant corporation. But also it works.

There’s obviously some meta intentions in the T2 references. Phoebe declares it “One of four sequels in cinematic history that supersedes the original.” We never get to hear what the other three are, and KILLER QUEEN sure won’t be added to the list. I get sick of that meta shit, but I like these characters talking about movies. She cites DELIVERANCE and the films of Rob Reiner as some of her favorites. The latter is a non sequitur and the former sets up her immediate fear at the sight of a banjo. I don’t like that John talks about himself as a character in a horror movie, and it’s especially tired to joke about the cliche of the Black character dying first, but I do like that he chalks up his survival to “post-Jordan Peele horror movie progress.”

I should mention the plot. Cole is still close to Melanie from across the street (Emily Alyn Lind, returning from the first movie, also played Shirley Temple in J. EDGAR). He’s clearly in love with her and she gives him every sign that she feels the same, except that she has a big bonehead boyfriend named Jimmy (Maximilian Acevedo). She invites Cole on a trip with friends to party on a boat, and he seems to be a fifth wheel, but in fact (SPOILER) they plan to sacrifice him because they found Bee’s satanic book and have resurrected her entire cult from Hell.

It seems mean to have Cole to have his other amazing female best friend also be evil and try to kill him. Shit. Luckily he’s able to escape with Phoebe, who has a jet ski. Together they clash with the various returning characters while heading for her family’s cabin, which has a whole new horror backstory of its own.

It’s kind of fun and also kind of limiting to see all the old characters back. Lots of callbacks. It seems to me there’s more comical riffing this time, but it’s largely successful. Ken Marino as Cole’s dad gets a funny subplot with Melanie’s stoner dad (Chris Wylde, SPACE COWBOYS). Leslie Bibb as Cole’s mom keeps calling and asking “Did you take pot?”

The jokes are fast and furious presents enough to forgive the ones that don’t land, but I was pretty thrown off by the convoluted bit that causes Cole to splash pee on Phoebe’s face. Mostly because she says “urine is sterile,” does not wipe it off and he’s kissing her about two minutes later. I don’t know what they were going for there but it took me a while to not be distracted by these people being so casual while covered in piss.

McG also goes admirably far with the cartoonish gore. You gotta respect a movie where somebody falls into a ravine and gets stuck between the sides like 127 HOURS and the good guys yank on her until her head pops off. There’s also a pretty great car-crashes-and-ejects-a-surfboard-that-beheads-somebody gag. And when a flashback needs to show loved ones dying in a car accident it’s an insane Jeep crash with bodies graphically flying out. The influence of 6 UNDERGROUND, I’m guessing.

And there’s also a disco dance number set to “Apache.” I expect that sort of thing from McG and I appreciate that.

One thing that might be good to know going in is that this seems to be the “I got way more famous after the first one came out” movie for Weaving. Her part is limited. You see little blips of her a couple times but she doesn’t really show up until the last act. The more they waited the more I thought, “Oh geez, are they gonna try to make Bee into a good guy at the end?” I’ll let you discover what exactly they do with her, except to say that I admire the attempt but don’t really buy it.

I guess I’ll also say this: Cole still has positive feelings toward Bee, which is alot to swallow when you go over everything that occurred in part 1,and also if you remember how long the two years between 12 and 14 are. But I decided I could accept it, because if you were that age and the hottest and coolest twentysomething you ever heard of genuinely enjoyed your company, you would have complicated feelings, even after she did a human sacrifice in front of you. Arguably.

Anyway, it’s fine. Second best of the series so far.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2020 at 8:42 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

12 Responses to “The Babysitter: Killer Queen”

  1. I thought this was an entertainingly Full Throttle mess, more of a series of skits and situations than a story, but the cast and direction make it all hang together a little better than it should. I’m not nuts about the big twist ending. SPOILERISH SENTIMENTS FOLLOW I GUESS I prefer my femme fatales to stay evil and not get neutered. Everybody prefers Original Recipe Mystique to Jennifer Lawrence’s version, after all. I’d have been cool with Bee coming back to try and do a solid for a pal she wronged but making her not really evil from the jump definitely lessened her character. But I guess at heart McG is a huge softie and just couldn’t help himself. He somehow turned Crispin Glover’s creepy hair fetishist into a sympathetic character as well. If he got to make some more Terminators he probably would have tried to make Skynet a good guy.

    MORE SPOILERS: Is this the first time a movie about a sacrificial virgin takes the only surefire step in preventing that? I know SATANIC PANIC feinted in that direction but didn’t follow through (and with good reason, in context). Or did they try that in CHERRY FALLS? In retrospect, it seems like the obvious move, though perhaps it’s not the most sex-positive idea to have non-virgin blood be so tainted as to make people explode. Or is it a rebuke to slut-shaming plots that make it seem like it’s better to die on an altar than give up your precious flower? No idea. We should probably just stay away from the concept of virginity from here on out. There is literally no difference between someone who’s been fucked and someone who’s never been fucked and granting the act of P-in-V some kind of divine power in our horror stories is like a hundred years behind the times. I’d put it up there with stories about Chosen Ones from royal bloodlines for plot devices that need to go.

    Also, doesn’t it seem like they missed an opportunity for a post-credits scene where the mom doesn’t believe the dad about what he’d seen because he’d been taking the pot? (Speaking of plot devices that need to go…) But I suppose that’s probably where THE BABYSITTER 3: STONE COLD CRAZY will pick up.

  2. Mr. M – there’s ONCE BITTEN which I don’t remember exactly why he had to stay a virgin, but I remember Jim Carrey and Daphne Zuniga going at it in a coffin to foil the plan. Or was that a fever dream?

  3. Aw shit. I just looked it up and it’s not Daphne Zuniga. Guess I have to turn in my know-it-all card.

  4. grimgrinningchris

    October 22nd, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Maggie,

    Yeah, I don’t know the actress’s name and am too lazy to look now, but the only other thing I remember seeing her do was play Veronica in an Archie high school reunion TV movie in the late 80s or very early 90s. But yeah, The Countess needed one more dose of Carrey’s virgin blood before midnight on her birthday to solidify her “youth” and power for another (however long)… so Carrey and not-Zuniga humped in a coffin just in time to stop that AND keep him from fully turning.

    SPOILERS
    I think I may have liked this one more than most. I think that kid is great, the new girl was super likable and Belle Thorne is hilarious (and hotter than Weaving even) and her death (as Vern described) is AWESOME… as are several others but hers is the best.

    I think my main issue was not Bee turning good, like others seem to have problems with… but his best friend from the first one turning bad- I thought their relationship was so sweet and carried The Who.e climax of the first one.
    I guess both of them changing stripes still changes how I will view the original the next time I rewatch it. No way it can’t.

  5. I think the movie’s first twist makes for good drama, though, whereas the second one does not. I admit that I was so charmed by the chemistry of the two leads that I didn’t figure out the twist until 30 seconds before the reveal, even though duh, that’s obviously the only way they could go. So I chalk that up as a win.

  6. I could be wrong, but I suspect the not-Zuniga of which you speak is Karen Kopins. If so, y’all should be careful lest ye wake the JAKE SPEED freaks.

  7. grimgrinningchris

    October 22nd, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Yep. That’s her. Just looked. Though I don’t think I know what Jake Speed is.

  8. Now you’re just trolling them:

    Exclusive Interview: Cult Filmmaker and Producer Wayne Crawford (Part Two) - ComingSoon.net

    Part two of our intimate interview with the late filmmaker Wayne Crawford. A true independent filmmaker who always saw himself …

  9. Yes, she was one of those peak 80s actors that when I looked her up in IMDB she was in every 80s show ever – Fall Guy, Love Boat, A-Team, Dallas, etc. I’m sure she’s permanently burned into my childhood memory, but I still see Daphne Zuniga in my head.

    I didn’t like this one was much as the original but it wasn’t as bad as my FULL THROTTLE fears. I’m not sure why this one triggered my friend more than the first one. She had no comments when we watched the first one, but when we watched this one she couldn’t help but say things like, “Snakes wouldn’t be active during the night!” I kept telling her to stop trying to reason with the movie; none of it was going to be logical.

    I liked the addition of another person going around with him in his crazy night. I missed the interaction of him and Bee being central. Thorne was still great. She got my biggest laugh again – her clumsy entrance through the window. I didn’t think Max was as entertaining. The kid playing Cole was even better this time, so I’m looking forward to his career. I saw every twist coming from miles away. Well, *SPOILERS* the friend being the new Bad, him no longer being a virgin, and Bee being Phoebe’s babysitter during the car crash. I didn’t see Bee’s turn back to the good side until just before it happened. I agree with Vern that it’s weak, but I didn’t hate it. *END SPOILERS*

    I was a little confused about the flashbacks for the OG crew. Was that supposed to be when Bee first met and recruited them? It seemed like that’s what they were, but they were so wonky (Max working at a fast food joint shirtless with his name tag pinned to his bare chest) and seemed out of time (John at the recording studio looked pretty 80s) that I started wondering if they were when they were in hell (purgatory?) and she pulled them out for this second go round. I think it was most likely the original meeting, made trippy.

  10. “One of four sequels in cinematic history that supersedes the original.”….

    Hmmm…. let’s see:

    Aliens
    T2
    Godfather Part 2
    Empire Strikes Back

    Dark Knight probably deserves honorable mention too

  11. It usually doesn’t bother me but the references in this film is super distracting. No kid in 2020 would ever reference Barbara Walters. Ever.

  12. Stern, I found it distracting too in BOTH Babysitter flicks, albeit in an amused sort of way, and I’m sure McG isn’t the only director guilty of loading a film with pop culture references from his generation as opposed to that of his characters.

    I mean, Cole and Bee watch Billy Jack in the first movie! Billy Jack!!!! An already severely dated cult hit by the time I was in college (by which I inadvertently out myself as an old fossil).

    I’m imagining teenagers seeing that scene, thinking, Hey lemme check out that Billy Jack, and I’d feel this overwhelming urge to tell them, Listen bub, that foot to head slap scene is the only noteworthy one in a movie whose politics are as obsolete as the Hippy counter culture it embraces, looks and sounds like it was shot on 8mm in somebody’s backyard and features interminable scenes of amateur hour theatre improv that’ll make you grateful remotes came with a fast forward button.

    Otherwise, I did enjoy both Babysitter movies and am thankful Killer Queen didn’t turn out to be the FULL THROTTLE sequel it well could have been. I guess it helped McG didn’t have 3 divas on his ass full time.

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