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Review: THE NURSERY (2017)

We generally consider people like those in the military, firefighters, or stuntmen to have hazardous jobs. But it seems the humble babysitter may have the most dangerous job of all. From FRIGHT to HALLOWEEN to HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, they’ve been subjected to all manner of psychopaths and demonic forces, as well as the occasional lecherous father. Now we have THE NURSERY from first-time directors, Christopher A. Micklos and Jay Sapiro. Is it a worthy addition to the genre’s babysitter’s club?

College student Ranae (Madeline Conway) is spending the night watching an infant while its parents celebrate their anniversary. Almost immediately weird things begin happening. Hallucinations, strange messages sent to her cell phone, etc. Some worried friends come over to comfort her, but soon they begin experiencing things as well. A dark presence is stalking them, but is it rooted in her employer’s past or her own?

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THE NURSERY gets off to a very rough start with some gimmicky editing and distorted sounds that are more annoying than creepy. Thankfully, it ditches this approach fairly quickly and launches into a more conventional and less psychedelic style of scares. And the film does deliver some good scares, unfortunately, they’re mixed in with an equal amount of crap.

To start with, there are some seriously unrealistic actions by the characters even before things get weird. When left alone in the living room, Grace (Carly Rae James Sauer) and Jeremy (Claudio Parrone Jr.) start going at it, knowing the others will be back after checking on the baby. Hell, Grace is in the middle of undressing when she gets interrupted. Jeremy himself is such an overwhelming asshole, it’s beyond me why the others put up with him. It’s obvious they can’t stand him and in any real-world situation, Grace would have been told you’re welcome, your boyfriend isn’t.

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There’s also a lot that is left unexplained about the ghost. It looks like it stepped out of THE RING and has some cool powers like being able to create fake texts and video chats. How it got so tech literate we don’t know. We also don’t know why it can rip one victim open with its nails but needs a kitchen knife to stab another to death. Maybe I’m being overly critical, but things like that hurt the film for me.

Flaws aside, THE NURSERY is certainly watchable, and for the most part fun. It’s well-made, the effects are good if a bit sparse, and has a couple of good twists. Don’t expect anything more than that, and you’ll be happy.

The Nursery will be available on VOD on June 5 and on DVD on August 7 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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