Babysitter Must Die (2020) Review
Babysitter Must Die opens with Josie’s (Riley Scott, Head Count) mother voicing her concerns about the big Christmas party. Only she’s concerned that her daughter isn’t going. She’s babysitting Sophia (Scarlett Hazen, Scarlett), the daughter of a wealthy record producer instead.
The girl’s parents Jen (Kristen Marie Jensen) and Rick (Robert Scott Smith) come home early because Rick and Patch (Alexander Woods) have an idea for a new track. Patch brings along his girlfriend Sadie (Kalli Therinae), an old school friend of Josie’s. But before she can make her exit, she’s talked into a last game of hide and seek. While she’s hiding a group of cultists break in, searching for something hidden in the walls. Can Josie, using the skills she learned at Camp Mustard Seed, save her employers? And, if the intruders are right, the world?
After Assault on VA-33 and Rogue Hostage, I was having second thoughts about Babysitter Must Die, It sounded way too much like Die Hard in a mansion and I didn’t need another shitty version of that classic. But then I thought if you traded cultists for white supremacists the plot sounded a lot like Becky, which was a lot of fun. So I decided to give it a shot. I wasn’t disappointed.
Director Kohl Glass (Dragonfyre, You May Now Kill the Bride) and co-writers Julie Auerbach (Stay Out of the F**king Attic) and Kevin Tavolaro (Ancient Aliens, Prophets of Science Fiction) get things off to an attention-grabbing start. The trio of home invaders, The Intruder (Nathan Stevens, S. Darko), The Woman (Melinda Yeaman), and The Brute (Nic Fitzgerald) force their way in, ruthlessly killing those who aren’t necessary for their plans. Josie, from her hiding place, sees all of this.
Armed and dressed in body armour and tactical gear the intruders look like the militia members we see on the news making them a relatable kind of scary. The strangely marked patches over their missing body parts and their cryptic phrases, apocalyptic talk, and willingness to use violence however make them scary on a whole different level. And that’s where Babysitter Must Die operates for much of it’s running time, in the space between the real-world threat of violent home invaders and a possible supernatural one.
With it’s low budget and small cast Babysitter Must Die has to lean on suspense rather than action and body count through the second act. And it does a fairly good job of that as Josie constantly finds herself inches away from being caught. Thankfully, with the film running a fast seventy-six minutes, this isn’t dragged out to the point of disbelief or repetitiveness like too many Die Hard clones do. Glass also uses this time to drop a couple of important plot points on us that help raise the stakes and the tension before the last half hour plays out a showdown that echoes everything from Home Alone to House of the Devil.
There is one escape that relies on a badly worn out cliché. And the pictures of the relevant merit badges that pop up as Josie performs various feats seem sorely out of place in what is otherwise a serious film. And not that I’m really complaining, but Babysitter Must Die also falls victim to the heroine must faceoff against the villains in a tight undershirt trope.
Shot in Utah, Babysitter Must Die has a cast who’s resumes are rather short and heavy on Mormon faith based films. Several of them in roles behind rather in front of the camera. Judging by their performances they were all having a blast letting loose and raising hell literally and figuratively. And, judging by the film’s mid-credits scene, there may be more hell left to raise. I could go for that.
Babysitter Must Die is available to stream via Blue Fox Entertainment who manage to get the plot wrong on their website. The plot given is for the drama My Zoe. You can check the production company’s Facebook page for more information.