Babysitter Wanted is the rare find in horror cinema. It's that one title that you keep skipping over because of the blatantly cliche DVD box cover. Finally, when nothing else is in...you bring the film home. You pop it into your DVD player and...you are treated to a film that rewards you on almost every level. Ti West had a film last year called The House of the Devil. This film does everything right that West's efforts could not accomplish. And I loved The House of the Devil.
The premise is identical to West's here. Girl goes off to college. Girl is annoyed by inconsiderate prick of a roommate. Girl finds a babysitting job to help pay for a nicer place. Girl ends up turning tricks in order to support her meth habit then ends up on a meat hook. Oh....did I give too much away?? No, I didn't...part of that sentence was not true. You really have to watch the film for yourself to soak it all in. Trust me when I tell you that you won't see it coming. I mean...you might get a few things...but, Babysitter Wanted breathes in fresh air into the whole babysitter in peril genre.
Much like Jocelin Donahue's performance in The House of the Devil, Sarah Thompson brings an aura of innocence to the role of Angie, the religious college student who's just looking for a few bucks to get away from her pothead douchenut roommate. Funny how both movies used the same "pristine girl thrown into the Devil's clutches" premise...yet, it really works here.
Directors Jonas Barnes and Michael Manasseri do a fine job of crafting just the right levels of tension that worked so well in films like The Strangers and High Tension in order to set up the many left-field plot twists that are thrown your way. Had it not been for the gratuitous use of the sound effects (i.e. cranking the music up super loud when a fuckin' curtain is pulled back only to reveal.....absolutely nothing sigfuckinificant! I'm not kidding...they do this like 20 times!) I would've mentioned that this would be a perfect study on the use of tension in film. However, that honor still belongs to Mr. West which he displays in a much more subtle manner in the often-mentioned-in-this-review The House of the Devil.
Bruce Thomas does his best to not remind you that he is eerily similar to Mr. Bruce Campbell. So much so, that he actually played a mini-Ash in Army of Darkness. He does good work here as the father to the kid that needs babysitting. In fact...he wins father of the year in cinema as far as I'm concerned. These days it's hard to find such devoted parents...hats off to this mom and dad couple for going the distance to ensure their child's well being.
I suppose this is the part where I tell you to go watch this film because it is definitely one of the better horror films you will see all year. And if you don't run out to your local red box or queue it on your Netflix account or rent it at your local DVD corner store that primarily rents out adult films just to turn a buck...you will no doubt be missing out on a unique interpretation of an often used corner of the horror genre. Well...maybe I don't wanna tell you all of that. Maybe I just have all the faith in the world that you are an intelligent grown individual who happens to enjoy good cinema. Maybe I'll just leave it to you to find this little gem somewhere so I can get back to my Carmen Elektra pole dancing class.
Babysitter Wanted is a good little gory film that would make a great kick-off to the upcoming Halloween season. It's one of those date night films that you will glean enjoyment out of long after the credits role. It's everything that I wanted The House of the Devil to be. You will like Babysitter Wanted...I promise. If you don't then I am clearly wasting my time with you and I will personally give you my Punisher: War Journal #1 in near-mint condition as a consolation.
The House of the De----I mean..Babysitter Wanted gets a solid 9.4 out of 10 for pure horror movie fun.
Thanks for reading,