The Babysitter (2017)

I don’t know what I’m more shocked by, Netflix yet again delivering another quality movie or that I liked something directed by McG*

The Babysitter is a fun, fast and ferocious throwback to those classic 80s paranoid  horrors like The ‘Burbs And Fright Night. Scaredy-cat 12 year old Cole (Judah Lewis) is afraid of his own shadow. He gets bullied and is generally a huge wuss.  His Mum and Dad are going away for a dirty weekend leaving him home alone with the titular Babysitter, the impossibly beautiful Bee ( Ash vs. Evil Dead’s Samara Weaving). Cole quickly finds out what really happens when he’s asleep, that Bee is a devil worshipping, human-sacrificing cult leader. Bee and her friends murder a guy to take his blood, Cole rumbles them and all hell breaks loose. Will Bee and her cult sacrifice Cole or will he put up a fight? 

I laughed a lot during The Babysitter, way more than I expected to, most cast members getting at least one great zinger and not to mention the slapstick gore. The cast was chock full of great comedic actors too,  with Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell, Pitch Perfect’s scene stealing Hana Mae Lee and Andrew Bachelor as the cult and Ken Marino and Leslie Bibb as Cole’s parents.
 No jokes fell flat and not much time passed between jokes, striking a great balance between the comedy and horror. 

It’s great to see (what I assume)  is a low-ish budget genre film get such a good push from a service as big as Netflix. I suppose the best thing about their business model is that they don’t really need to worry about the ticket sales. If you subscribe, you get it anyway, letting them take more risks with films like this. Seeing how films like It Follows have gained a cult following because of Netflix and not to mention the juggernaut that is Stranger Things, I think the new wave of retro style horror is going to be about for a while yet. 

You will  have definitely seen films like this before, but I suppose that’s the attraction. The Babysitter is meant to be a throwback to those classics, the synthy score and moody fog and lighting is so evocative of so many older films. Is it derivative? Yeah to an extent. Is it distractingly so? No, not for me. I was happy guessing who would die next and how. I really did appreciate how much splatter and gore we got from McG and his team. 
If you subscribe to Netflix, I definitely think it’s worth a watch, funny, gory, tense and with a genuinely interesting premise, you could do a lot worse. 
The Babysitter is streaming on Netflix now. 

7/10

FOR FANS OF:

Home Alone

Jennifer’s Body 

The ‘Burbs

Fright Night

*I actually also liked This Means War. 

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Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 achieves the impossible. It’s a sequel to a film that never needed one, which manages not only to live up to its predecessor but in some ways improve on it.

Harrison Ford reprises his role as Deckard, with Ryan Gosling stepping into the lead role as new Blade Runner, K. Gosling is impressive as always and Ford manages his best performance since about 1997 or whenever it was Six Days, Seven Nights came out. Erstwhile Joker, Jared Leto puts in a solid turn as Niander Wallace, nefarious science guy, however the milky eyes and Japanese clothing showing Leto’s grasp of subtlety is still not quite there. The women in the film are all essentially plot devices, which I’m sure is a socio-politcal commentary on post apocalyptic sexism but just comes across as a bit lazy I suppose. That said, Robin Wright is bad ass, Mackenzie Davis is really good and Ana De Armas is INCREDIBLE as Joi. 

Cards on the table here. If you didn’t like Blade Runner, you’re not gonna like 2049. I was worried initially that a mega budget sequel to a niche movie (that initially flopped) would be a terrible idea. I love Blade Runner, the original, well the director’s cut. Or is that the Final Cut? Anyway. It’s a phenomenonal piece of work, but it’s the cinematic equivalent of a tone poem. It’s not a full of snappy dialogue or cool scenes. It’s sparse, dark and miserable and 2049 is exactly  the same but longer.  

Directed by Denis Villeneuve hot off the one-two punch of Sicario and Arrival, 2049 is an epic dystopian sci-fi tackling once again the themes of life, creation and death. I don’t think 2049 is as deep as it thinks it is, but it’s certainly a very good movie, especially complemented by Roger Deakins amazing cinematography. 

I’m going to completely avoid any story details, knowing as little as possible is definitely the best way to approach. Granted this makes it harder to explain why you should see the movie, but Blade Runner 2049 is an experience that shouldn’t be ruined. Especially for fans of the original, I can’t stress that enough. 

The score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch is well suited, big droning synths creating  powerful walls of sound, I’m disappointed in myself for not seeing it in IMAX, where I’m sure I’d have been obliterated by the sheer volume. There was another composer working on the film, Villeneuve’s regular collaborator Johann Johannson, who left because the director wanted something closer to Vangelis’ score from the first film. I’d be very interested in hearing the discarded score, fingers crossed for a John Murphy style bootleg  release down the line!

 I can’t really drag this out without ruining scenes, performances or Easter eggs. If you like Blade Runner, this is going to be your jam. If you don’t, well Kingsman 2 and IT are still out and they’re both great too. For me, Blade Runner 2049 is one of the best films of the year, something nostalgic yet blazing it’s own trail into the future. I’m excited for Blade Runner 2079 already.
9/10