The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020) Fizzles Where Its Previous Installment Shines
Title: The Babysitter: Killer Queen
First Wide Release: September 10, 2020 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Writer: Dan Lagana, Brad Morris, Jimmy Warden, McG, Brian Duffield
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Starring: Judah Lewis, Samara Weaving, Jenna Ortega
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Set two years after the events of the first film, The Babysitter: Killer Queen continues the story of Cole (Judah Lewis), who is adjusting to high school and trying to return to normalcy after surviving the exploits of a blood cult. The hard part is that no one believes him that it happened. In an attempt to signal that he is cured, Cole takes a spontaneous trip to a lake with his best friend and unrequited crush, Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind), who also survived the same night. The spark that made the first film special and fun is largely lost in this disappointing yet still passable slasher coming-of-age film.
What could have been an opportunity to build on the mythology of the first film is side-stepped in favor of regurgitating the first film with a higher body count. As soon as the characters make it to the lake, Killer Queen falls into the familiar formula that constructed much of its appeal just three years ago. This is typically fine, but none of the moments leading up to the reveals in the film make much sense. It’s awkwardly structured and riddled with plot holes that really make the viewer stop and think if the team behind Killer Queen thought about their premise beyond its pitch to Netflix. Furthermore, the dialogue is especially cringey. Scenes play more like ideas loosely strung together by a concept rather than a real narrative worthy of our attention.
The characters in The Baby takes some chances to differentiate itself from the first film but it doesn’t really stick the landing. I love the desert location. I am a sucker for desserts and lakes in horror films so combining the two is always a win for me. The team does a fine job of capturing the beauty of the dessert but some of the shots feel a bit overdone and artificial. One moment sees two characters fighting in a sort of video game-like filter that really feels unnecessary, as it wasn’t shot well. The score is also littered with pop music in an attempt to be light-hearted and retro but largely feels like pandering. I won’t deny that I enjoy it to a degree in a movie, but t feel earned or explained. Regardless, Killer Queen’s strength lies in its characters.
Artistically, Killer Queen takes some chances to differentiate itself from the first film but it doesn’t really stick the landing. I love the dessert location. I am a sucker for desserts and lakes in horror films so combining the two is always a win for me. The team does a fine job of capturing the beauty of the dessert but some of the shots feel a bit overdone and artificial. One moment sees two characters fighting in a sort of video game like filter that really feels unnecessary, as it wasn’t shot well. The score is also littered with pop music in an attempt to be light-hearted and retro but largely feels like pandering. I won’t deny that I enjoy it to a degree in a movie, but Killer Queen overdoes it.
More effort could have been made to make The Babysitter: Killer Queen a competently made film. This movie is edited to hell and back. Quick clips are added from the previous movies as well as some additional background information (which is fun for sure but mostly feels like padding the runtime) and extraneous footage that is added for metaphorical purposes. The effects range from decent to poorly done; which is disappointing considering they were operating on a much larger scale than in The Babysitter.
The magic is largely lost in The Babysitter: Killer Queen but it is still a good time. The sentimentality and absolutely wild kill sequences are present but the large removal of the dynamic between Weaving and Lewis casts a huge shadow on the film rendering it hollow and uninteresting. Furthermore, the film suffers greatly from pacing issues. The subplot involving two character’s dads driving to pick them up from the lake could have been axed. McG also makes some really interesting choices to tell his story. The excessiveness of movie and music quotes, the previously mentioned video game fight sequence, and a montage of rockets all fit this bill.
While a flawed film for many reasons, my biggest issue with Killer Queen is Cole’s mischaracterization. Cole is a completely different character at the beginning of the second film than he is at the end of the first. He lost his newly gained confidence and courage only to mope around like some reject from The Dead Poet Society. Backtracking to that degree hurts as a fan of Cole’s character arc in The Babysitter. Instead of seeing where Cole’s character could go moving forward, we are subjected to seeing Cole live through the same storyline again. Boring!
The Babysitter is one of my favorite films of 2017, so a lot of this review is negative. Much of that is because of my love for the first. Overall, I found myself engaged and entertained even though I know that Killer Queen is an inferior offering compared to the first. Level your expectations before going in that it will not be on the same level and it shouldn’t disappoint too much. McG says he would love to make it a trilogy and I will gladly endorse it if loose ends are wrapped up and the characterization is explained better.
Overall Score? 6/10