Saturday, 19 September 2020

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020) - Comedy Horror Film Review

2017's The Babysitter was such a gem to me. Often comedy horrors never seem to get the comedy aspect right for me, yet with its cast of interesting and eclectic characters I found it to be frequently laugh out loud with the funny script and silly moments of extreme horror. I was very excited then when I heard a sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen was due for release. This sequel features pretty much the entire cast of characters returning, and all the same actors reprising their roles. Also, McG (The Babysitter, Terminator: Salvation) returns to direct this. This is a sequel in every sense of the word, and it doesn't really try to stray too far from the formula of the first film. As such, if you didn't like that one then you really won't like this one.

It has been two years since the events of The Babysitter in which Cole (Judah Lewis) survived a night where his babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving) and her friends, John (Andrew Bachelor), Max (Robbie Amell), Allison (Bella Thorne), and Sonya (Hana Mae Lee) tried to kill him as part of a Satanic ritual. He is now at high school, and quite the loner. Despite all he went through there was no evidence any of what he experienced happened, with all the bodies mysteriously vanishing. As such he is seen as a nutcase by all except for his best friend, Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind). Even his parents think he imagined the whole incident. It is when he learns they intend to send him away to a special psychiatric school that Cole accepts an invite from Melanie to head away to the lake for a weekend of partying. However, his weekend plans are ruined with the sudden reemergence of the Satanic cult, returned from Hell, once again planning to use him as part of their ritual to achieve immortality. Cole teams up with new girl, Phoebe (Jenna Ortega - Insidious: Chapter 2) in order to survive to dawn, at which point the demented cult will be forced to return back to the afterlife.

I spent most the first act eagerly anticipating the arrival of the cult, and that scene really doesn't disappoint. I love the characters here and it was great to see much of the humour is just as literally laugh out loud as before. Amell's Max is the highlight once again, I think every single line he says in the film at least made me smile. Much like with the first movie it is just so funny how much Max likes Cole, despite doing his best to earnestly kill him. That character really gets all the best lines. Some of the bad guys got killed early on previously, so it was nice to see the actors get more time in their roles. This becomes fourth wall breaking at times, most seen with token black character John who comments that he was the first to die last time, but that he is glad to see changes in a post Jordan Peele world. This is the type of sequel where if you hadn't seen the first not much at all would really make sense. The film expects you to know these characters and what they have gone through. While there are brief flashback sequences using clips from The Babysitter they serve more as a gentle reminder than a way for new viewers to catch up.

The familiarity with everything is a double edged blade though. Killer Queen never tries to be its own film, instead it follows the well worn groove of what came before. As much as I enjoyed watching this and seeing what all the characters had been up to I couldn't shake the overly familiar feeling that this was just replaying the same events over again, just in a different location. The lakeside setting here just doesn't excite as much as the suburban setting from before, the shores and boats gave a dull feel with everything looking similar. As funny as this film was there were definitely more areas where jokes fell a little flat, a brief song and dance number, as well as a cheesy video game style fight sequence springs to mind, as well as a protracted montage of images suggesting intercourse (such as a train entering a tunnel, and a hotdog sausage being put in a bun) also was a bit naff. Being nearly the exact same story didn't help create much excitement. Then there are the special effects that seem to have gotten worse, or maybe more digital effects are used. Many of the over the top violent death scenes are slightly ruined by obvious digital imagery, taking the punch out of a few of what would be gruesome looking scenes.

If you enjoyed The Babysitter then I have no doubt in my mind that you will also like Killer Queen. As certain as I am saying that, I am also certain that no matter how much you like this sequel it just won't match the magic of that first film. Despite that this is hilarious, and nearly worth watching for Robbie Amell alone. It may have no surprises but this was a solid sequel that still worked quite well.


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