The Babysitter: Killer Queen, the follow-up to Netflix’s 2017 sleeper hit—The Babysitter, brings almost every single element of the first movie in for a supposedly victory lap. Judah Lewis, portraying the protagonist, Cole, has naturally grown into a fully bloom teenager; so does Emily Alyn Lind (Doctor Sleep), who portrays his neighbor. The all-spectacular Samara Weaving does not get into immediate actions as the titular sinister babysitter, Bee; but her presence is felt throughout the movie—fuels the narrative and literally takes the steering wheel.
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McG returns in directorial duty while having significant writing credits alongside Brad Morris and Jimmy Warden as well as American Vandal‘s writer, Dan Lagana. The story takes place two years after the fateful event in the first movie where Cole survives a ridiculous satanic cult ritual led by his babysitter. The supernatural elements that hijack the predecessor’s third act take a real toll to Cole’s life. People barely believe his story; just like people won’t believe Sarah Connor in the second Terminator as he exclaims (such a nice shade, McG!). In fact, surviving a deadly night does not make him a tough guy to just survive high school.
The babysitter is virtually gone; but, the ritual returns. In a sudden twist of fate, Cole eventually finds himself amidst another chase by satanic cultists eager to sacrifice him. That’s where he teams up with Phoebe (Jenna Ortega from Jane the Virgin and You), a wicked new student who literally shrieks like a real scream queen on her first day of school. In recycling the same old highly-stereotyped, barely original formula, Killer Queen appears to be clumsy if not lazy. It feels as if McG only wants to translate the first Babysitter into an open-air desert setting in contrast to the home alone setting. In a shockingly redundant move, this sequel even brings back hilariously deceased characters—with the same casts including Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell, Andrew Bachelor, and Hannah Mae Lee—with exaggerated personalities. They’re coming back to screen for one and only obvious reason.
Grisly death. It’s the real treat from Killer Queen. As the slasher tropes in the first movie were highly regarded as being fresh and fun, McG feels the need to channel more energies into this department. The result is hilariously delightful even when every single death feels like blood-gushing overkill. Quite often the scarlet blood completes the movie’s oddly vibrant palette just right in time. All in all, the return of those character indeed serves the purpose.
And yet, the nasty bloodbath does not make up for the lack of almost everything in the plot. It’s even way thinner than the predecessor even when it suggests to be otherwise. Killer Queen takes a lot of time trying to retreading the successful ground and having a lot of fun slashing people open, but the plot barely moves and plants enough to eventually arrive at its mediocre third act. Surely some friendly reunion is a sight to sore eyes; but, the plot relies too much on sudden exposition to get to this point.
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Only if you’re not expecting it to be superior to the predecessor, The Babysitter: Killer Queen will actually seem entertaining. It’s not as fun; but it’s as raucous and sexy, by McG’s cishet male gaze standard.