[Review] 'The Babysitter: Killer Queen' is a Fun but Repetitive Sequel that Raids the Fridge for the Same Old Thing
I wish I had had a babysitter like Bee…
…You know, minus the Satan-worshipping, murdery part.
Played by Samara Weaving in 2017’s The Babysitter (one of her first big starring roles), Bee wasn’t your average, indifferent, screw off and do whatever you want while I watch TV and raid the fridge babysitter. Aside from the Satanism and wanting Cole’s (Judah Lewis) blood, she was sweet. Fun. Understanding. And she gave Cole the courage to stand up for himself. And while the new The Babysitter: Killer Queen doesn’t have Cole getting pep talks from Bee while she tries to murder him (something that's gravely missed), her words and overall presence still resonate all throughout.
McG is back in the director’s chair, with most of the cast from The Babysitter returning to reprise their roles in The Babysitter: Killer Queen, which once again follows Cole (again played by Lewis) a few years later. Only instead of a more confident, self-respecting Cole, we discover that all of the bodies from the night Bee and her friends went all sacrificial on him disappeared, and therefore no evidence was found, and no one, not even best friend neighbor crush Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind) believes him. But when Cole heads off with Melanie and her friends to get away from it all, his past comes back to haunt him.
Sequels are funny things.
When The Babysitter came out, it went by with hardly a glance from horror fans, many hating on it for McG’s overstylized tone and on the nose sense of humor, but I loved it, not just because it was a fun ride with buckets of blood, but because I was Cole when I was little. I was that kid that didn’t believe in himself, and I was that kid that wished for someone like Bee to tell me it was okay to be weird. Which is why The Babysitter 2: Killer Queen is so frustrating.
When we last left Cole, he was scoring with Melanie and crashing cars through houses. A few years later, and Cole isn’t dating Melanie, and is still incredibly awkward around her. He’s still afraid of the school nurse (Carl McDowell) and needles. And he’s still getting hit with volleyballs to the face in Gym class, followed by the resounding shout of “pussy” from some mouth-breathing jock. The only thing about Cole that has changed is that he now wears a three-piece corduroy suit to school (I didn’t even know they still made corduroy. What decade is this movie?), complete with the three same space pins he wore in the first film. Oh, and he still has space sheets, too. I'm not knocking it, simply pointing out Cole hasn't changed and let me down in every way. You were supposed to be a symbol of hope that we can strengthen our spirits, Cole!
This is a slap in the face way to begin, because it erases all of the work put into the first film, and makes it feel like none of that happened. In fact, most of Killer Queen is just a redux of The Babysitter, raiding the fridge for the same old themes and jokes, but with older and/or slightly different characters (very few of whom standout). Luckily, the overall cast is still great, as Lewish again delivers a tortured, cheer-worthy performance, Melanie is as charming as ever, and new punk girl that complicates things, Phoebe (Jenna Ortega) wins instant points for standing in front of her new class on the first day, lying that she’s pregnant and screaming in their faces. I love her and we will be best friends.
Killer Queen falls into the trap that most sequels do, retreading water where it doesn’t need to while adding nothing new to the lore of the story outside of one or two fun characters. Cole is living the same experience and facing (mostly) the same villains, though this time as slightly tougher, stuck in limbo spirits. The whole thing has a repetitive edge to it that threatens pushing the viewer over the ledge with one reference/callback too many.
Still, if you liked The Babysitter, then you’re going to have a blast with Killer Queen, because it’s bigger and, er, bigger in every way possible. A bigger body count. More insane kills with so much blood you can picture the effects crew off-screen just chucking buckets of the stuff at the cast. And there’s even a dash more of Satanism! McG is out of control with the style in this one, which is guaranteed to turn off viewers who were uneasy about it during the first outing, going off the rails so much as to include a fight scene done in a slowed down, Mortal Kombat style. Say this at least, there’s no lack of frenetic energy with Killer Queen. This film has the same slasher film on cocaine dipped in ADD millennials sauce tone as The Babysitter, but with more applause-worthy kills and so many surprises that it becomes clear no one in this film is safe, not even Bella Thorne’s boobs (again).
Whether those surprises work is another story.
Killer Queen asks a lot of its audience while also looking a bit down on them. It consistently asks the viewer to accept major coincidences and make extraordinary leaps of logic that keep it from being the first Babysitter film you’ll want to call. Worse yet, Killer Queen commits the killer horror movie sin of providing too much backstory and humanizing the villains so deeply that their very power is taken away. I won’t say who, but there are a few characters in Killer Queen who were much better off being left the way they were in The Babysitter. A lot of the reveals in the film leave you scratching your head instead of dropping your jaw in wonder.
Killer Queen insults the audiences intelligence in its structural laziness, but nevertheless, it’s a hellraising sequel that never stops having a good time. The plot is repetitive, the joke about Melanie’s dad caring more about his car than her gets real old real fast, and you’ll get a migraine trying to reason with why Killer Queen decided to burn down what The Babysitter built, but it’s still a hugely entertaining and deadly party, with a message that resonates here just as much as it did the first time: Don’t beat yourself up for being who you are. Embrace it. The same way that Killer Queen embraces the messy but goofy gorefest it is with Hana Mae Lee cackling as she holds a flamethrower.
Oh, and Max (Robbie Amell) is still the most endearing, evil shirtless jock around.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen is now available on Netflix.
By Matt Konopka
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