And I do mean horrible. Even though there are bad sequels, none that I have seen tarnished the original as badly as this one, but we’ll get to that.
Cole has a massive crush on his babysitter he still has despite being way too old. Cole is a victim of bullying and seems to be an easy target due to his cowardly way of living his life. One night, when his parents are away, and Cole is spending time with Bee, the babysitter, Bee tries to drug Cole so that she and her friends can murder a guy (which they do) and use Cole’s blood for their nefarious purposes. Cole doesn’t play along and a pursuit, where Cole ends up killing a lot of people, ensues.
I like the cult. Mostly. It doesn’t really feel realistic, but going for realistic isn’t good either. These are ambitious (in their own ways) people, who are on the top of the food chain in various ways in their high school. In reality, they would mostly be submissive personalities, who are kept on a leash by a charismatic leader. We have the Queen Bee in Bee, and we have a cheerleader, jock, goth chick and the mandatory black character, who is basically a collection of gay signifiers (this last one is far from woke).
They are all memorable and are surprisingly well fleshed-out, if completely exaggerated. In this sense the movie has almost a Die Hard feeling: It happens in an enclosed space and each of the cult members is pretty much like a miniboss, who Cole has to fight. Well, the black guy dies early on, but besides him. I truly hope the movie was self-aware about this, but I’m not sure. Am I forgetting something? I didn’t make notes during the film.
What’s with the fixation on babysitters? Better Watch Out came out just a year earlier (and I’ve already covered it). From what I’ve heard, there’s plenty of porn where the father has sex with the babysitter (don’t spoil this one for me, I’m only about halfway through PornHub). Both of these do also seem to enforce the idea that this relationship is dangerous. Is this some sort of American upper-class experience? I never had a babysitter as such. At times some adult relative would watch over us, but that didn’t happen very often and once I was old enough, I would be put in charge of my siblings. I do get that if you spend a lot of time with a friendly older girl for extended amounts time during your childhood, you will probably grow some feelings for her. While this is perfectly healthy, there is probably also some lingering resentment.
Then there’s the other side: Parents who use babysitters have to trust this person. In these movies they are friends of the family, but evne then dynamics between underaged people might not always be well-balanced. A good horror movie does play into existing fears and this could very well be one. I have a feeling that kids today have a lot less freedom than I did back in my childhood, because media has perpetuated certain myths and overplayed certain facts. Fearing for our (and since I don’t have children myself, I mean ours as those of all of us) children is natural, but there has also been a huge wave of fear-mongering.
There’s also a weird comment on sexuality. Rape is seen as much worse than murder in movies (and probably because of this also in often in society at large), so when at one point Cole accidentally touches the breast of one of the cult members, who just happens to be trying to murder him, which leads her to admonish for it. This is funny, but I would like to know what the movie maker were thinking here. Are they commenting on movies or reality?
On the sequel: While the original is a fun movie, the sequel just butchers everything about this world. They couldn’t do it without Samara Weaving (Bee), so despite dying in the first one, she is brought back and the situation is subverted. Melanie, Cole’s friend from the first movie, is now the bad guy and Bee only did what she did to protect her baby sister. What? She actually did murder someone in the first movie and that’s just brushed aside, because she wasn’t really interested in killing Cole? Fuck you, McG. What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Sure, Weaving is now much better known than she was just a couple of years ago, but that deosn’t make this stupid twist good in any way.
While that’s still sort of okay (but not really), the fact that Melanie, who actually helped Cole out in the first movie, is now suddenly a cult leader, just feels forced. They felt they needed someone to betray Cole, so they this is what they came up with. It’s just embarrassing. Someone actually got paid for this and was probably paid well. Netflix really should keep some tabs on who they are throwing their money at. Or don’t just let someone who’s been directing and producing movies for decades just take over the writing as well, because based on this it just doesn’t work.