The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020) Cover

The Babysitter: Killer Queen is the newly released sequel to the 2017 Netflix horror-comedy sensation The Babysitter, starring Samara Weaving. Director McG returns, with nearly all of the original cast in tow, with a more well-rounded and polished second film to the series' predecessor. Whereas the original mostly glided on the considerable chops and charms of Samara Weaving, Killer Queen infuses its otherwise pale 80s imitative template with a little bit more personality, even though the film still struggles with a lot of the same issues that ailed the first movie. While both movies are still wildly uneven and lazy in many regards, this second installment is noticably and comparably more energetic and sharp, but only to an expectedly lightweight Netflix-fare standard. Yet, the breeziness, indulgent comical gore, and one-off moments of landing irreverence make it an unexpectedly gleeful streaming watch, even though it's unlikely to have any staying power whatsoever once the credits roll. Fans of the original film will find plenty to cherish here, and even new converts should find a suitably diverting 100-minute choice that should fill the void of escapist dumb horror. For all of its often irritating weaknesses and flaws, The Babysitter: Killer Queen continues the original film's story with surprisingly good spirit and charm.

Judah Lewis Cole returns as Cole, who is now facing the troubles of high school since the events of the last film, but the miserable experience of eleventh grade is only compounded by the fact that nobody seems to believe what happened to him in the first movie actually happened (including parents, played by return cast members Ken Marino and Leslie Bibb). The only one who seems to believe in his story is Melanie (played also by return cast member Emily Alyn Lind), who convinces him to escape it all and join her friends on a trip to the lake. Yet, just when Cole thinks he has outrun his past, a new story of cults and revenge is unleashed. Ultimately, there isn't much scope for a lot of brilliant performative work for any of the performers here, but the entire ensemble cast does a good job of making the outrageous situations of this movie feel convincing enough. Having a small returning cast also ensures that many of the interesting character dynamics stay intact, and even new performers like Jenna Ortega and Juliocesar Chavez fit in nicely within the narrative folds. There are a good number of comical scene-stealers here worth mentioning though, including a very funny duo of Ken Marino and Chris Wylde.

Much like the first movie, The Babysitter: Killer Queen struggles with ever feeling like a consistent film. Whereas like-minded horror-comedies like Zombieland are able to match their escapist nonsense with genuine heart, craft, and wit, this franchise regularly displays none of those. The humor doesn't always land, the narrative often feels scattershot, and the whole thing feels a bit shoddily done, but nonetheless Killer Queen's creative parts do ultimately outweigh its underwhelming whole. The movie never quite finds its footing as a truly subversive horror-comedy, but it displays just enough traces of potential in its building blocks to make for a passably entertaining streaming feature. The indulgently enjoyable, over-the-top quality of Killer Queen keeps it from sinking, and McG puts in just enough cleverness in key moments to keep it from feeling like a "so-bad-it's-good" film either. It's unfortunate that this movie couldn't be better, however, and it eludes me as to why both movies in the series so quickly succumb to laziness and lowball humor as a safety net. The Babysitter: Killer Queen makes for an amusing and entertaining sequel, but if a third installment finally does make its way, this series should realize that it can go beyond the overt dumbness that it seems to hold on to so dearly; there's room for more wit and creativity in both this movie and future installments. 

Final Verdict:The Babysitter: Killer Queen is a passably entertaining horror-comedy that improves upon its predecessor but never quite extrapolates the wit and creativity that appears to be loaded in its premise.