Saturday, June 20, 2020

I Got The Babysitting Blues: Babysitter's Nightmare (2018)

Babysitter's Nightmare (2018) (AKA "A Stranger Outside")
Rating: ***
Starring: Brittany Underwood, Jet Jurgensmeyer, Shanica Knowles 

From the writer of throwback slashers Severed Lives (2006), Bloody Homecoming (2013) and Varsity Blood (2014) Jake Helgren comes this yet another lookie-look back at fun and simple TV slashers on old!

Recently fired as a nurse at the wake of a child patient's death, Daphne Hart (Brittany Underwood) carries much of the guilt over the boy's passing despite the fact that her superior was the one who grossly neglected the patient. Her colleague boyfriend Jeremy (Mark Grossman) fails to comfort and defend her from the blame, leading to Daphne breaking up with him as she cannot deal with anymore of ineptness in her life. 

Fortunately, Daphne still has her sunny bestfriend and (now former) co-worker Kaci Washington (Shanica Knowles) giving her a shoulder to cry on and a helping hand when she got our hapless heroine a babysitting gig for the Andrews, a wealthy neighboring family in need of somebody to watch after their diabetic son Toby (Jet Jurgensmeyer) while they fly over to a funeral. Reluctant at first, Daphne eventually agrees to do the babysitting job, grateful that the Andrews sympathize with her and are willing to trust her their boy's life.

Problems arise, however, when news of a local babysitter was found murdered and suspicious individuals start showing up around the Andrews residence, from a creepy pizza delivery guy to a more distraught Jeremy looking to fix their relationship desperately. It isn't long before somebody in a hood and wielding a knife breaks into the house and Daphne will have no choice but to fight back to save her ward.

A babysitter slasher flick isn't exactly new in this day and age, not with Halloween (1978)'s Michael Myers stalking Jamie Lee Curtis' babysitting Laurie Strode, or creepy stalking phoning babysitters in all versions of When A Stranger Calls. Babysitter's Nightmare adds itself in this line of terrorized child-watching gig with admittedly tame horror exploits, but makes up for it with a range of decent acting, character driven plotting and a nice reveal that does add up. 

The main meat of the film focuses greatly on Underwood's portrayal of her Daphne character, a sympathetic protagonist dealing with remorse but staying strong enough to be a likable heroine healthily bonding with her ward. Granted she may have one or two things that normally end up killing horny teenagers in a bolder slasher flick, but her outlook within the home invasion last act was kept smart and determined, thus her barely doing anything dumb or annoying to stray us from rooting for her in the entire run. Add the fact that the friends she's surrounded with are equally entertaining for their sass, may it be Jurgensmeyer's geeky kid charm or Knowles' feisty charisma, and you have a strong main cast that's one reason enough to see this TV teen horror fix.

In terms of the thriller and horror elements of the Babysitter's Nightmare, it's pretty basic; there are red herrings dropping in and out who are too obvious to be anything else, the kills are minimal and barely bloody and it gets a tad obvious who the killer is by the time they're inside the house judging from the attacker's figure and an early conversation that doubles as a reveal made too soon. Nevertheless, it ties the events fairly enough and the movie still has the good heart to give us a thrilling cat-and-mouse sequence within the sizable posh house, working in some atmosphere and cinematography that definitely sets an isolated tone.

Certainly a back-to-basics slasher movie for the small screen, Babysitter's Nightmare (2018) isn't winning anything for originality, but its working tone and root-worthy characters may worth your time should ever this title shows up on your cable line-up. It's cheap thrills and I love it!

1 female smothered with a plastic bag
1 boy mentioned dead from hospital complications
1 male strangled with a stethoscope
1 female forced to a bottle shard, head stabbed
1 female stabbed in the temple with a syringe, dies from injected air bubble
Total: 5

No comments:

Post a Comment