The dead (jokes) don’t stay dead on Netflix’s newest horror-comedy sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen. Just like its predecessor – The Babysitter (2017) – there’s plenty of blood, guts, gore, and retro movie references to satiate your hunger. By no means is this campy B-horror sequel a serious and provocative flick. The Babysitter: Killer Queen knows exactly what type of movie they’re making and the inspirations they’re leveraging for their slasher tropes. Returning to helm the sequel, McG (Supernatural series, Rim of The World) infused plenty of the same self-aware campiness and brainless fun that made the original movie a bloody good time. In this case, however, those retreads were hit and reused repeatedly but in a weaker story.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen takes place two years after the events of the first film, with all the cast returning to fill their roles. Cole (played by Judah Lewis), now a high school junior, is socially outcasted by his school and family because no one believes his story about his missing demonic babysitter (Bee, played by Samara Weaving) and her murderous friends. When his parents hit a wall in his “recovery,” Cole decides to ditch school for a weekend of booze, cruise, and possibilities with his best friend and crush, Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind). Unfortunately for Cole, Bee’s friends return from Hell with a bloodthirsty vengeance to finish their demonic ritual once and for all.
As a sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen matched the stylistic essence of the original film, which is a major positive for both entries. The movie sets itself apart by not falling into a cookie-cutter format of a teen horror movie; geeky surprises, film references, and slasher tropes appeared periodically to craft the tongue in cheek demon story. The strengths are those fourth wall reactions, the slow background pacing whenever Cole and Melanie share a tender moment, and the quippy one-liners that make you want to roll your eyes. Together, they heighten the cheesy nature of the film and embrace what makes it off-beat. Thankfully, The Babysitter: Killer Queen brought in more of those touches, like the individual backstory segments for Bee’s friends, to showcase more of what worked.
And if you’re the type of movie-goer who loves bloody action, this sequel has loads of it in buckets. The Babysitter: Killer Queen is bloodier, gorier, and… stupider. People die in outlandish ways that break any sense of believability, and when they do die, there’s usually heaps of blood or fire erupting in a mass of chaos. Once you’ve seen one head explode in a bloody mess, you’re less surprised by the next time. This sequel goes for the big thrills and delivers a large body count along the way, regardless if the characters are developed or not. This is a body count slasher with plenty of fodder.
Speaking of the characters, the cast does a decent job of embodying the limited traits of their archetypes. Not much has changed from the first film: the four main baddies stick to their high-level descriptions. Bloodthirsty and shirtless Max (Robbie Amell) still hungers to kill for no reason, shallow Allison (Bella Thorne) cares more about herself/her boobs/her looks, devious Sonya (Hana Mae Lee) is mysterious, and John (Andrew Bachelor) is still the comic relief. Even with the inclusion of their history with Bee, the characters stall in their overall growth. The same can be said about the parents; they’re either a mix of clueless, frustrated, or reckless. It’s better to watch The Babysitter in advance of the sequel because you’re getting only half of the story and development here.
The more-defined character developments come from the main trinity: Cole, Melanie, and new girl Phoebe (Jenna Ortega). As viewers, we experience the world through Cole’s eyes and his level of discomfort being treated as an outcast for the last two years. Cole doesn’t fit in or know how to react, and The Babysitter: Killer Queen does a good job of highlighting his journey to overcome the evil of his past. Phoebe steps into the “cool girl/badass” energy that Bee previously harnessed, and Melanie transforms narratively in a sharp turn from her portrayal in the first film. The three work well together, albeit not as strong as the Cole/Bee friendship.
Part of the problem with The Babysitter: Killer Queen is that it’s missing that strong bond between the main hero and the main villain. In The Babysitter, Cole had a deep bond with Bee that balanced both idolizing and crushing on his babysitter. Here, the sequel tries to supplement that with two bonds in Phoebe and Melanie, but it doesn’t ever quite match that “epic” quality with Bee. Firstly, Phoebe is the new girl, so all Cole has are assumptions and new discoveries through the adventure. Melanie, on the other hand, is Cole’s best friend and childhood crush, but the switch in her personality doesn’t match to what we previously know about her. Melanie’s reasoning for betraying her friend isn’t set-up as a strong narrative. Bee only needed to use Cole without harming him, but Melanie would’ve willingly hurt him. The levels of their bonds weren’t the same.
Melanie’s motivation also leads to the movie’s biggest flaw: its plot (and particularly, its ending). What works for The Babysitter is its simplistic story about Cole surviving against five people making a deal with the Devil. Here, The Babysitter: Killer Queen crafts a story that retreads previous plots and tries to connect everything together in a nice bow. The problem, however, is that the plot doesn’t given the characters justice … or make much sense when you put the pieces together. For example, Melanie’s reason for betraying Cole is to become an influencer and the film treats it as an insignificant plot point, even though these two are supposed to be long-lasting best friends. A quick throwaway line didn’t match the history of these characters (and comparatively, Jill from Scream 4 seemed more determined to achieve this reality than Melanie).
And without giving any spoilers away, the ending connects many reveals that are too coincidental. There are plot holes that only work because assumptions are proven accurate and guesses line up a certain way. The Babysitter: Killer Queen treats the ending with the simplest of explanations and expects the audience to not question it at all. The pieces don’t create a seamless answer; it’s a strange loop and nagging questions that get a tender, half-hearted explanation.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen is a bloody good time, but it fails to meet the heights of its predecessor. Explosive action, gory deaths, and cheeky quips keep you hooked with the thrills from this campy B-horror flick. The characters are outlandish and fun, but they mostly serve as one-note; you’re not going to get much depth in their actions. The plot retreads many elements from the first film and it doesn’t offer anything new to the horror genre or the series. The Babysitter: Killer Queen doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s having a good time embracing its own craziness. But, if you’re expecting anything more from this sequel, you might be let down.