It’s a weird thing to see bigger creators and studios make a movie that’s intentionally offbeat. B-movies are a complicated art form, relying somewhat on their unpolished charm and getting by on passion rather than the big Hollywood machine. When Netflix released The Babysitter three years ago, it was a rare occasion where making a movie intentionally “cult” worked fairly well. It was many horror fans’ first exposure to the infectious Samara Weaving, playing the titular babysitter Bee with energy, panache, and wit fitting of this somewhat meta-horror film.
It is a shame that this second go-round is, as the old song goes, a little bit louder and a whole lot worse. Killer Queen does very little new with the film, even bringing back the old cult members in a frankly lazy fashion. Points for realizing that it was Samara Weaving’s performance that made the original what it was, but did we need her and her less funny cronies to come back for round two? The humor in the first film was incessant at times, but generally was solid, but here, the references and gags are crowbarred in like the worst kind of line-o-rama. While it turns out that many of these lines were improvised, per director McG’s wishes, there are a good few of the jokes that could have been left at the altar.
What this movie does well, and there isn’t that much, are the kills. The gore is comically over the top, nodding back behind it to Evil Dead 2 with unintentional geysers of blood. The plotline isn’t terribly original, but the kills certainly are, with unconventional and brutal deaths coming by way of surfboards, antler chandeliers, and even silly string. Just trust me on the last one. If you’re looking for unique and gruesome finishers and are tired of Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate, these deaths might be for you.
What wasn’t for me was basically everything else. This was a damn upsetting movie, if only because of how many gags just don’t land. In interviews, McG has said that the film is something of a mixtape of all of his favorite things, hence why some characters have a love of the movie Deliverance, reference the Rob Reiner classic The Sure Thing, and other dated references. There is money to be made on nostalgia, sure, but when it’s coming in a piece that is geared towards teens and young adults, that may not be the greatest creative liberty to take. At least they took the easy route and referenced the Queen song that shares its name with the title during the film’s conclusion, but that’s a cheap pop if ever I’ve heard one, because Queen.
Even with all of the gore, the film is a chore to watch, and when it’s being marketed as a horror-comedy, that’s not something that should be said about your movie. The first time around using interstitials and cutaway gags, it’s cheeky. The second time around, making many of the same jokes and even trying to be Scream a little too hard, it’s annoying. And given how much I genuinely enjoyed the original film, that’s disappointing, and therefore is not something I can recommend for filling one’s dumb fun quota.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen is streaming now exclusively on Netflix.