July 31, 2019 The Night Sitter (Movie Review)
What evil lurks in the heart of one suburban basement? Well, friends, tonight we investigate some serious paranormal hijinks with The Night Sitter. Uncork’d Entertainment deliver the brand new Horror-Comedy to VOD and DVD on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019.
It’s Christmastime at a super swank home in the ‘burbs, and Amber (Elyse Dufour: Sleepy Hollow series, The Walking Dead series) has been called upon to babysit. Her charges for the evening are two boys, Kevin (Jack Champion: Message in a Bottle 2017, Avengers: Endgame 2019) and Ronnie (Bailey Campbell: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water 2015, Bleed 2016). You see, the former is the son of paranormal investigator Ted Hooper (Joe Walz: Parapsychology 101 2012, Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire 2019), with the genuine, unscripted nature of Zak Bagans, and the latter is the son of Ted’s love interest, Charlotte (Deanna Meske: Elsa & Fred 2014, Sunset Strip Crime short 2015). Oh, and did we mention that there’s a slight plot twist? Amber isn’t actually a babysitter: she’s a thief.
Needless to say, this is one robbery that is not going to go swiftly! Predictably, during a game of hide-and-seek, the kids decide to open up a forbidden door just as Amber is amassing her bumbling, crack squad—her wannabe boyfriend slash dork Martin (J. Benedict Larmore: The Breaking Point 2014, Haima 2016), thieving sidekick Rod (Jermaine Rivers: The Gifted series, MacGyver series), and his cat burglar girlfriend Lindsey (Amber Neukum: Burnt Offering 2018, Doom Patrol series). Toss in a nosy neighbor, Vincent (Ben Barlow: Hey Mister short 2017, Intolerant series), who just happens to be an expert in witchcraft, along with a paranormal threesome out of Salem, and you have the ingredients for one not-so-silent and rather deadly night.
Clocking in at 87 minutes, The Night Sitter was written and directed by the tag-team duo of Abiel Bruhn (A Not So Pleasant Surprise 2012, Push short 2017) and John Rocco (Just Say No short 2011, A Not So Pleasant Surprise 2012). It also features the acting talents of Manny Sandow (Delivery short 2016, Soldier’s Joy 2018), Luna Devika; Victoria Graham; Alyx Libby (Being Mary Jane series, Billions series), Scott Marche, and Jazmine Yurtin.
First thing’s first: the killer original score by Rob Himebaugh (Eaglewalk short 2012, City of Ticks short 2018) immediately issues thoughts of 1980s John Carpenter with its Moog synths that are guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. This sets the perfect mood for an amusing Horror romp that peppers itself with humor as it perfectly sculpts a tale that is satisfyingly light-hearted. In fact, if you were a fan of Netflix’s The Babysitter (2017), then you are likely to enjoy The Night Sitter as well.
Of course, much of the film’s entertainment value comes thanks to its wonderful cast, which is helmed by Dufour. You may call her character an anti-hero if you like, because Amber ultimately redeems herself as being, well, not the best babysitter, but decent enough when it counts. This is much in thanks to the fact that Dufour shares a wonderful on-screen chemistry with her younger co-star Champion, who is tasked with portraying the sweet Kevin. He is excellent at depicting the fragility of the young teen who has recently lost his mother and is suffering from nightmares, an artist who bleeds his emotional turmoil onto the pages of his art notebooks.
Ted is suitably unnerving, a man who lives and breaths being in the spotlight, and Walz perfectly captures this ‘on screen personality’ in his performance. Quite the opposite, the soft-spoken and awkward Vincent allows Barlow to present a lovable geek, one who is the antithesis of Larmore’s somewhat self-centered dweeb Martin. Campbell’s Ronnie is also meant to be unpleasant, and he is, while Rivers’ Rod has a bit of a Scream Queen hidden inside him. Meanwhile, Neukum’s Lindsey shifts between being perfectly creepy and chuckle-worthy, and the Three Mothers—portrayed by Sandow, Devika, and Graham—almost feel like extras from In This Moment’s extraordinary live show.
Visually, there’s a wonderful aesthetic to The Night Sitter that dips heavily into blues and greens, and utilizes lighting with an artistic finesse. This makes the film pleasing to the eye as it travels through its witty paranormal tale that, yes, has some gore. Although, despite the fact that there’s a scalping and one crushed skull, there’s actually not as much blood as one might expect.
In the realm of recent Horror Comedies, The Night Sitter falls somewhere between the previously mentioned The Babysitter and 2019’s Book of Shadows—though it does not share any plot details with the latter. With vibrant cinematography thanks to Scotty G. Field (A Not So Pleasant Surprise 2012, Where the Devil Dwells 2016) that anchors its aesthetically alluring display, a fun script and an excellent cast, The Night Sitter is guaranteed to deliver a jolly Saturday night of popcorn and thrills. For this, Cryptic Rock give The Night Sitter 4.5 of 5 stars. Oh, and don’t forget to check the babysitter’s references!