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Thursday, October 15, 2020

[Review] Netflix’s ‘A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting’ Offers Light Halloween Fantasy Horror

The title alone indicates whether this Netflix original will appeal to your tastes; it aptly describes all you need to know about the film. In a world where monsters exist and seek to steal children, it’s up to a secret organization of babysitters to stop them. Set around Halloween, A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting offers a lighthearted, breezy family-friendly fantasy horror movie aimed toward a much younger audience.

Based on the first installment of Joe Ballarini‘s popular scary book series of the same name, the story follows high school freshman Kelly Ferguson (Tamara Smart). Kelly is a socially awkward, yet a whip-smart student who reluctantly agrees to babysit Jacob Zellman (Ian Ho) on Halloween. She finds that Jacob refuses to fall asleep, doing whatever he can to stay awake and avoid the monsters he insists are waiting for him in the dark. To her horror, she discovers he’s telling the truth, and that there’s an international secret society of babysitters tasked with protecting kids from monsters. When he’s taken by the boogeyman known as the Grand Guignol (Tom Felton), Kelly’s in over her head. She teams with no-nonsense chapter Vice President Liz Lerue (Oona Laurence), tech genius Berna Vincent (Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson), creature expert Cassie Zhen (Lynn Masako Cheng), and potions master Curtis Critter (Ty Consiglio) to get him back before his mother knows he’s missing.

Directed by Rachel Talalay (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare), and adapted for the screen by Ballarini, A Babysitter’s Guide zips right along, maintaining an energetic and propulsive flow. There’s a lot of introductory ground to cover, from Kelly’s high school life to the world of monsters and its young enforcers looking to keep children safe from their clutches. With a colorful visual aesthetic to match, Talalay emphasizes the fantastical. The villains, and their corresponding set pieces, are larger than life. So, too, are the performances. It’s a loud, neon world full of baby-snatching monsters, and the theatrics ensure the tone is fun over scary. Even the human world is over the top- a late act scene at a high school Halloween house party features unending fireworks, as just one small example of the excess. Again, it’s all spooky fun to lure its preteen audience.

As the budding heroine, Smart’s Kelly serves as audience proxy as Liz shows her the ropes and rules of monster hunting. Kelly’s hesitant partnership with the abrasive, take charge society leader offers an odd couple of sorts that seeks to provide growth and poignancy as these opposites learn from each other throughout the narrative. Both leads make strong role models for young girls. The precise type of pure media full of life lessons you’d want for the kiddies. 

Will adults and seasoned horror fans enjoy this irreverent romp with monsters? Probably not, but it’s not created with them in mind. A Babysitter’s Guide was made solely with the young girl in mind. It’s an introductory film into this monster-filled universe, but Talalay and Ballarini make sure to focus on a self-contained story that only teases continuation. It’s simple, breezy, and theatrical. The world-building through neon glow, creature design, and impressive set pieces gives an epic, visually engaging quality to a simple tale. There’s nothing groundbreaking or new here; just your standard Hero’s Journey narrative for girls. That’s okay. It’s silly and wholesome entertainment perfect for the Halloween season, only with a very specific audience in mind.

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting releases on Netflix on October 15, 2020.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3636590/review-netflixs-a-babysitters-guide-to-monster-hunting-offers-light-family-halloween-fantasy-horror/

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