The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
I might be one of the few that really didn’t mind the original upon its release in 2017. In fact, going back for a rewatch nearly a year after the fact made my admiration for McG’s silly, 80s inspired horror film skyrocket. Sadly my expectations for the sequel were quickly lowered when news broke that The Babysitter herself, Samara Weaving, wouldn’t be making an appearance, and the trailer, well, it didn’t improve my worries. Now due to spoilers, we won’t address the elephant in the room, but let's just say that this sequel is not one of those lucky sequels that manages to outdo the original.
If you watched the first The Babysitter and hated the 80s gimmick, Killer Queen takes everything from the original, duplicates it, and then does it repeatedly. Unlike the first which took place within the house of our lead Cole or in close proximity to it, this film takes place near a lake. Both being McG’s way of paying tribute in a minor way to horror classics Halloween (The Babysitter) and Friday the 13th in The Babysitter: Killer Queen setting. The action when it starts is incredibly over the top, even more so than the last and suffers from repetition, as we've seen these characters and their deaths before - it's just not as much fun the second time around.
The story follows Cole years after the events of the first film in a state where nobody believes him, and the girl who he thought loved him, Melanie, wants to get him away from all the noise. Taken on a boat getaway in the middle of the lake, Melanie and her friends start to play childish games, only for things to become more sinister when the demons return to finish the ritual. Without certain twists and turns, the film would be a carbon copy of the original just with a different setting and that's a very bad thing. If I wanted to watch the same movie again, I'd stick to the much more clever and original version. It's important to mention that McG does offer a last ditch effort to try to make the film a better experience, which does manage to raise some eyebrows, but as the film fades to black, it becomes obvious that a single scene cannot rectify a complete mess of a sequel.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
There's a decent mix of old and new characters taking part in another game of sacrificial tag. The old share the exact same attributes as the last time we saw them; Bella Thorne's Allison can't stop claiming she's "hot," and Robbie Amell's Max continues to run around without a shirt. If you disliked them before, that's certainly not going to change now. Judah Lewis reprising his role from the first as Cole was a nice touch, and he was genuinely the best part of the film, even though per usual, it's more of the same uncertain nature except now he's a junior in high school. Ken Marino and Chris Wylde return as the parents of Cole and Melanie but really just stay in the film for unsuccessful comic relief as they get high playing videogames. If you've seen the trailer then you know already about a brief appearance by a certain character, but if not just watch it and look forward to one of the only moments of success the film manages.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
This sequel is NOT one of those lucky sequels...
The effects are really really terrible, both practical and CGI. Everything from decapitated bodies to impalings to just the relentless blood splatter. That blood splatter stood out like a sore thumb; so much was used yet none felt realistic in the slightest. The film couldn't even get the setting right, as everything just felt so fictitious the entire way through, and while that can work in a house setting, somehow taking it into nature just doesn't have the same appeal.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020) | NETFLIX
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The score stands out as one of the best attributes the film has going for it. Reminiscent of classic 80s cheese, this very Running Man (1987) inspired score stole my heart and made me want to start a rewatch of all those classic action films of the mid to late 1980s.
The repetitive nature of other classic horror films like the Friday the 13th series are excused due to the intense and creative deaths of Jason's victims. Excusing the final ten minutes (which will remain spoiler free), this sequel is destined to be forgotten as we dive deeper into the occult and abolish everything that made the first one a fun ride.