THE NIGHT SITTER *** USA 2018 Dirs: Abiel Bruhn, John Rocco. 88 mins
This neon-lit, synth-fuelled, dark comedy tells the story of a young boy, his ghost-hunting father, and his new babysitter. Kevin (Jack Champion), is a reclusive, quiet kid whose father (Joe Walz) is leaving him with “Amber” (Elyse Dufour) while he goes on his first date after the death of his wife.
But not everything is as it seems (obviously).
“Amber” isn’t Amber at all, but a con artist who plans on robbing the house with some friends. Kevin is being haunted by three witchy entities, and his father admits to being a ghost hunter who’s never experienced a paranormal event. Uh oh. And as Amber’s friends arrive at the house, all hell breaks loose when Kevin inadvertently releases the damned souls of three witches from an evil book in his father’s study.
This film is full of horror tropes, but that’s because it’s a love letter to classic horror flicks of the 70s and 80s. From the “conveniently a witch expert” neighbour (played by a perfectly hapless Ben Barlow), to the “evil red door” and the “this isn’t really the end” ending, the charm this movie possesses manages to make common tropes feel more like in-jokes for horror nerds.
And although a lot of the scares fall flat, Dufour is a treat to watch. Her character’s genuine connection to Kevin and chemistry with her castmates—along with the bloody practical effects and vibrant lighting—makes THE NIGHT SITTER a fun-to-watch, gory ride.
Review by Julia Lynch