Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Fresh outta high school, young Angie (Sarah Thompson) is making the long trip from her humble home in Bakersfield to heaven knows where so she can attend community college. Initially I thought it was strange that someone would leave one city for another city to go to community college of all things, as a character in this movie would ask Angie, but this school has a superior ‘Art History Program’. While a community college with a dedicated program in art history does seem odd, a little research indicates that such things do exist in the world. Why just down the street from where I write this drivel our community college has a world renown culinary arts program. Crazy huh? Anyway Angie’s a good girl, a devout Christian who says her prayers every night which makes her life with her new pot smoking, pre-marital sex having roommate a bit of challenge, particularly since the roommate sold her bed for crack or something. I might’ve made that part up. Needing money bad, Angie pulls down a tear-off on the bulletin board looking for a babysitter and this is when Angie’s fun day in this movie ‘Babysitter Wanted’ just gets started.

Well say hello to the Stanton’s Jim (Bruce Thomas) and Violet (Kristen Dalton). They are just about perfect these two… which is almost a guarantee that they are not. Angie makes the long trip to their out of the way farm house… this is sounding worse… to interview and meet the Stanton’s young son Sam (Kai Caster). Sam doesn’t say much but other than the fact that he wears this weird cowboy getup 24-7 and has a very unique and special diet, he seems like and all right kid.

Not surprisingly our good girl gets the gig and the Stanton’s are out at some cow convention or something while Angie relaxes with the boy safely sleeping away in the big creaky house. Then the phone calls start. Chances are it’s the weird guy in black who seems to be staking Angie but why? She ain’t done nothing to nobody as far as I know. Nonetheless, sure enough somebody seems to have it in for poor Angie as she is forced to spend the majority of this movie running from this guy, securing the safety of the little boy and saving her own life since this weirdo is trying to kill her. Or is he?

Surprisingly effective would be my quick summation of ‘Babysitter Wanted’. The movie starts out in very familiar territory with such staples as an innocent girl, a freaky guy following her, and an immense over reliance on mood music but as the movie plays on, despite the fact it never really leaves familiar town, it just draws you in its story.

One of the simple reasons for this minor miracle is that directors Jonas Barnes and Michael Manesseri are more than skilled enough to tell an effective story, which I think most of us who watch these kinds of movies sadly realize that this isn’t all that easy to do. So the question of course is how did this little movie manage to be so damn effective while other fail?  Heck, I don’t know. If I knew the answer to that complex question I’d go ahead and try to make a movie my own damn self. Alas, I get paid top dollar… not really… to contemplate these things so here you go…

For starters ‘Babysitter Wanted’ has Nana Visitor amongst its cast. Nana Visitor is all kinds of degrees of awesome so having her in your movie can only make your movie that much better. Also, in addition to the normal things that make a movie watchable such as good acting, tight direction, some wicked humor, good framing and decent pacing, ‘Babysitter Wanted’ is a movie that has a central character who is devoutly religious… and she’s not portrayed as a fanatical lunatic. That simple theatrical move in itself is unique which also means that this is a horror movie that God Himself might actually enjoy. I doubt very seriously that God has ‘Saw’ or ‘Final Destination’ or ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ in His Netflix cue. Now as the movie goes on Angie finds her faith challenged a bit and does resort to some foul language during this stressful time and also becomes a little violent… but it is all for the greater good. Another thing that works for this movie is that it has Bruce Campbell in it going by another name of Bruce Thomas. Campbell should seriously think about sticking to this Bruce Thomas nom de plume because Thomas is way funnier and more talented than Campbell.

As ultimately enjoyable as ‘Babysitter Wanted’ was for me it is certainly not perfect. I could’ve used waaaaay less mood music and jump music and scary music hits. If Angie did something as simple as turn her head there was this sudden orchestra hit. Guys, it didn’t scare me the first time it’s not scaring me the fiftieth time. Another thing that didn’t really work all that well was our mysterious stalker who did all kinds of weird things that didn’t add up to who he eventually turned out to be. Plus he was broadcast so overtly so early that while the audience didn’t know exactly who he was, we knew almost immediately what he wasn’t.

But again, the only thing we really care about after the credits roll was ‘did we have good time?’ The answer to that was ‘Yes we did’ and ‘Babysitter Wanted’ was quite a pleasant surprise.

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