Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Prime Time: The Night Sitter (2018)

On the surface, there's really nothing all that wrong with The Night Sitter. The pacing is pretty brisk, the cast do decent work, and it brings to mind a number of other, fun, movies that it seems to be looking to emulate, or pay homage to. Unfortunately, there's also something missing. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what that is, but it's almost like once central piece needed to complete a jigsaw puzzle.

Amber (Elyse Dufour) is all set to babysit young Kevin (Jack Champion) and Ronnie (Bailey Campbell) in a house that also contains some powerful paranormal works. Kevin's dad, Ted (Joe Walz), is basically a cross between the Warrens and some manic local salesman with an ad that you see popping up on your TV in the middle of the night. Amber is actually looking to rob the house, along with a number of accomplices, but things become complicated when evil forces are let loose in the house.

Co-written and co-directed by Abiel Bruhn and John Rocco, The Night Sitter blends together some Argento-esque moments of "Three Mothers" and the kind of mix of mostly horny characters found in films such as Night Of The Demons and, well, hundreds of other enjoyable horror comedies. It tries to build some tension, and has one or two impressive gore gags, but ultimately falls down because of a lack of confidence in the writing and direction. The visuals are nice enough, albeit lacking some real stamp of identity on things, and the script never finds the sweet spot in between the horror and humour. There's not enough inventiveness in the blood and death, and the dialogue fails to crackle as it should. Characterisations are thin, and the exchanges between all of the different characters lack a necessary layer of wit and bite.

Dufour is a big plus in her role, and Champion is very good working alongside her. Amber Neukum also stands out, playing an accomplice (sort of) named Lindsey, and you have perfectly acceptable supporting turns from Jermaine Rivers, Manny Sandow, and one or two others.

In summation, The Night Sitter is a hard film to hate. Despite never really moving in to top gear, it moves along well enough and has a constant feeling of wanting to please. But it is also, for me, a hard film to love. Although I know a few people who would strongly disagree with me. 

6/10


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