A babysitter with secrets and the young boys in care encounter dark forces one night in this funny but dark horror film with great nostalgic charm.
The Night Sitter is an homage to classic, 1980s comedic horror films, in which children playing with supernatural forces leads towards destruction and horror for everyone.
Watching this film reminded me of horror films like Trolls, The Gate, and The Monster Squad, where the heroes of the tale are juveniles. In this interpretation, however, the two major characters are a babysitter and a young boy.
The film opens with Amber (Elyse Dufour), searching for a house in an exclusive neighborhood. Amber meets up with an interested neighbor as she turns up looking for a babysitting job. But she ignores the neighbor and arrives at the home of Ted Hooper (a nice nod to horror director Tobe Hooper).
It seems Ted is an aspiring supernatural host trying to promote a pilot of his show. Ted’s withdrawn son Kevin (played by Jack Champion) is distant from his cold father, but he reacts well to Amber’s friendliness.
Ted leaves his son to go on a date with a neighbor, Charlotte, who also leaves her son Ronnie (Bailey Campbell) in Amber’s hands. However, Ted warns Amber not to let the kids into his office, where he stores countless supernatural items.
Ted and his date leave, and Amber’s true intentions come into focus.
Amber isn’t who she says she. She’s a con artist posing as a babysitter to steal from the wealthy occult enthusiast. However, when she comes clean with Kevin, he forgives her — given his disapproval of his dad’s hobby.
While Amber contacts her friends and contends with the unexpected arrival of her ex-boyfriend, who she disdains, the young boys enter Ted’s office. The office is a warehouse of supernatural artifacts. There, the boys find a Necronomicon-like book, which releases three children-killing witches into the home.
While Amber and her friends prepare for the robbery, the boys face and combat the evil witches. But Amber and her cohorts realize something is wrong when one of them becomes possessed and turns on the other friends. A few scenes of violence against children might offend sensitive viewers.
There are bloody deaths and enough scary scenes to disturb and keep the viewer interested.
Overall, the film has a great nostalgic vibe and a charm reminiscent of low budget indie horror classics. It reminded me in some ways of a Troma film, the company that brought us Toxic Avenger. Even though there were campy, predictable scenes, it still had enough likability to overcome silly plot points and story arcs.
I also really enjoyed the film’s focus on friendship and trust between a neglected child and a conflicted thief. The two fight for their lives against supernatural beings, avoiding the same grim fate of their friends who make endless bad choices.
Obligatory stereotypes and actions by some characters made for a bit of a letdown. But the director’s talents make the film interesting and still an enjoyable experience.
You will likely enjoy The Night Sitter as a fun romp if you have the right expectations. It’s a small, dark, comedic horror flick that hits most of the required horror standards. Think of it as popcorn horror — not terribly substantial, but still a satisfying treat.