REVIEW: ‘The Night Sitter’ is a Horror Comedy that Goes Light on the Horror

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The Night Sitter

As summer blockbusters begin to hit theaters, even more film are being released on streaming services an VOD. One such film that’s being released soon is The Night Sitter, from Uncork’d Entertainment, directed by Abiel Bruhn and John Rocco. The film follows a scheming con artist named Amber (Elyse Dufour) who is posing as a babysitter. She’s hired by paranormal hunter Ted Hooper (Joe Walz) to baby sit his son Kevin (Jack Champion) and his girlfriend’s son Ronnie (Bailey Campbell). After the adults leave, the rest of Amber’s crew arrives to clean out the house. However, none of them know that Kevin accidentally released a trio known as the Three Mothers when he and Ronnie snuck into Ted’s office. The group must know learn to work together to survive a night of terror.

Fans of the hit AMC show The Walking Dead will be surprised to see Elyse Dufour in The Night Sitter. She played as Frankie on the show, one of Neegan’s former wives who was one of the characters killed by The Saviors during the season nine finale earlier this year. Her character Amber puts a spin on the traditional characters that are found in horror films. Though she’s introduced as a babysitter, it’s quickly revealed that she’s a con artist. That’s not to say that she doesn’t care for the kids, but her priority is to clean the house of its valuables. She’s also not the traditional final girl as she takes charge once the witches begin to terrorize the group and not only at the very end of the film. She isn’t afraid to jump into danger, saving Kevin on multiple occasions.

The Night Sitter

The Night Sitter markets itself as a horror comedy, so it’s a given that the film will have several comedic scenes. That being said, this doesn’t mean that the comedy should overshadow the horror elements. For instance, there’s a scene where one of the witches is pinning another character against the wall. Rod (Jermaine Rivers), one of Amber’s crew members, tries to get the witch’s attention. The witch then starts trying to provoke Amber in hopes of getting her to give up Kevin. Though it’s meant to be a much more terrifying scene, it comes off as more comedic, especially with the dialogue.

Aside from The Night Sitter relying heavily on its comedy, the film also unfortunately includes a few nude scenes that seem extremely unnecessary. One of them comes very early on, with Amber lifting up her shirt in front of Kevin and Ronnie to calm them down. I’m not quite sure why that scene was there, but it’s hard to imagine that being done as a way to capture a young boy’s attention.

The other scene comes near the end of The Night Sitter between one of the witches and Amber’s boyfriend, Martin (J. Benedict Larmore). The witch casts an illusion of Amber to lure Martin outside. Once he’s outside, Amber starts to undress and kiss him. There could have been a better way to get him outside other than with the promise of a naked girl. Neither one of these two scenes offered anything interested for the film.

The two kids are the heart and soul of the film, especially Kevin since he’s the one that released the witches. Not much is revealed about their relationship other than the fact that their single-parent’s are dating. The film tries to establish something between them but it’s quickly forgotten once the horror begins. However, it’s clear that Amber would do anything to protect them, as shown through her various acts of bravery. It would have been nice if the film did more to care about the possible friendship between Kevin and Ronnie.

Amber’s crew and her boyfriend are quite an interesting addition to the film. Rod and his girlfriend Lindsey (Amber Neukum) only care about the valuables in the house while Martin is more worried with Amber going down the path of a criminal. Although these three characters are seemingly meant to be there for comedic purposes, they come off as more annoying than funny.

Rod and Lindsey don’t have much to offer in The Night Sitter, which leads to their scenes being very lackluster. I would have cared more about their characters had they been written differently and not as stereotypical horror characters. Martin’s constant nagging towards Amber and trying to figure out where they are in their relationship was an unnecessary plot point in the film. There’s a time and place for them to figure that out but the film never really provided it.

Aside from Amber and the kids, another character that stood out in The Night Sitterwas Vincent (Ben Barlow). He’s introduced as this strange guy that’s hanging out in his garage as Amber arrive at the Hooper household. I figured that he would’ve been a very minor character but was pleasantly surprised when he showed up several more times in the film.

It’s revealed that Vincent is into the occult, much like Ted. That comes in handy when the witches start to terrorize the group. However, I wish this would have been established much more earlier. He’s the only minor character in the film that should have had a bigger role. He’s very knowledgeable about witchcraft and saved the group on numerous occasions. It’s a shame that his character isn’t as prominent in the film.

The ultimate payoff at the end of The Night Sitter was quite predictable and lackluster. Nothing is really done to have that ending make any sense. Part of its letdown comes from the possibly unintentional focus on comedy, but the other just comes from the nonsensical plot. Had there not been a bigger focus on Amber’s crew and her boyfriend, much more could have been done to set the ending up and make the witches much more menacing. As soon as the big reveal of the film came up, I was counting down the minutes until the film was done. That made me lose any of the remaining interest I had in the film.

It would be a bit extreme to say that this is one of those films that had a better trailer than the film itself, but the trailer showed such promise that didn’t go anywhere. Its unique premise and strong main characters were not enough to save the film. Had the main focus been on Amber, the kids, and Vincent, then the film could’ve gone in a direction that would have made a big impact on the horror genre. With all of that being said, I cannot recommend this The Night Sitter.

The Night Sitter will be available for purchase on DVD and VoD August 6, 2019

The Night Sitter
  • 4/10
    Rating - 4/10
4/10

TL;DR

It would be a bit extreme to say that this is one of those films that had a better trailer than the film itself, but the trailer showed such promise that didn’t go anywhere.