REVIEW: ‘A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting’ is Spooky World-Building

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A Babysitters Guide to Monster Hunting

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, a Netflix original film directed by Rachel Talalay, was released this week. The film is based on a book of the same name that’s written by Joe Ballarini. The film follows Kelly Furgeson (Tamara Smart), who has to babysit her mother’s boss’ son (Ian Ho) on Halloween night. Kelly reluctantly accepts the opportunity since she made plans to attend a party with her friend. However, things take a turn for the worse when the young boy that Kelly is babysitting is kidnapped by monsters and taken to a creature known as The Grand Guignol (Tom Felton). Just as Kelly runs out of options, she’s approached by Liz (Oona Laurence), a member of a babysitters’ monster hunter group. Liz agrees to help Kelly save the young boy before his mom gets home.

Perhaps it’s because of a lack of research, but I haven’t seen other films or tv shows that place babysitters as monster hunters. It’s great that a film like A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting incorporated this as its premise. The countless memories of monsters under beds came rushing in while watching the film. For adult viewers, it’s probable that the premise will bring out a sense of nostalgia while also wishing that a film like this was around during their childhoods. For younger viewers, it could spark that sense of imagination while also serving as a way to deal with their own fears of monsters under their beds. Plus, I can imagine that they’d think it would be amazing to be a part of a group like that.

The amount of world-building that A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting does with only a 99-minute runtime was incredible. It managed to set up an entire organization and its history without it ever feeling rushed or underdeveloped. With an organization of monster hunters that spans all over the world, it’s hard to imagine that the film won’t be getting a sequel soon. A sequel could choose to expand on Kelly’s story and find ways to incorporate more of the monster hunter organization or focus on something entirely new. Either way, there are many exciting possibilities for ways to show more of this immense world.

A Babysitters Guide to Monster Hunting

One of the more prominent elements of the story in A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting was the friendship formed between Kelly and Liz. At the beginning of the film, the film introduces Kelly and a friend from school, giving the impression that the story will center around them and Liz. However, Kelly’s friend is quickly forgotten, giving more time for Kelly and Liz’s friendship to blossom. The main force that drives their friendship is to save a child but there’s something deeper that connects them. Without going into spoilers, both Kelly and Liz deal with trauma from previous encounters with monsters that shaped who they became as they grew up. Kelly became the girl who was teased about reporting a monster call while Liz chose to become a hunter to save those who had gone through a similar experience. I’m hoping they have future adventures together if the film gets a sequel.

Before watching A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, I had no idea that Tom Felton was in the film, let alone that he was the film’s villain. Having seen him play a villainous character in a major film franchise for over 10 years, there was no doubt that he could play an incredible villain. He’s the exception to the comment made above that talked about the monsters falling into the category of something a child would be scared of. Felton’s character is completely menacing and brings about major moments of horror that fans of the genre will appreciate. The charisma that he’s able to give his character is also something that makes his character stand out. Here’s hoping that Felton plays more roles in horror films or shows.

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting‘s premise was both unique while also fitting in terms of something that many viewers can relate to. The world-building done throughout the film was handled well and set up multiple opportunities for more stories to be told. Kelly and Liz’s friendship is the heart of the film while also never appearing to be forced for the sake of plot. Felton’s character was the perfect antagonist for the film since he brought a lot of the scare factor to the story. I will surely go pick up the book that the film was based on after having watch this adaptation.

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting is available to stream now on Netflix.

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    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting‘s premise was both unique while also fitting in terms of something that many viewers can relate to. The world-building done throughout the film was handled well and set up multiple opportunities for more stories to be told.