The subject is babysitters. Talk about a thankless job. Minimum wage, shitty snacks, bratty kids, and knife-wielding maniacs? Hard pass.
But what can you do when you have no bed to sleep in? Get a job, slacker.
Angie (Sarah Thompson) is a new student at a Northern California community college, with a dorm room that includes a sullen stoner roommate, but sadly, no bed. Beneath a bunch of Missing Person fliers on the community bulletin board, she finds a number for a babysitting job.
Once employment is secured, Angie looks forward to eventually getting a good night’s sleep.
Complications abound. The job is way out in the boonies and Angie’s shitbox car won’t make it. Also, there seems to be a horribly scarred bald dude following her.
At this point, Angie could probably write off her anxiety as a bad case of freshman jitters, since Jim Stanton (Bruce Thomas) and his wife Violet (Kristen Dalton) appear to be honest, hardworking farmers who just need someone to watch their little boy, Sam (Kai Caster).
What could possibly go wrong? Let’s put it this way: the scary scarred dude is the least of her worries.
In my estimation, writer and co-director Jonas Barnes utilizes the babysitter premise far more effectively than Ti West did in the similarly themed House of the Devil, which came out the following year in 2009.
While West is undoubtedly a gifted visual stylist, HotD comes across as a painfully self-aware exercise in genre clothes. The onscreen shocks were distant and removed, as though filmed through a dispassionate filter.
Babysitter Wanted is savage and satisfyingly visceral, with a cast that plays it to the hilt, including the always-dependable Bill Moseley in a rare non-maniac role.
Sarah Thompson, who looks a bit like Jennifer Garner, imbues Final Girl Angie with fire and fortitude, which comes in mighty handy when the kid she’s being paid to watch wakes up hungry as hell.
Wouldn’t you know it? He’s got dietary restrictions.