When we think of horror movies that deal with babysitters, we mostly think of those in which the babysitter is the victim. The most well known movie with this theme would be the 1979 movie starring Carol Kane, “When a Stranger Calls.” However, we seldom see what happens if the tables are turn and instead of the babysitter being the victim, they have now become the terrorizer. Luckily, the film EMELIE, by director Michael Thelin, is a breath of fresh air in the babysitting-horror genre.
EMELIE stars Sarah Bolger (In America, The Spiderwick Chronicles), Joshua Rush (Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Break Point), Thomas Bair (Manhattan Night), and Carly Adams. When parents Dan (Chris Beetem) and Joyce (Susan Pourfar) decide to go out for their anniversary, they hire a replacement babysitter (Sarah Bolger) to look after their kids for the evening. What should be a calm and fun night for everyone soon turns into a series of twisted, evil activities that leave the three children fighting for their lives.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this movie in the beginning. I didn’t know if it was going to be another “teen slasher” flick, but to my surprise it wasn’t and I absolutely loved this film. On the surface, the film is pretty self explanatory; parents hire a babysitter, they trust that everything will go well, babysitter isn’t who they think she is, hell breaks loose. However, the film adds so much tension and suspense that you are literally sitting on the edge of your seat watching the terror unfold.
Something I always look for when watching a movie is the acting that is done by the child actors. All three of the children (Joshua Rush, Thomas Bair, and Carly Adams) were superb and totally believable. Each one of them was processing what was going on in the film in their own way. They also played off of Sarah Bolger’s character perfectly. Speaking of Sarah Bolger, she was a force to be reckon with in EMELIE. In the beginning you are to believe she is just a normal babysitter looking to help out a family last minute. As the movie progresses you see her transformation reveal itself as her true colors begin to show. Her character is broken, lost, and haunted and even though what she is doing is clearly wrong and horrific, a part of you (a very small part of you) feels sadden for her. It’s very rare to have those type of emotions for a character that is clearly psychotic.
If you are wondering about the gore level, there isn’t much. Sure there is some blood and wounds here and there, but overall this is not an overly gory movie. That works for the films advantage though because director Thelin relies on mood, atmosphere, and body language to raise the creepiness factor. The film isn’t over the top scary or full of jump scares which I appreciate. I found that the film relied on survival and doing whatever it takes to make sure you and your loved ones are safe.
Overall, I really enjoyed EMELIE. It was a fresh take on the babysitter story and I appreciated that it didn’t rely heavily on gore and jump scares. The creepiest aspect of the film is something that has always scared me deep down, which is we can never really trust anyone. We hope that the people who are watching our children while we are out are trustworthy, but do we ever really know? If you enjoy horror movies that are filled with tension and psychological drama then I highly suggest checking out EMELIE as its out on VOD.