‘A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting’ is a Fun Kid-Friendly Halloween Adventure – Review
To say that this has been a scary year is a massive understatement. Thankfully, Spooktober has been a welcome distraction, and Halloween is now right around the corner. Due to the pandemic, lots of Halloween traditions are put on hold—like partying and trick-or-treating– but movies like A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting are here to give us a nice Halloween, indoors.
Based on the children’s book trilogy, A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting follows shy high schooler Kelly Ferguson (Tamara Smart) on a wild Halloween night when she’s forced to miss a party and babysit five-year-old Jacob (Ian Cho). Kelly’s been suspicious of the existence of monsters lurking in the dark since she was young. However, she claims that some tried to kidnap her when she was younger. As though getting bullied for being the smartest kid in class wasn’t enough, the incident has earned her the endearing nickname of “Monster Girl.” However, all of her suspicions are confirmed when the Boogeyman (Tom Felton) kidnaps Jacob.
The Boogeyman is just what his name makes you think, a force of evil hellbent on terrifying people, especially children. This time he has the diabolical plan of kidnapping the ultimate dreamer (or nightmare-r in this case) and harnessing their power to make all the nightmares come true and terrorize the world. And if you can believe it, this is just the start of Kelly’s already bizarre night.
A secret society dedicated to fighting monsters and protecting kids like Jacob aptly called The Order of the Babysitters, learn of the incident and dispatch Liz (Oona Laurence). Liz is everything Kelly isn’t; confident, daring, and just the right amount of insensitive. Turns out The Order of the Babysitter has been around for ages and even had A-list members like Rosa Parks, Cleopatra, and Artemis.
This all sounds like a lot, but the screenplay by Joe Ballarini (who also wrote the books) establishes this mythos with such care and ease it makes the supernatural feel natural. Luckily for Kelly, there’s a science to the monsters, which grounds the story as well. Kelly takes advantage of this by impressively using her brilliant mind to help them in just about all of the tricky situations they find themselves in.
Smart, who starred in Are You Afraid of the Dark? proves yet again that acting in children’s horror movie is second nature to her. Laurence unsurprisingly nails her role as the bold and unapologetic Liz. The adorable Ian Ho who plays kidnapped Jacob leaves an impression as well and has promising future ahead of him. The performance that’s most refreshing is Felton’s. The English actor is obviously best known from his work in the Harry Potter blockbuster franchise as the iconic Draco Malfoy. He embodies the creepiness of the classic Boogeyman character, but his interpretation has some witty lines and eccentric mannerisms that he nails.
Make no mistake; this movie is clearly for the children. The scares are simple with immediate relief, and the eerie music, smokey floors, and creeping shadows make it more horror-themed than actual horror. The writing has the perfect amount of humor to distract from the spookiness of it all to remind you it’s a lighthearted movie, fun for the whole family.
If you’re looking for an adventurous movie to put on for the kids and still want to maintain that Halloween feel, put on A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting. You might even catch yourself enjoying yourself.
A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting is streaming now exclusively on Netflix. You can watch the trailer here.
Nothing but love.