Tag Archives: comedy

The Babysitter: Killer Queen

It took me so long to watch The Babysitter after I stuck it in my Netflix queue that they made a sequel! And it came out only like three months later. Go timing?

Things I liked about The Babysitter: Killer Queen, a short list:

  1. Claiming all the evidence of the murderous satanic cult was erased and everyone thinks Cole[1] made the whole story up? Bold! There’s definitely a sense that they might be right, and maybe he’s just a little bit crazy, and that sense lingers beyond the recap intro mood-setting scenes at the beginning.
  2. Still funny, in a goofy over-the-top way that I don’t see enough outside of movies templated like Scott Pilgrim vs. Whoever, which take their goofiness way too seriously. This does not do that. Once again, my compliments to the letterer.
  3. It finds the humor in way way too much gore that does not exist in the right amount of gore. You can’t really be in this movie without getting a faceful of blood spray, which is at this point the fart joke of horror movies, except way funnier than farts, because someone just died.
  4. Okay, that last thing doesn’t exactly make sense, but here we are.

Thing I didn’t like about it, a shorter list:

  1. The title, which has exactly zero semantic meaning. It’s cool that they used the song, but no, not a good enough excuse. If you don’t have an actually clever title, just call it The Babysitter 2 and get over yourself.
  2. The moral of the movie scene, not because it had a “moral”, but because they thought they earned the payoff the moral describes, and I’m really not convinced they did. Same thing as above, don’t forcefeed me a moral. If you earn it, cool, but if not, you’re a damn horror movie. Don’t have a moral. That’s okay here more than literally anywhere else!

If you liked the first one, check it out. If you didn’t, you won’t, and if you are in the supermajority of people who have no opinion here, this movie isn’t enough to tilt the balance one way or another.

[1] Cole is the kid from the first movie who was babysat.

Palm Springs (2020)

Palm Springs is a “the less you know about it the better” comedy in which Andy Samberg (one of The Lonely Island, or, if you’re not me, the lead in Brooklyn Nine-Nine) interacts with a destination wedding and the bridesmaids thereof, over the course of an interminable wedding day. (I mean, it’s only like an hour and a half or two hours, because, movie.)

The problem I have now is how to fill at least enough space to match the poster. Um. It’s funny! It’s also philosophical and has characters that change and grow. Which is three things that a lot of comedies don’t have, even though almost all of them should have at least two of those things.

Plus, it’s on Hulu, and apparently they made it. Which I think means it’s technically free unless they changed their online viewing policies, which, how would I know? But man, I hope it doesn’t have commercial interruptions. Anyway, check it out!

Deep Murder

Deep Murder is a porn parody, but not the way you’re thinking. See, I thought it was a by-the-numbers slasher in which people on the set of a softcore movie are getting gradually murdered, and yes, I will absolutely watch that movie. But this is so much better than what I thought it was.

It is instead a decidedly not by any numbers I’ve ever seen[1] softcore porn in which the characters are getting gradually murdered. And the only way to survive is to overcome all of their in character instincts and start treating what they’re living as a murder mystery cum horror movie[2] instead of the porno that is all they’ve ever known.

I approximately never stopped laughing. As far as I can tell, this was the best comedy of 2019, and I recommend it to basically anyone, although if you ever watched something in the wee hours of the night on Cinemax, you might have a leg up. For the record, there is [approximately] no nudity. It’s not that kind of movie in any way other than that it specifically is that kind of movie or it wouldn’t work, if you take my meaning.

[1] The closest thing I can think of is Zombie Strippers, and there are only a couple of tangential similarities.
[2] *smirk emoji*

Victor Crowley

Breaking my rules today. I will review a movie I watched with Joe Bob Briggs’ commentary segments and, in this case, most of the cast and crew in attendance as well. It seems only fair after having done the first three in a row, though.

Victor Crowley is, for some reason, not named Hatchet IV. You would think, with the writer-director in attendance, I would have found out why not. But: nope! I can speculate, though. See, this movie does not pick up immediately after the last one ended, for a fourth night in a row of brutal mayhem. It seems that they actually [spoilers for previous movies in the Hatchet series, avoid if you prefer, last chance, here they are!] succeeded in lifting his curse, and he’s been truly dead for the past ten years. Who would have thought. (Also, this movie was made ten years after the original, so, nice.) These reasons seem valid for switching up the title scheme, right? Sort of? Maybe?

Anyway, there’s a survivor who people hate for making money off all those deaths and also maybe they think he did the murders, since who’s going to believe a ghost story with no ghost left? (I found the first part of that really annoying, since he’s not just profiting off death and misery, it really was his story to tell. But whatever.) And there are people hoping to make a movie about the legend, and there’s a crappy talk show subplot, but eventually the two things you really care about do happen:

  1. Everyone winds up in that cursed swamp again.
  2. Somebody makes a rookie horror movie mistake about saying curses out loud.

And then we’re once more off to the races. I have been all but promised a Hatchet V, and you just know it’s going to pick up immediately where this one left off, and I am there for it. I mean, if you can go to movie theaters without dying by then.

Hatchet III

Later, they made Hatchet III.

I really respect where this is going. The movie starts on the morning after Hatchet II, which is to say two mornings after Hatchet. This is still one continuous narrative, even if one character has changed actors and one actor continues to show up as new characters. But then, that latter is part of the joke.

Another thing I appreciate is that they got the urge for overwhelming gore out of their system last time, so this one could be funny again. And it was. Possibly made even more funny by catharsis based on recent events, but watching Victor Crowley versus a Sheriff’s Department and also a SWAT team? I may well have found myself fascinated for twice as long, if he’d just kept killing people in new and inventive ways. (Just like in real life, I was sad for the one to possibly three of them who didn’t deserve what they got.)

Basically, if you like slasher movies enough to find them inherently funny, and want to watch modern films by someone who loves the genre just as much, and is in on the joke right along with you, this is a can’t miss series. Each entry adds just enough new material to not feel like a retread, while otherwise entirely being a retread, just as God and John Carpenter intended.

Unlike last time, though, I’m actually not sure how there’s room for another sequel. That actually felt like the end?

Hatchet II

Apparently, the second Hatchet movie had some problems getting past the MPAA without deep, deep edits, most of which were taking over-the-top gore scenes and making them shorter, which for some reason is less offensive. They also pulled some mutilated genitalia scenes and about five seconds of transition from sex to necrophilia, both of which were critical to the plot.

Thankfully, the Prime Video people mislabeled the rated R version, so I got the unrated version instead.

Hatchet II is in the very small class of perfect horror movie sequels that understand how sequels should pick up immediately after the prior movie ended[1]. Final girl Marybeth is ready to plunge right back into the swamp to retrieve the bodies of her dead family folk and just maybe take revenge on the wielder of the eponymous murder weapon[2], with help from voodoo entrepreneur Tony Todd and his band of merry redneck mercenaries. Will it work? I mean, maybe, but I have it on good authority that there are (at least) two sequels left, so, well, you do the math.

In short: not as good, nor as funny, as the original, but what it lost in comedy plus originality, it more than made up in commitment to grossing out the plebes. I ain’t mad at it.

[1]Aliens gets a pass on this. “Sure”, you may be thinking, “57 years isn’t immediate!” But thanks to cryogenics, it was immediately for Ripley, and that’s what matters here.
[2] ssshhhhhhhhhh

Hatchet

So there I was, ready to watch the second movie in Joe Bob’s slumber sleepover thingummy that aired a week or so ago, when I find out, oops, it’s Hatchet Four in disguise, and here I am never having watched Hatchets One through Three. And, in maybe the least likely turn of events in streaming history, all of them are available on services I already have!

Well, okay, not quite. The first one was on Plex, which I understood to be a way to stream things you have the data file from your data repository to your screen, but apparently they also have a commercial service with random shows and movies on it as well? Which is weird, but unedited plus commercials is as good as I was going to get.[1]

Hatchet, then, is the story of Victor Crowley, a deformed backwoods mutant with a tragic past who is now maybe a ghost or maybe just still alive, but either way, he doesn’t like it when you go to his part of the swamps outside New Orleans. Which is exactly what an old touristy Midwestern couple, a Girls Gone Wild knockoff producer and his marks, a couple of guys in town for Mardi Gras, a sullen girl with her own agenda, and their spooky nighttime ghost tour guide do. So, y’know, big mistake.

Consequences include body parts flying everywhere, multiple alligator attacks, enough breasts to believe this could have been made in the ’80s, blood sprays upwards of 20 yards, and laughs every couple of minutes. I know I was just complaining about what makes a horror movie also a comedy (and more to the point what doesn’t), but this is just one step shy of being a snarky self-aware post-Scream horror movie, except that nobody winks at the camera even once. There are trope jokes everywhere, there’s just not anybody using the script to say see, look at this trope! I have three sequels to get through over the next not very many days, and I really hope this trendline continues.

[1] Unless I had remembered earlier than two thirds of the way through the movie that I’m pretty sure I have this one on DVD (or maybe Blu-ray, who knows?). I miss when there was a wall of movies I could look at before making mistakes like this.

The Babysitter (2017)

So, good news, Netflix has done right by me after Shudder let me down. Okay, playing that back in my head, it doesn’t actually sound like good news. I guess I’m just saying I’m glad that there are decent horror movies outside of Shudder, is all. Although if I’m getting my money’s worth out of them, why should I really care? Plausibly of much more import, why should you care, prospective blog reader?

Starting again, then: The movie I watched today was The Babysitter, in which a twelve year-old boy[1] is babysat by a hot teenage neighbor girl with whom he has a pre-existing friendship, one would presume from prior babysitting endeavors, while his parents go out of town for the weekend[2]. Later, after being egged on by a school friend, he resolves to stay up past his bedtime and see what the babysitter really gets up to at night, instead of being tired and going to sleep herself as she claims.

Is it a handsy boyfriend? Is it a spin the bottle game that will pretty definitely lead to an orgy? Is it human sacrifice to fulfill a ritual in an ancient, unbound manuscript? Regardless of any of those, will the babysat kid get a chance to make out with the girl of his dreams? The answer to these, and many other question that may have arisen in response to this premise: maybe!

It’s pretty funny, in any case, and definitely made funnier by the letterer, a role which maybe more movies should have.

[1] They call this out, which is called lampshading for some reason, in the dialogue. Yes, it’s silly, but you can’t very well have burgeoning pubescent sexual tension in a babysitter horror movie if the kid being sat is age appropriate.
[2] This, on the other hand, is blown right past. Who hires out a weekend babysitter? There’s no way that’s a real thing that people do.

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

So, I did it! I got the Alamo Season Pass thingy, which this is not a commercial for, but one free movie a day is kind of great? I have to go twice a month to not lose money on the deal, and I want to go a lot more than that, although I think there’s a tiny human hoping to thwart my plans. …who will probably succeed. But for now, salad days[1]!

Upshot, on Thursday we saw Birds of Prey, a movie about which I have non-controversial opinions. To recap, I thought the Wonder Woman movie was great at being the first female-led superhero movie, but the actual film itself has not aged well for me outside that context. It’s perfectly cromulent as a superhero movie but no more than that. I thought Aquaman was shockingly good, better than it had any right to be, and therefore maybe a half-rank above “perfectly cromulent etc”? The rest of the modern DC movies are hot garbage at best, including Suicide Squad, except that Harley Quinn was revelatory in it.

All of that to say: Birds of Prey would fall on a tier maybe just above hot garbage, except for that fantabulous emancipation bit. As nearly as I can determine, Margot Robbie was born to play this role. (She seems to think so too, given her heavy involvement in getting the movie made.) This is basically Harley’s transition from the Joker’s emotionally manipulated girlfriend to chaotic good trending neutral antihero, and she’s hilarious every step of the way. Plus, the narration! I will keep watching her make these movies as long as she’s interested.

[1] I have no idea what that means. What it conveys, yes. What it means that results in conveying that: not a clue.

Fantasy Island

If you’re like me[1], when you saw the preview’s for Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island, you thought, “Hey, awesome, someone is adapting the old Fantasy Island TV show as a movie, but instead of romance or whatever, it’s horror!” And this is largely exactly what happened. You have your people arriving at the island, you have Mr. Roarke greeting them all and promising that not only will their fantasies be fulfilled, but that it is mandatory to fulfill them to the [bitter] end, you have two A plots and two B plots interweaving amongst one another, now and then interacting. Which is a lot of plots for a TV episode, but about right for a movie I reckon? In any case, I got exactly what I expected, and honestly it was pretty good for what it is.

My caveat is, I never actually saw an episode of Fantasy Island. I saw a great deal of advertisements for it and its shared timeslot with The Love Boat in my misspent youth, but I largely gave both of them a pass. So I pulled up the Wikipedia article for a refresher[2] just before writing my review, and the wry twist is this: except for what are largely PG-13 horror trappings that only borderline at best couldn’t be shown on network TV, and definitely unairable R-rated language, I had completely misjudged my comparison. Because the TV show? “Instead of romance or whatever” doesn’t really apply. It actually already was more or less horror with fantasy-the-genre trappings, and it’s entirely fair to view this movie as a prequel in which Roarke as host of the island learns that it’s okay to intervene just a little bit, so people can have happy, or at least morally informative, or at the very least mostly non-fatal, endings.

Luckily, though, the movie works just fine under my initial misconception too. It’s just that I sort of regret that I never watched the TV show, now.

Lastly, apropos of nothing else in particular, it is important to note that Ryan Hansen’s lucrative career of playing Dick Casablancas in every role for which he is hired continues unimpeded.

[1] Disregarding the “awesome” bit, I mean
[2] Well, for a fresher, I suppose.