We all know that feeling of having to wake up from a great dream that is disrupted by the awful sound of our alarm clocks. At times, we may fall back into a deep slumber to finish our dreams, to no avail. But what if all our dreams can come true with a cost? In Netflix’s recent light-hearted adventure-filled film, “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting,” a group of babysitters must unite to prevent children’s nightmares from dominating the world.
“A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” follows the outcast, Kelly Ferguson (Tamara Smart), who is nicknamed “Monster Girl” after she reveals she was almost taken by the boogeyman. On Halloween, the boy she babysits is kidnapped by the Grand Guignol (Tom Felton), the film’s rendition of the boogeyman who aims to ravage the world by releasing children’s nightmares. Liz LeRue (Oona Laurence), a babysitter-hunter, is part of a secret organization of hunters who are dispersed globally to destroy monsters and protect children. The babysitter-hunters become aware of the situation and collaborate with Kelly to prevent this destruction and return the boy home safely.
“A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” captures adventure with several setting changes while maintaining a stable plot. Some of these settings range from the babysitter hunters’ headquarters to a Halloween party to the Grand Guignol’s lair, without producing an unorganized plot. However, some settings appear too colorful and childlike, such as the Grand Guignol’s lair, which subtly distracts from the evil ambiance of the villain. CGI, on the other hand, is effectively used when creating the monsters (“toadies”), which works to make the film silly and capture its fantasy aspect. Despite the few bumps in the appearance of the setting, the audience travels on an adventurous journey to defeat the wicked villain. In addition, scary moments in the film are very brief, such as when it opens up with a cheesy dark and stormy night where a young Kelly is almost taken by Guignol. The humor is more dominant and makes the film a fun-filled watch with tiny, silly and colorful “toadies” that unintentionally hurt themselves and fall victim to silly tricks. The film also incorporates childish humor stemming from the Grand Guignol, who in one scene, is seen conversing about his evil plans with a teddy bear. The performance of the Grand Guignol by Felton significantly makes the film more humorous than scary.
The acting in the film is performed exceptionally by all the actors whose performances capture the light-hearted aura of the film. Felton encompasses villainous traits with hand gestures, evil smirks and a restless behavior to become closer to achieving his goal. In addition, his dark costume paired with long, dirty hair and beast-like eyes portray the Grand Guignol as an old, mythical creature. Felton’s character makes the film more enjoyable, as he sings and dances, traits which make the antagonist a truly fun character. Felton, infamous for his role as Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” franchise, solidifies his skills as an actor as he transforms himself into this fun, yet evil, monster. Moreover, Laurence captures a fierce and fearless demeanor that establishes herself as a great leader among the babysitter hunters. Smart also performs well in showcasing herself as an awkward, misfit teenager who is quite the opposite of Liz, but becomes determined to defeat the villain. All of the actors do well in bringing distinct characteristics to the table, which made the film an altogether fun watch.
In terms of themes, “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” develops the bond of friendship among the babysitter hunters. Kelly escapes her comfort zone and takes initiative through her actions, which proves she possesses a resolute nature that aligns with the babysitter hunters. At times of distress, the team relies on her strength and choices, which causes them to trust her. In addition, the coming of age theme is fostered as Kelly transitions from being picked on for her intelligence and the “Monster Girl” moniker to utilizing her math skills and taking risks to help the team. Hence, Kelly discovers a sense of belonging and immense growth among individuals that accept her uniqueness.
Despite the few errors in cinematography, “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” impressively binds a scope of settings in a short run time that immerses the audience in the adventurous journey to halt the villain’s plans. The great acting and humor make the film an enjoyable watch. Moreover, the heartwarming themes are efficiently delivered, which capture the film’s light-hearted aura.
Verdict: “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” is a cordial watch that maintains a well-constructed plot and keeps the audience engaged in this fun-filled adventure. The humor, excellent performances and few scares make the film a great watch that can be enjoyed by anyone.