14th Jun2019

‘The Night Sitter’ VOD Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Elyse Dufour, Jack Champion, Jermaine Rivers, Amber Neukum, J. Benedict Larmore, Ben Barlow, Bailey Campbell, Joe Walz, Deanna Meske, Manny Sandow, Luna Devika, Victoria Graham | Written and Directed by Abiel Bruhn, John Rocco

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Abiel Bruhn and John Rocco (A Not So Pleasant Surprise) work together once again on The Night Sitter, a horror film about a con artist who pretends to be a babysitter in order to steal from a wealthy occult enthusiast. Things don’t necessarily go to plan, however, when the attempt at the theft is interrupted by the awakening of three witches. The results aren’t so good, as The Three Mothers begin to snuff people out. The babysitter, Amber and the two kids she’s babysitting, Ronnie and Kevin, do their best to survive. Ambers friends also join in the fun, and perhaps begin to wish they hadn’t.

Let’s talk about the cast a little. Elyse Defour (The Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow) as Amber, the babysitter at the heart of the film, does a great job. She carries a good amount of the movie on her shoulders, and I thought she was really good. Her character offering more than one emotion, changing from overly confident, positive, a little cocky, to scared witless, and warm. It’s a well penned character, for sure. Jack Champion, who plays Kevin, is very good too. A reluctant but important element to the unfolding horror, he brings a much needed element to the plot, with Amber doing her best to protect him. Ronnie, the other kid in the house, played by Bailey Campbell, works as an opposite personality to Kevin. I thought Joe Walz, for the time he was in the movie, as Ted Hooper, was a riot too. A really fun part I kinda wish we’d seen more of. Ben Barlow, as Vincent, the relatable horror-loving occult nerd across the street, brings humour and knowledge to the story, a much needed bridge for Amber and Kevin to learn more about what’s going on. He’s a really fun character, and Barlow plays him perfectly.

The Three Mothers, the witches themselves, are well-designed and pretty damn creepy. They’re not the usual witches you’d expect, and they offer that darker and more serious element, a shroud of evil hanging over the rest of the characters, stalking under their black robes and masks. Really cool.

The bond that develops between Amber and Kevin as things progress is really lovely. We see a warmth and kindness to Amber through this, and it helps us care about her and Kevin, as they strive to survive. I thought the chemistry they had was great. There’s everything you need here, from the hero to the weirdo, the villains to the victims. It all flows together beautifully to create a plot that is seamless and thoroughly entertaining. It’s about as self-aware a horror movie as you’re going to find.

The score, often festive due to the time of year the film is set, works really well, and felt like a nice change of pace. When I read the blurb about what the film was about, I was expecting The Night Sitter to be set at Halloween, which would have been cool too, but I’m a sucker for Christmas, and Christmas Horror, so I was pleased with that. The rest of the score is synth-centric and fits like a glove with the visuals. It also has a throwback feel, both in score and in the overall tone. There’s some genuinely creepy moments too, from atmosphere as well as some visuals, and I loved that. The change in tone, from fun-loving to much darker took it from being a fun festive spooky flick to a horror film. A fun, festive, spooky horror film.

The Night Sitter is fun, unapologetic with its used of horror tropes to further its narrative, and funny. It isn’t gory or full of extreme horror, it doesn’t scare you to death or disturb you, and it doesn’t want to either. It is a hell of a lot of fun though, and I thought it was one of those brilliantly done light-horror flicks, the kind that will appeal to a wide range of people. It looks fantastic, the lighting, the camera work, it all just a real sight of quality about it. A top-notch lead performance from Defour, excellent work from the rest of the cast and some splendidly spooky writing and direction from Bruhn and Rocco, makes this a damn fine horror film. Grab some popcorn and settle in, it’s creepy and has enough twinkle lights to strangle a whole coven of cackling crones. Enchanting and full of hags and gags, this is one of the most enjoyable horror flicks I’ve seen this year. See it.

The Night Sitter will be available digitally from Monday June 17th as part of Frightfest Presents. You can also check out Alain’s review of the film from its Frightfest debut right here.

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