3 items from 2016
Directed by Michael Thelin.
A couple’s replacement babysitter turns out to be more than they bargained for when she subjects their kids to a series of twisted activities.
Early on, Anna/Emelie (all you really need to know is that she is the babysitter parents have nightmares about leaving their children with) delivers a small speech on the power of pretending. Not only is it unnerving and genuinely creepy (it’s obvious she has ulterior motives), but it is also her method of home invasion; fake being a babysitter and accomplish one very sinister goal.
Emelie is one of the better, more tense-driven horror films to come out in quite some time, but unfortunately does not completely deliver on its promising premise, mostly falling into clichés and predictability during the second half. Thankfully, »
- Robert Kojder
It begins with the abduction of a girl. The scene is quiet and innocuous until it isn’t—a car rolling up to a young girl to ask for directions as children play in the background. The driver says, “Are you Anna?” before a man grabs her and shoves her in the car the instant she says, “Yes.” We watch as though a voyeur behind the trees, helpless to do anything but wait to see what happens while a boy on his bike (Dante Hoagland‘s Howie) rides into frame for the camera to follow home. These suburbs are small so his destination just happens to be next door to the house we’re about to spend the night within. That family’s new babysitter is also named Anna and suddenly we realize what’s gone wrong.
- Jared Mobarak
“Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Deadly” could work as both an alternate title and shorthand synopsis for “Emelie,” a familiarly premised but stringently executed home-invasion chiller that rarely goes for the straight-up scare when a more insidious one will do. Likeliest to prey on the sensibilities of younger parents — and to unnerve anyone who still thinks of gifted Irish actress Sarah Bolger as that preciously innocent pre-teen from “In America” — music-vid helmer Michael Thelin’s lean, lo-fi debut feature calmly pushes against the nastier bounds of its genre territory as it places two young children in the care of Bolger’s profoundly unhinged imposter. This ambiguous protagonist’s backstory emerges a little more predictably than it should, but even with that knowledge in place, Thelin succeeds in keeping any presumption of eventual sanctuary impressively at bay.
From the quiet, the flash-free sangfroid with which he stages a few »
- Guy Lodge
3 items from 2016
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