‘A Babysitter’s Guide To Monster Hunting’ Review: A perfect fantasy for one of October’s best traditions
If you are keen to dive into the world of magic potions, monster mafias, magic mists and booyah bears then this film is a must-watch for Halloween
A thunder rumbling, toys coming to life on their own, creaking noises of chairs shifting and finally a Boogeyman emerging from the dark... Boom! And you finally wake up from the stifling nightmare that was a prelude to the scary season of Halloween.
This is how Netflix’s comedy fantasy movie ‘A Babysitter’s Guide To Monster Hunting’ feels like. It explores the theme of protecting loved ones from these eerily scary characters. The film opens like a fabled plot which is reminiscent of the ghost stories we all have heard as children and even borrows some elements from magic realism as well. Monsters known as toadies, a secret agency for finding missing kids, horror inducing milieu, fascinating costumes and enigmatic characters make up this perfect Halloween potpourri.
The movie has a basic plot told interestingly with comical yet horrifying elements. It has a high school freshman Kelly Ferguson (Tamara Smart) who reluctantly agrees to babysit Jacob Zellman (Ian Ho) on Halloween only to find him kidnapped by monsters. To bring Jacob back, she teams with a global secret society of babysitters who protect kids with special powers from monsters. The viewer is introduced to some eccentric characters such as the blunt Vice President Liz Lerue (Oona Laurence), tech genius Berna Vincent (Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson), creature expert Cassie Zhen (Lynn Masako Cheng), and potions master Curtis Critter (Ty Consiglio) who all embark on the journey to save Jacob. The kid is in the custody of a magical villain named "The Grand Guignol" (Tom Felton), a glamorous witch named "Peggy Drood" (Indya Moore) and their brigade of mysterious monsters.
Though the extravagant characters and magnificent set can be very overpowering, the movie bodes well in heralding its message of humane relations. The film exploits the weaknesses of characters to add a touch of reality to its fantasy plot. It shows the villains as gullible, monsters as lousy, protagonists like Liz as helpless at one point and lead actress Kelly as a girl embarrassed over the tag of “monster girl”. Further, the movie implicitly shows how negativity breeds around us, personified by The Grand Guignol and his monsters who prey on our bad thoughts and nightmares. Also, it is in our capacity and will power to smash the evil with our positivity.
This is shown when Guignol, the “Bringer of Dreams” tries to tap into the nightmares of Jacob to help build his future army of vile creatures. However, in the end, we see Jacob bidding a farewell to his fears and demons which ends the army of Guignol. One has to credit director Rachel Talalay for this action-packed fantasy adventure that teaches one to be their own hero.
Coming to the visual appeal, the spookiest parts of the film get amplified by excellent special effects. Even, the strikingly alluring costumes of the characters remind one as if they are straight out from the world of wizarding. Be it Guignol’s petrifying green eye, wet hair, long overcoat or his sister Peggy Drood’s sultry sorceress getup, or Liz’s ultra-cool jacketed attire the film will enchant one and all. If you are keen to dive into the world of magic potions, monster mafias, magic mists and booyah bears then this film is a must-watch for Halloween.
'A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting' debuts on October 15 on Netflix.