Often times in horror films the babysitter is the one being preyed upon, but “Emelie” flips this notion on its head and begs the question, who will look after your kids when the person who hired is after them?
As a married couple goes out to celebrate their anniversary, they leave their three kids in the hands of who they think is a new babysitter. Us the viewer realize from the start that the babysitter, Anna, isn’t who she says she is. Having this knowledge be revealed early rather than as a twist towards the end gives the audience a different outlook on a somewhat common trope, which allows us to gaze from afar and watch the suspense thicken throughout the movie. It can be quite uneasy having the foresight of the evil at hand; especially when small actions go unnoticed by characters- run away kids!
Once her facade begins to be unmasked it’s clear that Anna is as sinister as it gets. Her tendencies at first make her out to be the best babysitter ever, but little snaps at the kids raise flags to the oldest. Sarah Bolger, who plays Anna, puts on a very unsettling performance as you don’t know what to expect from her and even more scared to cross her. You never really feel scared in a way that you expect with a typical home invasion film. Instead of cheap jumpscares “Emelie” festers into paranoia as the pieces to the puzzle begin to come together in a rather creepy way. For those with children, this would be their ideal worst nightmare.
The kids ages range from 4-11, making it all the more compelling on how Anna dupes them into believing in who she is. As a ensemble, the kids are believable in their given roles, which can be difficult for the ages, but nothing beyond what you’d expect from lesser known child actors. There is no real standout performance, but that’s not really what the film is about. It’s more of a hostage situation and fending of the babysitter than anything else. You’d almost imagine an influence or inclusion of the kids fighting the babysitter through home alone-esque traps, but that’s mostly non existent. This falls back to us knowing that something is bad, and we try to think of possible ways to outsmart and survive. With its short runtime, there could be a chance to implement that or dive deeper into characters’ psyche.
While the first half of the film has its moments, it falls flat in comparison to the end. The suspense really kicks into high gear as the film’s main plot point comes to fruition. The consistency of the first and second half are drastically teetering from one side to the other; which really hinders the overall enjoyment of the film. While “Emelie” doesn’t hit the mark of an iconic horror film, it definitely adds some flair and a handful of chilling moments; easily making it on the watch list for a Halloween marathon.