The new babysitter is not what she seems …
When their usual sitter falls through, a couple hires an unknown sitter to watch their three children while they celebrate their anniversary. At first the kids like “Anna,” the new sitter, because she lets them do anything they want, but things start to take on an increasingly dark tone until they find themselves prisoners of a deranged woman who is planning to kidnap the youngest child to replace her own dead baby, and probably dispatch the older children in some gruesome and demented manner.
The first half of the movie was pretty good. The atmosphere was tense and uneasy, and Sarah Bolger plays the sitter’s gradual descent into madness very believably. But there were a few too many plot holes: when the old sitter comes to check on them, why don’t the kids make a break for it? If the oldest boy can escape to the backyard tree house to meet up with his friend (in what felt like the setup to a “Goonies”/”Stranger Things” scenario that never happens), why can’t he escape to a neighbor to alert an adult? And who is the male accomplice who dies in an ill-conceived attempt to delay the parents’ return? The slow build-up of the first half feels rushed and slipshod in the second.
Netflix gave this to me in a list of recommendations surrounded by horror movies, but I’m not sure this quite qualifies. It’s more a psychological thriller in the mold of “Single White Female” or “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”–it has some tense and frightening moments, but lacks the intensity I expect of a true horror movie.