“Emelie” made me glad I don’t have kids that need babysitting
Directed by: Michael Thelin
Usually, when I hear the words “Babysitter” and “Movie” used together, horror/thriller is not the first thing that pops into my head. There have been many movies made, that featured babysitters in them. To my knowledge though they have all been either comedies (Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead) or “Erotic” movies that are shown on Cinemax, after midnight. There is, however, a natural fear in every parent when it comes to leaving your children with someone else. My mother was THAT mom that would leave the sitter a ridiculous amount of notes on bedtimes, and rules, and phone numbers to call if needed. It’s just something exceptionally protective parents do, to help themselves feel better while they are away from the kids. Well, thank god my mother never saw a movie like “Emelie”! If she had, she probably wouldn’t have even let us move out until after we were 30.
Sarah Bolger (The Tudors, Once Upon A Time) plays the titular character who is welcomed into the home of Dan and Joyce (Beteem and Poufar) to watch their three children Jacob (Rush), Sally (Adams), and Christopher (Bair). Before she even gets there though, we are given a forewarning of the danger to come in what is an attention grabbing opening scene.
Director Michael Thelin, in his feature length debut, does a good job at pacing and keeping the tension level high. In a lot of indie horror/thrillers, you see directors fall into the pitfalls of going overboard on how maniacal the villain is or revealing secrets too early. Thelin and writer Rich Herbeck avoid those mistakes though and the suspense is the benefactor of their decisions. Their success is also due, in large part, to the fine performances by both Bolger and Joshua Rush. Bolger plays the psychotic Emelie with unnerving calmness and a creepy almost playful look in her eye. Ah but every bad guy needs their nemesis, and young Mr. Rush is up to the task. The mental game of cat and mouse between the two saves a third act that otherwise somewhat limps to it’s end.
That’s it though… That is my only complaint about “Emelie”. The ending could’ve been better, but for the first 110 minutes of it’s 120 minute run time it had me. I was on the edge of my seat, and loving every minute of it.
Is “Emelie” a masterpiece? No. It is a very strong directorial debut though and a solid thriller with an original take on home invasion and a couple of dynamite performances from it’s young stars. I highly recommend it. Just go into it thinking indie thriller… not big budget horror, and you will be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.