The Night Sitter wears horror influences openly but is also confident enough to tell its own story with interesting characters and an engaging plot, which, while familiar, doesn’t feel worn out.
Synopsis: When a scheming con artist (Elyse DuFour, The Walking Dead) poses as an innocent babysitter called Amber, in a bid to steal from a wealthy occult enthusiast, a trio of witches are accidentally summoned by the man’s reclusive son, Kevin, as his sitter sets about stealing his father’s valuables. As the playful, sadistic witches start picking people off, Amber and Kevin form an unlikely bond and try to survive the night together.
During the first act of The Night Sitter I had concerns that the homages to Dario Argento’s work would overpower it. Even not being a particular Argento enthusiast I was able to spot several references very early on and there is always a worry that the creator’s understandable love for previous work will not allow for their own story, characters and world-building to emerge. Happily, that isn’t the case here as the story soon takes over, carried on the shoulders by a very able cast.
Elyse Dufour does fantastic work as the lead, Amber, who despite her initially devious reasons for taking the babysitting job presents a fully-rounded character who becomes increasingly likeable as the plot moves forwards. However, my favourite performance in the bunch is Amber Neukum as Lindsey who really relishes her role and I’d love to see her in more prominent roles in the future. The child acting, particularly Jack Champion who plays Kevin is very solid and as this can be such a difficult thing to present well this is really impressive. It is all the more impressive considering the weight of some of the material Champion has to carry. Ben Barlow’s Vincent as a cringe-worthy, ‘nice guy’ neighbour attempting to chat up the babysitter into occult expert is a fun turn too.
It is really refreshing to see witches presented as a very real threat within the story and there are moments which are genuinely creepy with sufficient gore. Many of the effects appear to be practical, which really adds a lot to the feel of the film as echoing older works where CGI was used sparingly, if at all. The film is well-produced, bringing together whispery sound design, great soundtrack moments and some excellent visuals to great effect. A few sequences of a presence moving through the house is also very effective and adds a lot to the mood of the piece.
Overall, I had a great time with The Night Sitter and would thoroughly recommend that people check it out when it hits VOD through Frightfest Presents tomorrow (Monday 17th June).