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by Michael Thelin

It’s not often that I don’t find something worth enjoying in a film, whether it be the soundtrack, effects, acting, or storyline, something is typically redeemable and I can usually find the positive in something. However, I can’t say that’s the case for a film I watched recently called Emelie.

Unoriginal in its storyline, Emelie is a tale of the “bad babysitter” and while it started off strong with a kidnapping and some creepy moments between babysitter, kids, and parents, it quickly went off the rails and I found myself angry more than anything else. This review will contain spoilers so read on at your own risk.

In horror, an antagonist can be displayed in many ways without being so direct that it makes a film unwatchable. For me, these were the parts of the film Emelie where sexuality and young children came together, and those things should number 1, never come together, and number 2, never be displayed for what someone thinks might be entertainment purposes. The babysitter, clearly not the teenager she’s pretending to be, is deranged. I get it, she wants the kids to be bad, draw on the walls and destroy their parents things, but there isn’t a reason the viewer needs to be shown that she’s exposing them to sex by forcing them to watch a homemade sex tape, or attempting to sexually entice a prepubescent boy by showing her vagina to him while she changes a tampon. Seriously, there are plenty of other ways that her psychosis could have been portrayed, or hell, those particular scenes I’m referring to could have been simply eluded to, but I don’t see how it helped the storyline along or added anything to the movie.

The acting, at times, is cringe worthy at best and while the viewer is supposed to feel scared or unnerved I found no emotions stirred up in me aside from being completely irritated that a few scenes were in the film at all. The child actors are annoying and the dialogue falls flat. The best part of the film for me, and this is pushing it, is when its revealed why the babysitter came to the house in the first place, but it still just helped make the film less enjoyable. If the woman just wanted to kidnap the youngest son, she obviously showed that at the beginning of the film she was capable of doing so, so why subject children to inappropriate things? Was it at this point that I was supposed to feel something toward the babysitter? I didn’t. They did a poor job of character building.

The ending, even with a suspension of disbelief, was ridiculous, and it seems as if they were setting up for a sequel and all I can say is NO, with big capital letters. Let’s hope we never have to see a sequel to this. Save your time, the film is free on Starz right now, but I really can’t stress enough how much Emelie is not worth watching. Someone once said that “not every negative review is a challenge to watch the film,” and I agree. Sometimes things are simply just that bad.

Stevie Kopas, HMS

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