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Emelie: Slow Burning Horror Will Make You Never Trust a Babysitter Again…

  • Sarah Bolger
  • HorrorMystery & Suspense
  • Out now
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Emelie: Slow Burning Horror Will Make You Never Trust a Babysitter Again…

Delivering a clever twist on the classic babysitter-in-peril horror, Emelie – a quietly unnerving and a deeply disturbing story of a psychopathic babysitter left in charge of three unassuming children – has plenty of spine-chilling scares and an unsettling helping of frights, which first-time feature director, Michael Thelin, manages to carry through to the screen with a great deal of style and confidence.

Emelie begins its story with an ominously shot scene, where a seemingly unassuming young teenager is abducted in broad daylight by a mysterious couple on the street. We then move to the Thompson household married couple, Joyce (Pourfar) and Dan (Beetem), are getting ready for an anniversary dinner. When their regular babysitter Maggie (Jayne) becomes unavailable, they decide to hire her friend Anna (Bolger) – whom they have never met – to watch over their three young children.

At first, Anna seems relatively normal however, it doesn’t take long before her behaviour takes a quietly psychotic turn, starting with an incredibly discomforting bathroom scene where Anna asks the eleven-year-old, Jacob (Rush) to get her a tampon while she is still seated on the toilet. The creepiness continues when she forces Jacob’s younger sister Sally (Adams) watch as her beloved hamster is eaten by Jacob’s pet snake but not before she forces all three kids, including four-year-old Christopher (Bair), to sit down and watch their a very private and personal video shot by their parents. As the oldest of the three, Jacob senses that something is off and soon learns that Anna is in fact Emelie; an obviously disturbed young woman whose motives are unclear but whom they, without a shadow of a doubt, must escape from.

Director Michael Thelin’s minimalistic approach ensures that an air of mystery and suspense is established very early on, leaving audiences on their toes for most of the duration. The story’s unnerving energy is what drives the film and Thelin makes wonderful use of the location. The slow-beat horror-thriller style and unhurried pace may not sit well with all moviegoers, but Thelin also manages to create a deepl mood of dread that lasts all the way through the film’s brisk eighty-two-minute running time.    

Sarah Bolger is wonderfully creepy as the young babysitter who manipulates her way into the minds of young children in order to satisfy her own hidden agenda, whilst Joshua Rush is faultless as the eldest of the three kids, quickly realising that only he can protect his siblings.

The story’s initial suspense does crumble a little towards the end and eventually falls into some of the clichés of the genre, but there’s still plenty about Emelie to creep you out of ever hiring a babysitter again…

Like This? Try

Halloween (1978), When a Stranger Calls (1979), The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

360 Tip

A horror film to look forward to this year is The Woods, which tells of a group college students whose camping trip soon turns into a nightmare. Sounds all too familiar, bur the trailer has been doing the rounds online and it has been touted as the scariest horror of the year.

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