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Review: 'A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting' provides family fun sans frights

Review: 'A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting' provides family fun sans frights

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During this Halloween season with fewer new horror movies to choose from than usual, even dedicated horror fans may be tempted to branch out and watch more of the family-oriented movies. If so, A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, directed by Rachel Talalay (Sherlock, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), may be the choice for Halloween night viewing. With a screenplay by Joe Ballarini, author of the Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting trilogy (described as campy monster drama), this movie provides plenty of family-friendly horror—with an emphasis on family-friendly over horror.

Junior-high student Kelly Ferguson, played by Tamara Smart (The Worst Witch, Artemis Fowl), has received the nickname Monster Girl from her classmates because she claimed to have been attacked by monsters when she was a little girl. When she is asked to babysit on Halloween, her primary concern is that she will not be able to attend a party with her best friend. However, when young Jacob is taken by monsters while she is watching him, she meets Liz LeRue, played by Oona Laurence (Pete’s Dragon, Bad Moms), and suddenly has a more pressing concern on her mind. Liz is a member of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Order of the Babysitters, an ancient society dedicated to protecting children from the monsters that live under their beds. The two search for Jacob as Kelly learns more about the society and begins to become familiar with the Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting.  

Kelly and Liz soon discover that they are not dealing with the usual monsters, but with the Boogyman, the Grand Guignol, played by Tom Felton (Harry Potter, Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Once they realize the danger they are up against, they bring in the other Rhode Island babysitters and use the worldwide babysitter’s network in their effort to defeat the Grand Guignol, destroy the army of nightmare monsters he is creating and rescue young Jacob… all before Jacob’s mother gets home from a Halloween party.

The young actors carry the entertaining story along, as well as the monsters and special effects; most are far more cute and cuddly than horrifying. The end of the movie leaves the characters clearly poised to move into the second installation of the Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting trilogy.

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