A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting parents guide

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting Parent Guide

This film has a narrow audience - kids old enough not to be scared witless and young enough not to realize how dumb the plot really is.

Overall B-

Netflix: Kelly has agreed to babysit Jacob on Halloween night - a job that gets significantly more difficult when Jacob is abducted by monsters. To get him back, Kelly teams up with a secret society of monster-hunting babysitters who exist to protect kids.

Release date October 15, 2020

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting rated TV-PG? The MPAA rated A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting TV-PG

Run Time: 94 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Whilst babysitting on Halloween, Kelly (Tamara Smart) watches as her young charge, Jacob (Ian Ho) is abducted by monsters. Desperate to save him, Kelly is recruited by a secret society of babysitters tasked with protecting the world from these terrifying creatures. Together the babysitters must find a way to save Jacob, stop a monster invasion, and do it all before Mom gets home.

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting seems to be Netflix’s contribution to the family-friendly Halloween adventure genre. Based on a juvenile book series, this film is very obviously tailored to a tween audience. I would venture to categorize it as an introduction to scary movies because there are horror genre tropes and ideas sprinkled throughout, but it never gets really scary. The monsters themselves are pudgy, brightly colored and silly. The action sequences lack any real stakes and the tension stays pretty low. There’s never any indication that a child will actually get hurt; just scared. That said, I’m really glad my four-year-old wasn’t home to watch this with me because I am 100% sure it would have given him nightmares. It’s scary enough that I wouldn’t recommend it for young children, but I could see tweens enjoying the scare level.

As much as I want young audiences to have “scary” movies to give them an introduction to the genre, this particular example is lacking in too many areas for me to fully endorse it. First of all, the acting is not great. I know it’s hard to get child actors that are passable, so I can excuse the youngest actors, but the teenager and adults are terrible too. The one exception to this is Tom Felton, who plays the main villain, the Grand Guignol. He is obviously having a blast and really takes advantage of an over the top bogeyman character. Another problem I have with the film is the writing. There are so many plot holes, not only in the story, but also just in the premise. You really have to suspend all disbelief and not think about any of it too hard or it just falls apart. The story moves from scene to scene almost aimlessly, the characters are at the complete mercy of the plot, and events seem to happen only for the convenience of the runtime.

In the interest of full transparency, I did not enjoy this movie. However, I am very clearly not the intended audience. From what I know about tweens these days, I think that there are most definitely some kids who would like this, but it’s a narrow window of being old enough not to be too scared, but young enough not to roll their eyes at it. There are so few content concerns that I’d say it’s worth a shot if your tween shows interest, but maybe don’t bet on it for the whole family.

Directed by Rachel Talalay. Starring Tom Felton, Indya Moore, and Oona Laurence. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release October 15, 2020. Updated

Watch the trailer for A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting
Rating & Content Info

Why is A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting rated TV-PG? A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting is rated TV-PG by the MPAA

Violence: Monsters tormenting children is the main theme of the film. Monsters emerge from closets and come out from under the bed. Monsters attack the babysitters, who fight back, including kicking, punching, and using gadgets. Mention of a girl scout troop being fed to cats. Said people eating cats chase a girl. Talk about kids and babies getting abducted by monsters and possibly eaten. A bogeyman explodes.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: Two uses of terms of deity. A handful of insults including idiot, imbecile, and loser.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.

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A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting Parents' Guide

How does Tamara use her math skills to help her when she’s in trouble? Why do some kids tease her about being so good at math?

How does Jacob overcome his fears? What are some strategies to use when you’re scared of something?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

The series upon which this film is based begins with A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting by Joe Ballarini and Vivienne To.

For more tween fiction, you can turn to The Babysitter’s Club series by Ann M Martin. The first three in the series are Kristy’s Great Idea, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, and The Truth About Stacey.

Tweens who want scary babysitter-themed books can try R L Stine’s Point Horror Series which begins with The Baby-Sitter. Also ramping up the fear factor is Kat Shepherd’s Babysitting Nightmares series. The first in this series is The Shadow Hand.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Teens and tweens come to the rescue in several films. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse features a teen who assumes the mantle of the webbed wonder just as the universe might be about to collapse.

The Harry Potter series begins when the titular hero is only eleven years old and follows him through seven years of trying to save the world from dark magic.

Sky High is set in a special high school – one where teens are either superheroes or sidekicks. But no matter where their power lead them, they’re going to have to work together to save everyone from a determined villain.

A young boy saves his family (and the world) from monsters he has accidentally released in The Spiderwick Chronicles. Kids also encounter monsters and other creepy things in Goosebumps.