Bonus Watching: Emelie (2015)
List Progress: 10/12 (+21)
I am not, nor do I intend to be, a parent, which I think is the only thing that got me through the 2015 film Emelie. Because this is such an unnerving, well-crafted, skin-crawling “children in danger” horror movie, that watching it while having kids of my own would almost certainly be too much. But I am perfectly situated to love this movie, and I absolutely did.
A married couple is going on a date night and have booked a new babysitter, Anna, to look after their three kids. But the opening scene of the movie is the real Anna being ambushed and shoved into a car, so when “Anna” shows up to babysit, the audience already knows this woman isn’t who she says she is and is dangerous. Every scene of her interacting with the parents and the children is full of classic Hitchcockian suspense, long before she starts doing anything threatening, and builds a great atmosphere before the weird stuff starts going down.
If you have any squeamishness about seeing child characters in danger, this will not be the movie for you. Emelie/Anna spends the whole evening psychologically tormenting the three kids (ages 11, 9 and 4), and even when her backstory is revealed, her motives are still quite murky. There is a sense that at a core level, she enjoys the power and ability to cause pain, and these three are at her absolute mercy. I have seen the criticism that the third act of the movie is disappointing because it turns into a more generic action movie than the slow tension of the first two acts, but in my mind, it serves as a necessary bit of relief and catharsis for the audience. There is only much slow building you can see before you tune out, and Emelie knows when to kick things into high gear before that happens.
I was expecting a much lighter and more mediocre movie when I grabbed this at random off of Netflix, but I was pleasantly surprised and would definitely recommend it to horror fans. Just make sure your kids are tucked into bed first.
Would I Recommend It: Yes, but look up trigger warnings first.