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Emelie (2016)

emelieA babysitter is kidnapped and another girl takes her place to watch over a couple’s three children as they celebrate their anniversary.  The minute the parents leave the house, the new sitter turns the weird factor way up and begins with a series on increasingly creepy games and situations. Written by Richard Raymond Harry Herbeck and director Michael Thelin, the story gets going very fast here.

Characters are introduced and the viewer is given enough information to know why and how the parents decided to get a new sitter for the night, the children are introduced with small bits of story for each as the sitter needs to know.  The parents leave and she is left in charge.  More is revealed as the story dictates but a lot is kept in the dark for as long as can be to add to the suspense and mystery of the story and who this babysitter is.  The kids are believable and so are the parents who are somewhat happy yet celebrating their anniversary.  The sitter is left hazy on purpose.

The story is directed quite well by Michael Thelin who has mostly a resume of concerts and live events.  Emelie shows that he can take a story and keep the suspense on screen while developing believable characters.  These characters are acted by a small cast, one that is considered the most difficult to work with as there are three children involved.  These kids are well directed and give good performances.  The two youngest being mostly inexperienced, this is not small feat. The older son, played by Joshua Rush, is done in a way that seems perfect for a tween with a desire to be an adult.

The main part, the piece de resistance of this movie however is the babysitter part, the title character played by Sarah Bolger who turns the creep on and off on a dime at times and bring just the right amount of “how crazy is this chick” to her character.  She supports most of the movie and does so with talent and aplomb.  The rest of the cast is also good, clearly having been carefully chosen for each of their parts, from the worried parents, to the playful best friend, to the concerned original babysitter.

Most the movie is set in one house, the one the children are familiar with, giving them the upper hand a in terms of knowing where things are but it also adds to the familiarity.  It’s a house, a home, where kids clearly live, making it look like it could happen in any home, in any city.

This film builds its suspense and tension through story and characters, there is almost no blood and honestly, I thought no more blood than what was there was needed.  The situation is scary enough on its own for any parent out there or anyone who cares for the wellbeing of children in general.  The creepy stuff the sitter puts the kids through in increasingly weird ways is enough to make anyone uncomfortable without the need for a lot of violence or blood.  This film proves that ambiance counts for a lot and that paired with good performances can make a film very very creepy.

Emelie, which had originally caught my attention for having a name so close to mine, is an entertaining, creepy film that brings the suspense and tension with good performances all around and some scenes that will make any viewer uncomfortable, no matter how many movies they are seen.  It’s also looks very good on blu ray making picking it up or renting it on BR a good plan for a night in with a movie and a relaxing (well, maybe not so much) time.