Emelie

Emelie, from director Michael Thelin, features Sarah Bolger as the titular Emelie, a young woman playing last-minute substitute for a family’s usual babysitter. But unfortunately for this family, Emelie isn’t the replacement they were expecting.

Sometimes movies start great, and then immediately fuck it up. This is one of those.

I gave Emelie about twenty minutes, just because the premise seemed really screwed up and the opening couple minutes were really cool. Just this simple, effective shot of this girl getting casually kidnapped in broad daylight, letting us know the real babysitter is getting replaced with a fake who is there to do some messed up shit for some reason. Cool. I’m fully invested in the first sixty seconds. That is awesome.

But then, it takes twenty minutes to kinda-sorta get to the point where we should be around ten minutes in. Emelie is only 90 minutes. There’s no time to slowly show us all about the family, their lives and relationships, getting the fake babysitter to the house, into the house, settled in with the kids, and then, eventually, the parents fucking off. And even after that, nothing happens. She just goes right on being a fairly chill babysitter.

Look. I already know the babysitter’s fake. I already know these kids and their folks are about to go through Hell. So just get on with it. Make with the crazy. I don’t need this slow, drawn out reveal of something I already know.

Sarah Bolger’s pretty good, though. She’s definitely nailed that “crazed inner-life beneath a calm exterior” thing down real good. I just wish she was doin’ that in a good movie.

Emelie feels like it was destined to be a bullshit five-minute segment on “deadly women” docu-series on some random cable channel, but nothing real that was also this crazy yet ungodly boring ever really happened. So someone made a 90-minute movie out of it instead.

I feel conned.

I skipped through the rest. Nothing happens. Not really. Couple really fucked up scenes, but nothing really violent or perverse. Just weird. Otherwise it’s just this crazy chick playing house and being weird with these kids. I don’t know if she wanted to kidnap them. Or kill them. Or whatever. Shit just kinda happens, and I don’t care.

Emelie proves that no matter how cool a premise you have, no matter how talented your crazy lead might be, and no matter how good a movie actually looks and sounds, it’s still entirely possible to make a bad movie when you forget to put in everything else. Like a plot. Or a story. Or scares or thrills or excitement.

Maybe I’m just getting old. People watch other people open boxes of random shit on the internet. For fun. So what do I know?

Steve Arviso
A former professional hugger, Steve Arviso is now a semi-pro writer with a love for pop culture and a face made for radio. He often spends what money he does have on penny whistles and moonpies.

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