Starring: Sarah Bolger, Chris Beetem, Joshua Rush, Carly Adams
Running time: 82 Minutes
Directed by: Michael Thelin
Year of release: 2016
As the youngest member of my family I often found myself with babysitters…My older brothers, other family members, neighborhood girls or moms, and sometimes complete strangers that my parents got from an agency. Given the current state of the world it’s almost unfathomable that you would leave your children with a complete stranger. Such is the crux of the plot in Emelie, a horror/thriller about children left alone with a new sitter.
Dan and his wife are planning a night out to celebrate their anniversary. When their regular sitter, Maggie, is unavailable, she recommends her friend Anna. Dan picks up Anna but what we know, and Dan doesn’t, is that this isn’t Anna. Dan and his wife introduce “anna” to their three children: Christopher, Sally, and Jacob, the oldest at 11.
At first Anna seems to be fun, letting the kids play dress-up and allowing them to stay up past their bedtimes. Things start odd with Anna sitting on a toilet and asking for Jacob to get her a tampon. But things soon take a terrifying turn, beginning with Anna feeding Sally’s pet mouse to a snake. Anna then declares it’s time to watch a movie and pops in a homemade porn with the kids parents. Jacob, secretly searches through Anna’s purse and discovers that her real name is Emelie. Emelie has not arrived to care for the children but has a far more sinister purpose in mind. Jacob finds himself as the man of the house and has to protect his younger siblings from this psychotic stranger.
“Emelie” definitely starts out with a lot of promise. Sarah Bolger, who starred in “Once Upon a Time” and was most recently seen in several episodes of “Agent Carter”, strikes the right notes as the unhinged Emelie. The three child actors all do a great job in just being realistic kids in every manner. You never feel like they are acting.
The film begins to sputter when we get Emelie’s backstory which drivers her motivations for her behavior. It’s silly and quite frankly makes little sense at all. If her ultimate goal is to try to abduct one of the children then why set off suspicion with all of the bizarre behavior? Was she just that psychotic? She was certainly able to put on the happy face when dealing with the appearance and with Maggie when she comes to check up on things.
The final 20 minutes or so descends into a sort of R-rated version of Home Alone as Jacob tries to keep his siblings safe from Emelie. He even has a treehouse in his backyard that becomes his safe haven. After establishing an interesting premise that every parent fears, Director Michael Thelin seems to have run out of ideas on how to wrap up the film. Because of this “Emelie” is just a slightly above average thriller.
Making of Featurette (13:05)