The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - THE NURSERY | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - THE NURSERY

the nursery horror movie review
A babysitter is menaced by a malevolent presence.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Christopher A. Micklos, Jay Sapiro

Starring: Emmaline Friederichs, Madeline Conway, Carly Rae James Sauer, Claudio Parrone Jr.

the nursery horror movie poster

Babysitters have had it tough in horrors for many years now. From When a Stranger Calls to Halloween to many, many other examples, it seems this ‘easy’ job should now come with danger money, what with all the devilry and stalking maniacs it appears to attract.

Ranae (Madeline Conway), whose mother died tragically a year ago, is on her way to babysit for cautious couple Roman and Tanya, and you just know it's going to be a night of both carnage and catharsis for our young minder.

Dropped off at the house by her BFF Calista (Emmaline Friederichs), she is told by the nervous parents that they’ll be back home to baby Miller by 1am at the latest - plenty of time for things to go horribly pear-shaped for young Ranae.

It's all fairly standard fare with the occasional dark shadow and crying baby punctuating the night and some strange unexplained ‘time glitches’, until she receives an MMS from Calista that opens to a bloody pic with the words "poor mommy."

the nursery horror movie

She understandably freaks out and calls her friend to ask why she’d send such a horrible thing. I guess their friendship isn’t as rock solid as it first seemed, as Ranae doesn’t believe Calista when she claims she didn’t send it.

Concerned about Ranae, Calista drops what she is doing and heads over to the home with two friends in tow to keep her company (not sure how happy I’d be if I were the parents coming home to four people in my house).

The extra friends are doormat Grace and obnoxious Jeremy (Carly Rae James Sauer and Claudio Parrone Jnr respectively).

Before long, Ranae is tormented by glimpses of a girl-shaped being in the home, and after one too many hysterical reactions Calista sits her down to advise her to get back on the meds she’d stopped taking a week before. Ranae rightly points out that they are antidepressants not antipsychotics - not all mental health issues are interchangeable; it's commendable of the script to acknowledge that.

While they are left alone in the lounge room (right next door!), Jeremy and Grace decide to randomly have sex on the couch (yeah right) but their furtive nookie is interrupted by Grace’s own sighting of ghosty girl.

the nursery horror movie

Jeremy (who Calista endearingly calls ‘Babydick’ - a well-earned insult) takes the ‘asshole friend’ shtick a little too far; indeed he is too misogynistically hateful for the audience to believe that these women would ever have him in their friend group.

Inexplicably sweaty Ranae gets all the exposition she needs skyping with emotionless younger brother Ray (Marco Lama - underwhelming). Luckily he’s studying paranormal phenomena and can answer all her questions. Through a series of fortuitous findings, the friends discover who the ghost child is and it turns out that she (and evidently all ghosts) is only dangerous on the anniversary of her death.

Guess what day it is!

Directed by Christopher A Micklos and Jay Shapiro from a script written by Micklos, The Nursery has the kernel of a decent idea but the story feels muddy with an uneven tone and mixed bag performances. Having the character of Calista wander about in the dark bowels of the house, knowing the danger she’s in, is beyond ridiculous, as is the fact that Ranae is always shown with beads of sweat all over her face as if she’s just returned from a particularly punishing workout at the gym.

the nursery horror movie

The scares are pedestrian and generic, with the exception of one very effective twist concerning Ray near the end - that scene gave me actual chills.

The acting is mostly average, with Parrone a standout as giant douche Jeremy, and Friederichs finding some emotional truth in her performance as Calista.

As for the villain/s, the killer's J-Horror appearance recalls better movies and feels as if the filmmakers are just using a proven trope rather than an aesthetic that works within this individual film.

The ending also fails to find a satisfying resolution and ultimately doesn’t work for me, but there is fun to be had here and it did keep me watching.

Babysitting is as dangerous as ever.

The Nursery is on VOD June 5th.