Sitter, The (DVD Review)8 Jun, 2008 By: David Greenberg
Stars Gail O’Grady, William R. Moses, Mariana Klaveno.
It is a true testament to a particular scenario and its conventions when a film with such a wildly by-the-book screenplay such as The Sitter (also known as While The Children Sleep) can be as engrossing, compelling and entertaining as it is while also being almost completely devoid of anything that resembles originality.
The point here is that audiences love this kind of thing, innocents unwittingly welcoming evil into their lives and then banding together, patching up differences and becoming stronger people in order to face the threat, and the makers of this film totally exploit this dynamic to good effect.
First off, it is simply impossible to avoid the long shadows cast by one of the giants of the cop/teacher/neighbor/spouse/child/fill-in-the-blank) from hell genre, Curtis Hanson’s The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, from which The Sitter liberally borrows. Therefore, it’s better to accept and ignore this minor detail and appreciate this film for what it has.
Little known except for handfuls of appearances in TV shows and small films, Klaveno leads an earnest and capable cast, really sinking her teeth into the role of a live-in sitter, Abby, who is troubled but usually in control of her considerable issues.
She is utterly convincing and appealing as both the dark and the light sides of the character struggle for dominance within her, but alternate as various situations present themselves.
Moses, who famously had more conventional babysitter issues (i.e. a fling) 20 years ago in Mystic Pizza, as the vulnerable father and O’Grady as his wife are quite good.
Veteran director Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil: Extinction) broke into the feature film business on the strength of his stylish Duran Duran videos in the 1980s and he thankfully injects this run of the mill film with much needed visual panache.