Film Festival Movie Review

Film Review: EMELIE: A Nail-Biting Thriller [Tribeca 2015]

Sarah Bolger Emelie

Emelie (2015) Film Review from the 14th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, a movie directed by Michael Thelin, starring Sarah Bolger, Joshua Rush, Carly Adams, Thomas Bair, Susan Pourfar, and Chris Beetem.

Emelie is a provocative thriller that puts a spin on the babysitter/slasher films where we see that even the scariest villains have motives that are relatable to the viewer. The film is the debut of music director Michael Thelin, who instills some realism into the story and the cast.

The movie starts with the Thompson family unable to find a babysitter for kids when the regular babysitter Maggie can’t make it. Maggie sends in her friend Anna (Sarah Bolger) to watch over the children while the parents go out to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

When we see Anna, she seems like a nice person who looks like she can be a good babysitter. However, all isn’t what it seems with her when Anna starts allowing the children to do things that their parents wouldn’t approve of. Of course the kids are glad that their new babysitter is laid back and lets them get away with things like drawing on the walls or using furniture to play dress up. Anna’s behavior starts becoming abnormal as the kids slowly find out what her true motives are.

The movie ends up killing the suspense when we fight out straight off the bat that Anna isn’t who she says she is with her sinister looks and her behavior towards the children. The only one who catches this is the oldest son Jacob (Joshua Rush) when he spots his babysitter using the toilet during a game of hide-and-seek. Anna even allowed Jacob to come in and help her find a tampon. The next thing that seemed odd to Jacob was when Anna feeds the pet snake with little sister Sally’s (Carly Adams) hamster rather than a dead mouse. On top of that, Anna allowed the kids to watch a sex tape made by their parents. Jacob was smart enough to snoops into her bag and finding a Canadian ID with her real name being Emelie.

Emelie’s intentions were pretty clear once she had an eye on the youngest sibling Christopher (Thomas Bair) with plans to kidnap the child. Emelie turned out to have a child in the past who she accidently killed after the baby suffered from hyperthermia. She meets a skinny stranger (Robert Bozek) who helps Emelie find a replacement child for her. As her silent partner keeps an eye on the parents, Emelie does what ever she can to execute the kidnapping without leaving a trace. The rest of the plot thickens as the kids try to find their way of escape from the babysitter’s mind games.

As twisted as that sounds, we can understand where Emelie is coming from. She lost her child, which tore her apart and wants her baby or cubby as she puts it back in her arms. So in her twisted mind, finding the right child would put her at ease. By kidnapping the replacement sitter and masquerading as her, Emelie put her plans in motion. Sarah Bolger does a fine job playing the sadistic babysitter in her first villainous role of her startling career. Coming from shows like The Tudors and Once Upon a Time, the British beauty does remarkably well in her first lead role. Sarah puts in an amount of raw talent into her character, which should put her on the map to more roles in the future.

Overall, first time film director Michael Thelin makes this thriller into a character development piece as we understand the reasons behind Emelie’s psychotic endeavor. We pretty much know where the film is headed as Emelie’s motives become clear. There’s some slow pacing in the first half, but the thrills soon intensify as we reach the dramatic conclusion.

Rating: 6/10

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About the author

Mufsin Mahbub

Mufsin is a freelance writer from New York who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism at Long Island University. He has written for publications like HollywoodLife, Clubplanet, and Heavy. He is an avid lover for everything related to TV and film. He has gone to dozens of film screenings, press events, and loves to attend New York Comic Con every year. He gives an honest opinion on every TV show or film that people are going to be talking about.

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