Case Number 13830: Small Claims Court


Genius Products // 2007 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // June 13th, 2008

The Charge

Their worst nightmare just moved in.

The Case

Stop me if you've heard this one: Affluent couple with nauseatingly precocious children hires hot young babysitter, who turns out to be crazy, and --

Ah, you have heard this one. Um, should I mention that the sitter has a thing for the husband?

You guessed that, huh? And it doesn't matter that the husband is a wimpy cornball with all the sex appeal of a number two pencil, right?

Uh, how about this: When people start to catch on to the sitter's evil intent, they wind up...dead!

Dang, you're way ahead of me.

The Sitter is actually a made-for-TV movie that originally aired on the dreaded Lifetime Network under the confusing and irrelevant title While the Children Sleep. The DVD case doesn't mention that, but it does prominently feature the word "Unrated," even though, as a TV movie, this was never "rated" to begin with.

Abby the sitter (Mariana Klaveno) has apparently been waiting years to infiltrate the home of the annoyingly named Carter Eastman (William R. Moses, Falcon Crest). When Carter's wife, Meghan (Gail O'Grady, NYPD Blue), decides to re-enter the work force, Abby becomes the live-in babysitter for their irritating children.

Apparently, there's a dearth of attractive, pre-menopausal women in this sleepy bedroom community, because whenever a male character encounters the lovely Abby, the reaction is the same: eyes bulge out, jaw drops, and tongue hits floor. Every male character except Carter, that is. He seems immune to the sitter's "I could be a contestant on The Real World"-brand of beauty.

When one lecherous chap gets a little too close, Abby plays coy throwing him to the ground and ramming a shovel into his neck, then loading his body into his car and sending it off a bridge. Fortunately for Little Miss Embodiment of Evil, the coroner can't tell the difference between a shovel through the neck and a car crash, so no one thinks anything of this untimely death, and she's free to go on decimating B-list TV actors.

I will say that, for a Lifetime TV movie, there is a fair amount of mayhem brought on by Abby's misuse of common household items. My personal favorite: the classic and too-seldom-used "electronic device in the warm bath" offing.

Unfortunately, these moments are a long time coming. For most of the film's 88-minute running time, it can't decide whether it's a low-impact, derivative thriller or a low-impact, derivative satire. The actors are OK -- they all seem really, really happy to be there -- but the direction is uninspired, and the overwrought score sounds like it's been used in every "Lifetime Original Movie" that's ever been produced.

The film looks and sounds fine, no better or worse than I imagine it did when broadcast. There are no extras -- the menu gives you "Play" and "Scene Selection" options -- but before the feature, there's a whole mess of teasers and trailers for other terrible-looking TV-to-DVD movies, virtually all of which -- including Shark Swarm, Grizzly Rage, In the Spider's Web, Blood Monkey, and Maneater -- were reviewed here by Judge David Johnson.

Which is the pretty much coolest thing about this disc.

Review content copyright © 2008 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 65

Perp Profile
Studio: Genius Products
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb