By Cheryl Bauder Staff Writer
Netflix’s original movie “The Babysitter” marks the beginning of Generation Z in horror. Step aside millennials, there’s a fresh audience old enough to watch scary films, and they’re bringing new excitement and possibilities to the scene.
It is generally agreed upon that the difference between the millennial generation and Gen Z is one defining factor: When 9/11 struck, did you understand its gravity? Meaning millennials are suspicious of everything, making horror films like “The Purge” and “Happy Death Day” their perfect cup of tea. These films play on millennials’ fascination with dystopian worlds and their incredulous nature.
However, Gen Z took millennials’ apprehension, combined it with the liberal use of technology and became ultra-sarcastic. The generation that now fills universities and consumes horror flicks is sassy and unafraid to show it. Therefore, social media celebrities and fake personalities strike humorous cords that are relatable to today’s young adults.
“The Babysitter” plays heavily on this growing trend. The cult members and popular young actors from Disney Channel and YouTube worry about their Instagram followers even as they are covered in blood. The characters are overtly fake, which is comical to a generation that lives with Snapchat filters and Photoshop. An example of this kind of humor is Allison, played by Bella Thorne, commenting on how quickly a video of the murder would go viral; only someone from Gen Z would consider that immediately.
Directing for this younger generation also brings another scare tactic that previously would have been less realistic. Cole, the protagonist played by Judah Lewis, does not understand how locks function. If a director had attempted to portray a child character unable to utilize an old-fashioned lock a decade ago, no audience would have taken it seriously. But Cole is a modern kid, so it is possible for him to be accustomed to automatic locks. The basic security measure that is manually locking a deadbolt is a foreign concept to some children. The horror genre will be able to prey on this sense of sheltered innocence to create even more terrifying scenarios.
“The Babysitter” is the beginning of Generation Z’s presence in adult genres, and this is the first time its influence and characteristics have been portrayed in horror. It promises to bring fresh anxiety-inducing features based on real world circumstances of growing up. And since older generations enjoy mocking any generation before them, these additions will surely be a hit with all audiences.