The new horror thriller Emelie is a must see cautionary tale about the people that parents allow into their children’s lives. Forgoing the typical blood and gore horror that has become more commonplace lately, this film offers a classic suspenseful story that is realistic, genuinely creepy, and will keep most viewers on the edge of their seats.
The suspense kicks off within the first minute of the film as we are introduced to a babysitter named Anna who is very quickly kidnapped. While we don’t really get a good look at the abducted Anna, when “Anna” (Sarah Bolger; Once Upon a Time, Agent Carter) is picked up by Dan Thompson (Chris Beetem) in the next couple scenes, we know something isn’t right; especially after she drops a couple hints that Dan probably should have questioned (“I just call them Sleepy and Grumpy”) if he and his wife weren’t focused on their anniversary dinner.
The babysitter’s intentions aren’t quite clear in the beginning. Soon after she is alone with the three kids, 11-year-old Jacob (Joshua Rush; Mr. Peabody and Sherman), 9-year-old Sally and 4-year-old Christopher (newcomers Carly Adams and Thomas Bair, respectively), she starts snooping through the house, cutting them off, and she has mixed attitudes towards the children; she tries to get on their good side at times but also appears menacing and heartless at other times. While Jacob may have initially been enamored with her, his views change when he learns she’s not who she claims (about the same time that a bedtime story reveals her backstory and true motives to the audience) and it is left up to him to stop this “evil” person that has entered their home.
Sarah Bolger shows she can be creepy and absolutely chilling; a complete departure from Once Upon a Time’s Princess Aurora or some of the other wholesome, upbeat characters she has portrayed. The Thompson family members are also very respectable in their respective roles. The ominous music and shadowy accomplice adds to the tension and makes for a somewhat exhilarating story.
Emelie has some flaws. Above, I alluded to the absent-mindedness of the parents as they are trying to have a night just for them while missing a couple obvious red flags. We never learn anything about Faux-Anna’s accomplice, who is present through a lot of the film, and some of their plan succeeds based on chance or coincidence; like when they kidnap the real Anna, there are potential witnesses all around that just clear out in that instant. In addition, there are some scenes that are predictable and/or anti-climactic. But, aside from these issues, I enjoyed this film and would mildly recommend it.