Directed by: Lee Boxleitner and Sam Boxleitner
Written by: Sam Boxleitner, Lee Boxleitner and Alex Holcomb
Cast: Lee Boxleitner Caitlin Reilly, Demille Cole-Heard
Strapped for cash a young woman answers the call for a babysitter.
Directorial duo The Boxleitner Brothers hit as often as they miss on Die! Sitter! Die!: Rupert, a sporadically effective but unquestionably inventive spin on the various urban legends surrounding terrorised babysitters. An occasionally shaky script is offset by a trio of committed central performances, but when the film’s central plot conceit opens up, it does still feel like something of a missed opportunity.
Alison (Caitlin Reilly) is in a tight spot, to say the least of it. Landed with a $12,000 chemotherapy bill, her enduring struggle to make ends meet and care for her mother is grinding her down, not to mention putting her relationship with her boyfriend Philip (Damille Cole-Heard) under pressure. When she spots an advert looking for a babysitter, she jumps at the chance of some easy money. However, all is not as it seems, and while here is no place to spoil what comes next, proceeding escalate in ways you won’t ever see coming.
Die! Sitter! Die!: Rupert, grammatically overloaded title aside, is a frustrating outing. Committed performances and a genuinely unsettling central story are overshadowed by its susceptibility to genre trappings, and it doesn’t always succeed in the atmospherics department quite like it should. That being said, there’s plenty to like here, and enough promise to keep The Boxleitner Brothers on our “ones to watch” list.
Die Sitter Die is the new short from the Boxleitner brothers who also did last year’s ghost short Downstairs. This time they have gone in an altogether different direction with their take on the babysitter in peril synopsis. This is a difficult one to write about without spoiling the fun of the reveal but I will do my best.
The sitter of the title is struggling financially when she discovers a really well paid, seemingly simple babysitting job. Upon arriving at residence, she is in awe of its size and the obvious fortunes of its owners however after entering the house all starts to seem a little odd as no-one but the baby, Rupert, is home. Armed with the baby monitor her job has begun. But when she first has to tend to Rupert she realises this is no ordinary babysitting job and soon realises her life is on the line.
Rupert is a funny, icky, tense and thoroughly enjoyable short film. The performances are spot on and the direction from the Boxleitners lends an unpleasant atmosphere over the proceedings. Especially in one scene which may leave many viewers reaching (or retching) for the sick bucket! Please don’t think this is a criticism of the film as it’s far from it. This was the intention and they pulled it off superbly.
The escape/capture scenario which flows for the second half of the film is nothing new, however the way in which they have done it makes it feel fresh and original. I certainly couldn’t recall anything quite like this, except in a true life story – but they do say reality is stranger than fiction.
The directing duo know their material well and were aware enough to provide a suitably satisfactory ending (doesn’t mean it’s happy – just satisfying) leaving you feeling that you were given closure to what you have watched. Not all shorts provide this and can leave you wondering what just happened. Which dependent on the set up can be fine but would not have worked in this case.
It feels like it has a high production value due to the quality of the picture, sound and lavish location which is a credit to everyone involved. It’s beautifully lit and brilliantly shot. All round Die Sitter Die oozes quality. It’s about time these boys gave us a feature film.
You often catch films or shorts that endear themselves to your heart instantly. Normally from some stunt, gimmick or gag that just catches you right. The Ten Steps is probably the first short that did this, and has remained a firm favourite for over a decade. Die Sitter Die:Rupert is the latest short to grab my attention like an attacking dog, it might well be my favourite of the year so far (and their have been some absolute crackers screened over the course of 2015).
I really cant say too much about Rupert without ruining the twists and surprise, it needs to be seen, I could write the plot scene by scene here and the reason I loved this so much would still be missing. The performance by Lee Boxleitner, its just brilliant. A Comic, horrifying and sickening performance in only 15 minutes screen time. The cinematography is great the score is brilliant (I want to own it badly).
Its fun, its twisted, its a total ‘what the frig did I just watch’ short that just hit a groove and made me want to watch it again. Whatever these guys do next – I want to see it.