Die! Sitter! Die! Rupert
Alison is barely getting by, having to pay for her mother's cancer treatment. She takes a late night babysitting gig, where she's led to believe that all she has to do is take care of an infant. However, it soon becomes obvious that the job is a whole lot bigger than anticipated and equally as terrifying.
Lee Boxleitner, Sam Boxleitner, Alex Holcomb
Lee Boxleitner, Sam Boxleitner
Caitlin Reilly as Alison
Damille Cole Heard as Philip
Screening to an enthusiastic crowd at this year’s Screamfest, Die! Sitter! Die! Rupert is a fantastic short film – with the intention (and mouth-watering promise) of becoming the second segment in a forthcoming anthology feature from The Boxleitner Brothers (yes, they’re the sons of prolific actor Bruce). Last year, this writing/producing/directing brother team released the hysterically funny and equally as frightening short, Downstairs, which did well in the festival circuit. So it was with great anticipation that I settled in for this latest effort. Despite The Boxleitner Bros. best efforts to deflate expectations, Die! Sitter! Die! Rupert really delivered!
In Rupert, a young woman is desperate to make some extra cash, to contend with her ailing mother’s necessary cancer treatments. She answers a telephone pole ad for a babysitting gig, and thus begins her tailspin into something giddily out of the ordinary, perversely funny and deeply terrifying.
In tone and even look, I was reminded of Romero’s original Creepshow. Helping this comparison along is the retro music by co-director Sam Boxleitner. Right from the get-go, the music was pleasingly reminiscent of John Harrison’s outstanding synthesizer work on Creepshow. It perfectly establishes the mood of the film, and sets you up for the gnarly and gag-worthy journey you’re about to take.
As Alison, the unsuspecting babysitter, Caitlin Reilly really provides the wetworks. Alison’s clearly desperate at the outset, having just received a 12K bill for her mother’s chemo treatments. She blows off her two-year anniversary dinner with her boyfriend Philip (Damille Cole-Heard) to take this baby-sitting job for this one long night in this mysterious and lavish mansion. I can’t say much more, for fear of spoiling the fun, but Reilly has several accomplished acting moments as she deals with what she finds in Rupert’s room. Every shot of Alison’s ensuing struggle is believable and true. And it’s all a credit to Reilly’s genuine work. I can mention this detail, as it happens long before Alison reaches this sprawling home. Even before the s*** hits the fan (ahem), Alison’s anger and struggle to remain calm in light of her financial woes and the mounting and selfish pressure from boyfriend Philip — is perfectly captured by Reilly. There’s immediate sympathy — well before she first reacts to the gentle cooing on the other end of that baby monitor.
So you’re wondering… what’s the catch? Well, I can’t reveal all of the fun and smelly secrets you’ll discover when watching the film, but I can certainly tell you what I expected. Would baby Rupert be a doll? A demon? A grieving mother, playing the part of child as well as care-taker? Sadly, it’s not for me to say.
When I ranked the shorts in this year’s Screamfest, I ended up placing Die! Sitter! Die! Rupert in an enviable 4th place out of close to 40 total short pieces. Not too shabby. And totally worthy.
As for the feature, the surround story will follow a bitter babysitter as she horrifies her young ward with tales of struggling and terrorized babysitters. Any details on the other episodes within the film? Not yet.
The filmmakers plan to premiere the completed piece by Halloween 2016, so stay tuned!