You can kind of see what they were going for with The Nanny. A Guillermo del Toro style fantasy/horror but on a much lesser budget. The end result is a misshapen, frustrating watch that plays its hand so early that the rest of the movie is a meandering mess.
Leonor (Jamie Murray) is a pre-teen girl constantly getting into scraps at school while protecting her quiet younger brother, Michael (Christian Ganiere). This is how we’re introduced to her as she waits in the principal’s office.
She’s a smart mouth kid much to the frustration of her mother, Anna (Schuyler Fisk). She is nurse and forced to work odd hours so decides she has to hire a nanny to look after the pair. Cue a montage where the two kids formulate a plan to reject any and all takers.
With the list exhausted, it seems as though no nanny meets the criteria and I was expecting them to break into song ala Mary Poppins but suddenly there is knock at the door.
At the door is a smartly dressed, British accented woman (Emily Troedson) who says she is here for the nanny job. The Mary Poppins vibe grows and grows until she seemingly hypnotises Anna into letting her in and taking the job. Not only that, she convinces Anna to let her live there and take care of the kids 24/7. Michael is instantly taken in by her but Leonor is wary. For good reason too as it is quickly revealed that she has supernatural powers.
The film isn’t coy about this at all. We see the woman move impossibly fast, open doors without touching them and have what appears to be wings. Add this to her sinister tone and threatening pleasant demeanour and it’s pretty obvious she has plans for the kids. Just what are those plans though and will anyone believe Leonor?
One thing that The Nanny can be praised for is its direction. It does not go where most would expect. However, that direction is hilariously bad leading to an incredibly flat and stake-less ending.
A dull start is improved when we meet the nanny as things get mysterious and sinister but as soon as the film shows its hand, it reverts back to being a dull watch. Why it chose to not keep things rooted in mystery for longer is very puzzling.
Some of the cast do what they can with such a middling story but most do very little to lift things. An attempt to force emotional stakes in when we’d had no investment prior just highlights the average acting even more. Then there is the ‘SyFy’ style CGI and the ending. The former can be excused to a degree because of its low budget but the ending? It’s like the writers didn’t know how to close things out and went with the most disappointing option.
Credit could be given for what is a movie with some imagination. Sadly t does everything so halfheartedly it really doesn’t deserve it in the end.