Top 20+ Babysitter Horror Movies

Have you checked on the children?

Carol Kane stars as a babysitter in When a Stranger Calls (1979).

Table of Contents

Babysitter horror movies tend to overlap with kidnapping and home-invasion movies. But they’ve found their own special niche in horror because two innocent and vulnerable groups—both the babies and the sitters—are placed in harm’s way by malicious forces. It doesn’t matter whether those forces be human antagonists, supernatural entities, or even entirely in the victim’s head. Horror gets much of its power by juxtaposing the weak and vulnerable against remorseless forces of evil because at some point in our lives, we’ve all felt threatened and powerless.

The popular urban legend “the babysitter and the man upstairs”, as depicted in Urban Legend (1998), is a well known horror story about babysitting.

There’s a special sub-genre of babysitter horror movies, though, which flip the script entirely and cast the babysitter as the evil force. The following is a list of the best babysitter horror movies ever made. So make sure the baby is asleep, lock the doors, and ignore those scratching sounds at the window—it’s probably just a tree branch…

Old Babysitter Horror Movies

Fright (1971)

Horror fans consider Fright to be the first film to use the horror trope of an isolated babysitter who gets stalked by a madman.

Amanda (Susan George) is a beautiful young blonde babysitter who takes a job one evening in a remote mansion in the British countryside. Over the night, a series of creepy occurrences lead her to the horrifying realization that the house is being stalked by the ex-husband of the baby’s mother, who has just escaped from an asylum after trying to kill the mother and strangle the baby. Roger Ebert says, “Because Susan George is awfully good at playing threatened, innocent, blond victims (cf. her rape scene in ‘Straw Dogs’), and because Ian Bannen makes a suitable maniacal and homicidal killer, ‘Fright’ is a passably good thriller.”

Halloween (1978)

Laurie and Annie smoke and discuss their evening plans to babysit.

After viewing the 1976 John Carpenter film Assault on Precinct 13, a pair of movie producers approached Carpenter with an idea—they wanted him to write and direct a film about a terrorized babysitter. Carpenter agreed, and along with his ex-girlfriend Debra Hill, herself a former babysitter, they worked on a script about a man who had murdered his sister on Halloween night fifteen years prior, only to escape from the mental hospital, return to his town, and start stalking babysitters. And thus was born one of the most famous horror franchises of all time.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Music lovers will appreciate this horror film’s Oscar nominated original score.

The Amityville Horror is based on the real-life story of Ronnie DeFeo, who murdered his entire family one night in 1974 at their house in the village of Amityville on Long Island. After another couple bought the house, they reported several disturbing incidents that suggested the house was haunted. The Amityville Horror involves a babysitter, but she’s not central to the plot—a phantom demon locks her inside a bedroom closet as it terrorizes the house.

When A Stranger Calls (1979)

Imagine babysitting and receiving a creepy call saying, “have you checked the children lately?”

Based on an urban legend known as “the babysitter and the man upstairs,” When a Stranger Calls stars Carol Kane as Jill Johnson, who starts receiving harassing phone calls one night while babysitting a doctor’s children. She doesn’t realize until it’s too late that the caller is inside the house and has already murdered all the children. She escapes unharmed—if emotionally shattered—only for the killer to come back seven years later with the intent of killing her.

The Babysitter (1980)

The Babysitter is considered to be the first “evil babysitter” movie.

This made-for-TV movie came up with a new twist—it’s not the babysitter being terrorized; the babysitter is the terrorist. Stephanie Zimbalist stars as a mentally imbalanced young woman who takes on a babysitting gig while attempting to seduce the father (William Shatner) and enabling the mother (Patty Duke) to sink further into alcoholism. The Babysitter was said to be a huge influence on 1992’s The Hand That Rocks the Cradle as well as other non-babysitter-related films involving malicious females who seek to destroy domestic tranquility such as Fatal Attraction and Single White Female.

Bloody Birthday (1981)

Ed Hunt directed and co-wrote this bloody slasher film.

Three children who were born during the height of a solar eclipse return ten years later to start murdering people, including their family members. One night, a babysitter named Joyce agrees to sit a little boy named Timmy, completely unaware that she’s walking straight into a death trap. Two of the three murderous children attempt to shoot Joyce to death, while the third tries to strangle her using a jump rope.

Alone in the Dark (1982)

Alone in the Dark is often forgotten horror survival and slasher film with baby-sitter impersonation.

American film production company New Line Cinema brought us this 80s slasher classic that involves four violent psychopaths escaping from a mental hospital. It is also a home invasion movie, as one of the psychopaths pretends to be the babysitter, until the real babysitter shows up.

The Guardian (1990)

This horror mystery film was based on a novel called The Nanny (1987).

In this babysitter horror movie co-written and directed by William Friedkin of The Exorcist fame, a young couple with a newborn child hires a nanny. But how were they to know that the nanny was actually an ancient tree nymph who kidnaps children and sacrifices them to an evil tree that thrives on the blood of the innocent?

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

Six-year old Madeline Zima made her acting debut in this drama thriller.

Facing multiple charges of sexual abuse, a Seattle obstetrician kills himself, leaving his pregnant wife all alone and unable to fend for herself. Making matters worse, the trauma of his suicide causes her to miscarry. To enact vengeance against one of her husband’s accusers, she poses as a nanny for their family and slowly proceeds to destroy their lives.

When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)

Carol Kane reprised her role as Jill Johnson in When a Stranger Calls Back.

This is a really enjoyable made-for-television sequel to When a Stranger Calls (1979). Both Carol Kane and Charles Durning reprised their roles from the original and Fred Walton returned to direct. The plot follows Julia Jenz (Jill Schoelen) as she is terrorized by an intruder while babysitting one night and her charges disappear and are never seen again. Five years later, Julia is a college student who still believes she is stalked by the intruder. She turns to Jill Johnson (Carol Kane), now a counselor at her college, for help.

New Babysitter Horror Movies

The Babysitters (2007)

Things spiral out of control after a teenager starts an escort service disguised as a babysitting club.

A crime drama, The Babysitters isn’t about the horror of someone attacking an innocent but about the horror of growing up and making mistakes — and how adults can prey on teens. Shirley Lyner (Katherine Waterston) starts a babysitting service but when one of her clients, Michael Beltran (John Leguizamo), kisses her and then bribes her to stay quiet, she realizes she can make more money running an escort service for predator dads.

The Sitter (2007)

The original title for this tv-movie was While the Children Sleep.

In this made-for-TV horror film that was also released as When The Children Sleep, a woman named Abby is hired as a live-in babysitter. Shortly after she moves in, friends of the family start disappearing one by one. It slowly becomes apparent that the highly resentful Abby is plotting to harm the children’s mother because she wants to be their mother instead. This is yet another entry in the “evil babysitter” sub-genre.

Babysitter Wanted (2008)

Babysitter Wanted: It’s clear the babysitter didn’t want this.

A young and devoutly religious girl named Angie (Sarah Thompson) accepts a baby-sitting assignment at a rural farm after answering an ad placed on a college message board, only to wind up being terrorized by mysterious forces throughout the night. Film Critics United says, “Surprisingly effective would be my quick summation of ‘Babysitter Wanted’. The movie starts out in very familiar territory with such staples as an innocent girl, a freaky guy following her, and an immense over reliance on mood music but as the movie plays on, despite the fact it never really leaves familiar town, it just draws you in its story.”

The House Of The Devil (2009)

Greta Gerwig appeared in this horror flick one decade before becoming an Oscar-nominated director.

A young college student named Samantha accepts a babysitting job on the night of a full lunar eclipse. Over the course of the night, she realizes that her clients weren’t who they portrayed themselves to be and that there is no baby in the house to sit. Rather than sitting and watching TV eating popcorn while the (nonexistent) children sleep, Samantha winds up in a life-or-death struggle for her own survival.

Baby-Sitting (2012)

This French film is short, only 20 minutes, but is creepy and funny.

In this horror-comedy, a young woman accepts a babysitting job from an unknown couple without realizing how creepy and downright terrifying the couple’s children are. When she invites friends over to keep her company, she invites them into a world of trouble. Bloody Disgusting says that Baby-Sitting “has all the sophistication of an Tarantino flick with all the blood of a Fulci film….The whole movie works because the actors are extremely convincing and the comedy that is laced in between is very smart and well timed.”

All Hallow’s Eve (2013)

Writer-director Damien Leone featured his own original shorts on the creepy VHS tapes in this film.

A very clever twist on the babysitter-horror genre in which a babysitter finds a VHS tape containing three separate short movies in which a psychotic clown named Art murders people. The babysitter puts the kids to sleep after they all watch Art’s first murder, then watches the final two films herself…then she realizes she’s in the last film and that Art is suddenly in the house, having murdered the two children she’s babysitting and gunning for her next.

Babysitter Massacre (2013)

Two of the main actors in this horror thriller were cast through Facebook.

After losing one of their friends to murder, a group of six babysitters suspect they’re being stalked by a killer who murders young women on Halloween—which, based on other movies on this list, appears to be a babysitter’s favorite night to kill. The film inspired three sequels, all of them funded via Kickstarter: Babysitter Massacre II: Slay Belles, Babysitter Massacre III: Overnight and Babysitter Massacre IV: Heavy Metal.

Tormented (2014)

Tormented was also released as Berkshire County.

A babysitter named Kylie Winters—who hates herself due to constant bullying—agrees to babysit at a rural mansion on…wait for it…Halloween night. When a boy in a pig mask comes knocking at the door, he’s looking for more than candy. Tales of Terror gave it a mixed review: “This is a simple film, and it’s pretty much everything horror fans love. The drawback, on the other hand, is that you might not remember a thing about it a month from now.”

Emelie (2015)

Emelie: another evil babysitter.

Scream Queen Sarah Bolger stars as the titular “Emelie” who pretends to be “Anna” after murdering the real Anna and showing up to her babysitting job. At first she just seems like a crappy babysitter, letting the kids break rules and encouraging them to fight one another. However it soon becomes clear that she intends to kidnap the youngest child after the older children go to bed.

Better Watch Out (2016)

Better Watch Out: both a home-invasion movie and a babysitter horror film.

Originally titled Safe Neighborhood, this is basically Home Alone, but with a babysitter at the house to protect the young boy from malicious burglars. All of the action takes place during one night at one house. Bloody Disgusting calls it “a hilariously bonkers home invasion tale” and a “pitch-black horror comedy….It contains everything that you like in a movie and satisfies you from beginning to end.”

Child Eater (2016)

Writer-director Erlingur Thoroddsen shot this film in the Catskills of New York.

A babysitter named Helen tries to reassure little Lucas that he’s only imagining that the boogeyman lives in his closet—until she realizes that Lucas is right. It turns out that the boogeyman suffers from some rare disease that compels him to kidnap children, murder them, and eat their eyeballs. Bloody Disgusting says that “‘Child Eater’ is a frightening, passionate horror film that has fun creating its own monster and is sure to whet your appetite.”

Feeding Time (2016)

If you are a fan of campy 80s horror humor, this hilarious short is perfect for you!

In this 13-minute short film, a woman fills in for her friend one night to do a babysitting job, then regrets she ever made that decision.  Atomic Age Renegades praised the movie: “Feeding Time is a quirky short film that does an incredible job of grabbing the attention of the audience beginning with a peculiar encounter and ending with a mystery. The plot may not be completely original but the long shots and eerie music create suspense and make for an interesting watch.”

The Babysitter (2017)

The Babysitter: A sitter comes to a young boy’s defense, but only because she wants kill him.

A young boy named Cole is relentlessly bullied by a male neighbor, but his babysitter—a seemingly innocent woman named Bee—comes rushing to his defense. What Cole doesn’t realize is that Bee is a member of a Satanic cult who has signed a deal with the Devil. Her specialty is staking young boys to kill them—and Cole is next on her list. Also released as Night of the Babysitter.

Night Sitter (2018)

Night Sitter: visually similar to Italian giallo films such as Deep Red.

Seeking to rob a wealthy occultist, a female scammer named Amber (Elyse Dufour) poses as a babysitter. But she didn’t expect that one of the children she’s sitting is also an occultist or that the child will summon a group of witches known as the Three Mothers. Horror DNA noted the film’s debt to Italian giallo horror: “The color palette is wholly unoriginal and perfectly okay for all that. It’s a clear nod to Dario Argento’s Suspiria or Deep Red, soaked in garish reds, deep blues, and eerie greens.”

Babysitter’s Nightmare (2018)

A nurse takes a babysitting job, only to be stalked by a serial killer.

In this made-for-TV movie, nurse named Daphne is still traumatized that she lost her job due to a doctor’s negligence. She accepts a babysitting gig, which goes well for the first few nights—until she realizes she’s locked inside a house with a serial killer. That Darn Girl Movie writes, “This movie is truly creepy….Watch this one with some of your lights on.”

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Annabelle Comes Home is the seventh movie in The Conjuring franchise, or the sixth of you don’t count The Curse of La Llorona (2019).

Annabelle Comes Home isn’t the best movie in The Conjuring universe, but it might be the most fun. Judy, the daughter of demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, is at home with a babysitter, Mary Ellen. Daniela, a friend of Mary Ellen’s, comes over to the Warren’s house and pokes around in the artifact room, freeing the spirit inside the Annabelle doll who in turn frees other spirits that the Warrens have collected. The scares in the movie are almost too silly to be scary, but the adventures of Judy, her babysitter, and her babysitter’s friend are a nice change of pace from the usual serious nature of the movies within The Conjuring franchise.

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)

Demons from 2017’s The Babysitter return in this sequel to torment a young boy.

In this sequel to 2017’s The Babysitter, young Cole finds himself a high-school bullying victim who is still being tormented by demons from the past. Den of Geek slammed the film: “If The Babysitter was…an unfunny homage to 1980s teen slasher comedies, The Babysitter: Killer Queen doubles down on being unfunny and ramping up all that was wrong the first time around, including some of the broadest, most irritating ensemble acting we’ve endured in this or any other year.”

Deadly Illusions (2021)

Deadly Illusions is a strange Netflix thriller that tries to have a twist ending.

In this horror Netflix film, which was universally panned as nonsensical, confusing, and absurd, while still somehow still being entertaining Kristin Davis stars as a famous writer that needs to hire a babysitter so she can focus on her writing. She hires Grace, a young caretaker that seems to be a literal angel sent from heaven. Grace, of course, ends up being a psychopath and hilarity, sex, murder, and whatnot ensue. One reviewer sets up movie with perfect accuracy: “[Deadly Illusions] feels like a Lifetime movie, it’s got faces you recognize and the storyline brings up memories of films like The Hand that Rocked the Cradle. I want more of that. Then suddenly, Mary is taking Grace bra shopping.” Go watch it and see what happens next.

Nanny (2022)

Anna Diop in Nanny (2022)
Anna Diop stars as Aisha, a Senegalese woman working as a nanny in New York City.

Nanny is an Amazon Original domestic horror movies that blends psychological and supernatural scares in a way that is both creepy and somber. Aisha is a West African immigrant working to make enough money to bring her young son to the United States. She lands a job with an affluent couple looking after their little girl, hopeful that the long hours will earn her enough to make a better life for her own little boy. Before long though, Aisha’s mental state starts to deteriorate as a presence makes itself known. Nanny is the feature-film directing debut of Nikyatu Jusu.

Meet The Author

Chrissy is the co-founder of Creepy Catalog. She has over 10 years of experience writing about horror, a degree in philosophy and Reiki level II certification.

Chrissy Stockton