Despite packing in an interesting premise & opening on a promising note, Emelie throws everything away in its final minutes to finish as a forgettable horror thriller. The setting is smartly built up, the suspense is effectively sustained for the majority of its runtime but what it lacks & what brings the whole film down eventually is the absence of a proper closure.
The story of Emelie follows the Thompson family that finds the couple going out to celebrate their wedding anniversary, leaving behind their three children in the care of a new babysitter. The kids are instantly enamoured by her as she allows them to do things their parents won't but as night progresses, they soon find out that their caretaker isn't what she claims to be.
Directed by Michael Thelin in what is his directional debut, Emelie takes its time to set up its plot & is often regular with its delivery of brief, unnerving moments from start to finish. It plays on every parent's worst nightmare i.e. leaving one's child in the care of a stranger, and is gripping on more occasions than one. But it could've been so much more if Thelin had figured out a better third act.
Its ominous ambiance is a definite plus as it keeps the tension alive, and the slow relaxed pacing is fitting too as it allows the plot & characters to breathe freely. Another highlight is Sarah Bolger who carries the entire film on her own and delivers a deranged performance. The kids are annoying as expected but a couple of them are nevertheless convincing in their interaction with the babysitter.
On an overall scale, Emelie had all the ingredients to finish as a nail-biting chiller but it tries to get ahead of itself in the final act and pays the price, for that move didn't just work against it but also squandered everything that had transpired before. It really is a shame because there was potential in this material but its decision to cop-out in the end ruins its chances of being counted amongst the better examples of its genre(s).