Better Watch Out,
Directed by Chris Peckover,
Starring Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Aleks Mikic, Dacre Montgomery, Virginia Madsen
In a quiet suburban house two parents are going to their annual Christmas party, leaving their son in the capable hands of their babysitter. Luke has a crush on the slightly older Ashley, but although Ashley likes Luke, she doesn’t feel anything other than a professional friendship. It doesn’t take long to realise that this nights babysitting duties are going to be fatally different as a home invasion occurs.
I’m constantly told by family and friends that I hate Christmas, which is hugely unfair, come the day I’m the jolliest chap you can ever meet. It’s the huge build up to the day that I dislike and the way people insist that from November 1st you’ve got to get into the spirit. We’re bombarded by the tinsel and baubles, and soon the music starts, the same five or six Christmas songs that stores believe we need to hear in order to buy more. Anyway… the ranting is nearly over. I love Christmas movies and usually can find myself watching Scrooged around July. But when you mix Christmas and horror/thrillers then you can count me into the happy Christmas bunny column of the end of the year.
So when I saw the simple poster for Better Watch Out my heart leapt for joy. But this is no run of the mill, cashing in on the Holidays horror, this is a intimate, well-written thriller that may not have the scares that other horrors in the past have brought to us, but has more menace than a bunch of Dennises.
The main story is a home invasion that is without reason, but it doesn’t take long for the people behind the aggression to step forward. After that though it’s an all bets are off situation. You’ll think from all media released that this is a run of the mill horror, but there are few things that lift it from the norm. The first is the script which leads you masterfully at the start of the film to think we’re just getting a by the numbers piece, but the way they twist and turn the film after the first act is really very entertaining.
The second reason that Better Watch Out was more enjoyable than most was the casting of Levi Miller as Luke and Olivia DeJonge as Ashley. Their chemistry together, as ever changing as it becomes is just spot on. You believe the journey that their relationship goes through. Also Miller is probably one of the scariest young men that I’ve ever seen. Olivia is amazingly effortless as Ashley, about to embark on her bright future away from family and friends. Joining these two are Virginia Madsen and Patrick Warburton as the arguing parents of Luke, who also have a great vibe together. Playing the plucky and funny friend of Luke is Ed Oxenbould as Garrett, he’s a great character and I wish that we had more from him.
Better Watch Out, if you try to overthink it will disappoint you, I sat in the front row of the cinema with some Coke Zero and a bag of Jellies and laughed through the funny parts, hid behind the bag at some rather good practical effect fighting scenes, and noted some clever editing to keep the rating at a level that means more teens can go see it. Stay tuned after the first initial credits to see a very smartly done piece that may lead to the second movie. A nice and easy way to get through the Christmas goody feelings and get your horror on.