FILM REVIEW: Better Watch Out

BETTER_WATCH_OUT_QUAD_V0e copy[1]

Better Watch Out will be in cinemas 23 November.
The author attended a media screening.
Words by Stefan Bradley.

You better not cry this holiday season, because Better Watch Out has no mercy. In a way I knew what I was going to see – a home-invasion horror with a violent take on Home Alone. It did go there, but it also went where I didn’t expect it to.

I would say you better watch out for any spoilers. Go watch this movie blind, don’t even watch the trailer.

This is an American/Australian production (all the young actors are Australian), set in a US winter wonderland where Christmas spirit is high. Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) is babysitting Luke Lerner (Levi Miller, who played Peter Pan in Pan…big contrast here) when someone, or something, tries to break in. Other characters include Luke’s best friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould) and Ashley’s current boyfriend Ricky (Aleks Mikic) and ex-boyfriend Jeremy (Dacre Montgomery). All roles are well-acted, even if you can sometimes hear the Aussie accents slip through, when these are American characters. DeJonge and Miller in particular are fantastic.

This a Christmas themed horror-comedy. Is it funny? Yes. Is it scary? Yes. There’s a few cheap jump scares early on, but later on the film takes a very sadistic turn that’s very unsettling. I don’t want to say anymore, because I don’t want to ruin any surprises, but I must add that this movie is smarter than at first glance. Calling this a psychotic Christmas would be putting it lightly.

If horror flicks are supposed to make you feel, than I certainly won’t be forgetting this movie anytime soon. The perverse theme of toxic masculinity may make viewers feel uncomfortable, especially with the wave of sex scandals that have hit Hollywood lately, but this movie of course was produced before the Weinstein effect hit the news.

Better Watch Out isn’t perfect by all means – overall I think the pacing is strong, even though the first act may go a bit too long, but there is a reason for that, which the audience will find out for themselves. Go see it with friends if you like funny horror movies.