“Better Watch Out” Review

5 December, 2017

Director: Chris Peckover
Screenwriters: Zack Kahn, Chris Peckover 
Director of Photography: Carl Robertson
Cast: 
Olivia DeJongeLevi MillerEd Oxenbould

Synopsis: An invasion thriller with a twist revolving around an overly-confident 12-year-old boy, his best friend, and the babysitter they both have a crush on who experiences the ultimate night from hell while trapped inside their home.

Better Watch Out Review:

A holiday frenzy stuck in raging pubescent mania, “Better Watch Out” is the bunny-boiling sociopath of hot topic Christmas movies, proving consistently tongue-in-cheek and delivering sinister punchlines to be laughed and winced at in equal measure. “Funny Games” for teens with spiders and doorbells providing more scares than the film’s basic plot-line, the movie melds cinema’s next psycho out of suburban rage, fashioning a Norman Bates with a squeaky voice out of the egotism of middle-class living; stuffing pride into its already blackened, corn-fed heart and standing back to smell the chaos.

Confinement terror without the lastability of a true skin-crawler, “Better Watch Out” works better as a comedic social study than a “Home Alone” horror with consequences, finding itself performatively messy yet enjoyable as a one-night-only surprise featuring home-grown kills and “Black Christmas” nods. Faithful to its sub-genre but let down by laughable “April Fool’s Day” plot points, the movie sees the ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ of slashers with a villain too mature for their age taking matters into their own hands and only escalating the scale of their madness over the course of a single evening.


Wes Craven’s “Scream” for the snoozer generation, “Better Watch Out” captures the sense of entitlement plaguing the modern mindset, acting as a stark warning that’s both festive and relevant. Sneaking around the film’s budget wherever possible, writer-director Chris Peckover finds himself in the mood for a scare but missing the je ne sais quoi of a horror master, showcasing a number of memorable artistic choices while slipping on the bodily fluids excreted by his various characters. Requiring more McGuffins than original jump scares, the movie’s off-screen panache draws attention to on-screen hindrances, putting pencils and paint cans to good use but never truly feeling like a true Christmas classic without a well-earned fright to top it all off.

 

   

Summary
Review Date
Movie
Better Watch Out
Rating
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