Better Watch Out
better watch out | chris peckover | zack kahn | olivia dejonge | levi miller | ed oxenbould | comedy | crime | thriller | australia | psychopath | sociopath | aleks mikic | virginia madsen | dacre montgomery | patrick warburton | alexandra matusko | christmas
Film: Better Watch Out
Director: Chris Peckover
Writer: Zack Kahn and Chris Peckover
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller and Ed Oxenbould
This was a film that I had heard about last year around this time, but I wasn’t subscribed to Shudder so I was unable to see it. Since this year I’m watching either new or Christmas themed horror films during December. The official synopsis for this film is on a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.
Coming into this film, I knew that it was taking place in the winter and that it was kind of a home invasion. I had heard it compared to The Babysitter, which I personally enjoyed, so I was intrigued. We start off with a young woman, Ashley (Olivia DeJonge), who is moving to Pittsburgh very soon going over to the house she babysits at. She wants to do this to say goodbye to the family and spend time with the son before she leaves.
The boy is Luke (Levi Miller). He seems a little bit timid, but he has a crush on Ashley. He knows tonight could be his last night to make his move. Garrett (Ed Oxenbould) is mocking him and we see that he might not be the best influence. Luke’s parents are Robert (Patrick Warburton) and Deandra Lerner (Virginia Madsen). They are going off to a party that night and won’t be back until late.
Luke tries to make his move, but he is shot down by Ashley. He decides to pop open a bottle of champagne to show he is older. She is half paying attention to him as there are weird things happening outside. A pizza is delivered when they didn’t order it. A Santa figure keeps moving, she keeps seeing a man outside and they are getting prank calls where no one is answering. It gets even worse when her tire gets slashed and a brick is thrown though an upstairs window with the message ‘U Leave, U Die’. Like the synopsis states, this isn’t your normal home invasion.
When I had heard reviews of this film talking about not wanting to spoil this and it really takes a turn, I was trying to figure out what it could mean. It is really something you have to see. This film really has some solid writing. There were things that I noticed and they are pointed out. Those come back later in the film. It really has a twist that I didn’t see coming. The depravity of it and the mean spirited of this film really had me on board.
With saying that, I do think that it is a bit of stretch that everything in this film actually happening. I do have to give credit though, being able to think on your toes and the meticulous planning that would have to go into this is insane. What makes it even better though is the ending of the film. It made me think of the old adage, the best laid plans.
The editing of the film is great. I never once got bored and I think a lot of that is the lower running time. This film really doesn’t have any filler and I think that actually helps it. It moves at such a good pace. There were a few moments that I had were I was shocked what I saw. This film also needs credit for that. I really liked the ending of the film as well. I thought it was perfect.
This film though really did need some good acting and I think we got that. It was interesting that DeJonge and Oxenbould appeared in the film The Visit together. In that they were siblings. This film DeJonge did a great job. She is in that weird place where she is only five years older than Luke. At the time in their life it is a giant gap. She is torn between being nice to him and needing to treat him like an adult. The things she endures in this film and her reactions help as well. Miller really steals the film though. His character from the beginning until the reveal is night and day. I thought it was a solid performance from some one that young. Oxenbould was fine as well in support. The rest of the cast for this film I thought were also good for what was needed.
Next would be the effects of the film. To be honest, there isn’t a lot in the way of effects. I give the film credit though, it seems like they were hiding a lot of it, which for me actually allowed my imagination to think of something probably worse than they would show. In films like this, if you can’t make it look really good, then I say do what this film did. There was one scene I wanted to see, because of something that happens afterwards. The film is shot beautifully. The use of color at times also helps.
Now with that said this film actually surprised me and exceeded my expectations for it. I had an idea coming in, but didn’t expect what I got. The story is quite interesting and I like the turn at the beginning of the second act. The acting help to bring this life, which I thought was good. Miller kills his role for sure and I was quite impressed. There’s not a lot in the way of effects and I did want a little bit more there. It was paced very well and I thought the ending was fitting for the film. The score didn’t really stand out to me, aside from the father playing old Christmas music and during a tense scene later in the film as well. There are some sounds outside that are made to spook Ashley that were fine. Overall I would recommend seeing this film as I thought it was really good.
My Rating: 9 out of 10