Better Watch Out (2016)
Directed by Chris Peckover
Christmas horror movies are becoming more and more common it seems. Just go on Amazon Prime, you’ll see a buttload of them! Before we only had a handful like Silent Night, Deadly Night and Black Christmas. Both of which are considered classics in the slasher genre. Better Watch Out caught my attention last year at Walmart because of the cover art. I thought it was some forgotten 80s slasher, until I looked it up and saw it was made in 2016. With my shudder account I was able to watch it this year just in time for Christmas!
The movie centers around a young boy named Luke and his babysitter Ashley. First off I wonder why the kid needs a babysitter, he’s like 15. My parents left me alone when I was like 12 or 13, but anyways…Luke is in love with Ashley, yeah cliché, I know. He makes moves on her but she rebuffs him numerous times. During the night some odd things start happening and they get lewd phone calls, again cliché I know. Soon Luke’s best friend Garrett joins them and things start to take an odd turn.
Better Watch Out has some decent acting for the genre. Olivia Dejonge plays Ashley and does a really good job. She’s great at playing the smart, tough, and resourceful girl. Levi Miller plays Luke and he’s really the star of the movie, his emotions are felt the whole film and his wild change in attitude is impressive. Luke’s parents are played by Virginia Madsen and Patrick Warburton whom will always be David Putty to me. Luke’s friend Garrett is played by Ed Oxenbould and he does an alright job, nothing amazing but not distractingly bad. It is a very small cast, but it doesn’t need a bunch of characters and is effective with the small cast.
There isn’t much in the way of special effects, because there isn’t much gore or scenes that require it. The blood and kills that do exist are done pretty well, and they’re believable, for the most part. The camera work is decent, nothing that is going to blow you away and not bad enough to distract you. The movie as a whole is competent, and I guess that just makes it kind of dull. I’m not sure how much re-watchability this has being so blah and middle of the road with everything.
I can’t really say too much about this movie without giving things away since it relies so heavily on it’s twists. So the follow is definitely SPOILER ALERT! If you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading this review now. Ok, so basically you are lead to believe that there is some killer outside the house terrorizing Luke, Ashley, and Garrett. Garrett tries to run away and he gets shot. Luke and Ashley hide upstairs until Ashley notices the stalker/killer is Garrett in a mask. She realizes they’re playing some kind of prank, and Luke slaps her and she falls down the stairs. When Ashley wakes up, she’s bound to a chair and Luke is teasing her. Basically Luke just snaps and tortures Ashley, her boyfriend and her ex boyfriend. He even kills her boyfriend “Home Alone style” with a paint can on a rope, not sure that would kill anyone but whatever. Luke goes nuts, and kills everyone, including Garrett and makes it look like he was in his room asleep the whole time when his parents come home. The final scene shows Luke watching the paramedics load up a still live Ashley into an ambulance and Luke asks to see her in the hospital, basically to finish her off.
My main issue with this movie is that there is no suspense. Any build up they had earlier in the film is thrown out when Luke goes nuts. With him being the bad guy, it really doesn’t draw your attention and keep you guessing. It is right out front, and to me that just hinders the movie so much. The effects are minimal, that’s not always a bad thing but with the suspense lacking, it would be nice for some cool gory kills. Aside from the good acting there really isn’t much in this movie that did anything for me. It was so blah and run of the mill that I’ll likely never watch it again. I give Better Watch Out a C, a grade higher than garbage, but lower than other Christmas horror classics like Black Christmas.