Editor’s note: The hosts of Horror Movie Podcast are always impressed by the knowledge and insights of our listenership in the emails and voicemails that we receive, as well as in the comments here at HorrorMoviePodcast.com. Once again, we’ve asked our listeners to participate in our 31 Days of Halloween by contributing written reviews. This review was submitted by a long-time listener and friend of the show who goes by the screen-name “Sal Roma” … You can follow Sal on Twitter @JTalley986 and on Letterboxd at @Sal_Roma.
Title: Better Watch Out
Director: Chris Peckover
Warning: Review Contains *Spoilers* – But They Are Clearly Marked.
When it comes to 2017 horror, there’s been a handful of movies I’ve been really excited about at one time or another. At the start of the year, it was Get Out. Later on in the year, it was movies such as It Comes At Night, Cult of Chucky, and even The Ice Cream Truck. However, the movie I’ve been anticipating the longest has been Better Watch Out or, as it was titled last year during it’s festival run, Safe Neighborhood. A horror movie set on Christmas and starring the two siblings from The Visit? Sounds awesome. After such a long wait, there was some fear that perhaps the film would be built up too much in my head and would ultimately become a disappointment. Much to my happiness, not only did Better Watch Out live up to the expectations, it exceeded them.
Despite being psyched for Better Watch Out for a solid year, I knew virtually nothing about it beforehand. I knew that The Visit siblings, Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould, were the two stars (which was slightly wrong since Oxenbould played the role of the best friend of the main male star). It was obviously set around Christmas time with a break-in, of some sorts, creating the main turmoil for the film. The early going is enjoyable, but slightly underwhelming as twelve year old, Luke, is desperately trying to woo his five years older babysitter, Ashley (DeJonge) prior to the break-in disturbance. Luke’s attempts to set the mood are cringey to say the least. With each attempt, it gets more and more awkward to watch while at the same time, it’s very innocent and realistic to some extent. It’s relatable to have that early crush when you have zero chance with her. The break-in with the masked intruder created some effective tension scenes as Ashley and Luke attempt to avoid being caught, but ultimately I felt the film was shaping up to be a bit too repetitive with the duo constantly having to sneak around and Luke trying to prove to Ashley that he can be the man that will save her. Due to the age difference, you know they won’t get together, so I was unsure of where they could possibly go with the story to keep it fresh. Where they went is where the massive spoilers begin. If you haven’t seen the film yet, I greatly recommend you watch it first.