Better Watch Out
8th December 2017
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.
It’s Christmas time and there’s every need to be afraid in Chris Peckover’s Better Watch Out, a ho-ho-home invasion movie with a cracker of a twist.
What begins as a routine babysitting job for Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) turns deadly when she must defend 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller) and his friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould) from shadowy intruders.
The promotional material for Better Watch Out has done a fantastic job of masking most of the story, cheekily riffing off the obvious Home Alone comparisons. Thankfully, the film is much more than a blood-filled rehash, although there are some loving homages and some, shall we say, more realistic traps included.
While all the cast appear to be having a thoroughly jolly time, it’s the young Levi Miller who is the clear standout. His desperate attempts to impress the pretty Olivia DeJonge frequently raise laughs and his character arc is undoubtedly the best of the bunch. DeJonge herself shows great resolve as the babysitter forced to protect the children, while Ed Oxenbould continues his streak of being the one to watch in tongue-in-cheek comedy horrors, after a star turn in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, with an equally great performance here as prankster Garrett.
There’s a little issue with the pacing, especially in the mid-section where it appears to sag like a stocking full of coal when the culprits have Ashley taped to a chair and don’t quite know where to go from there, but it’s a minor quibble in what is a delightfully mean-spirited antidote to the usual family-friendly Christmas offerings.
Unexpectedly subversive home invasion thriller
The darkly comic tone hits the mark
Great performances from all, especially the young Levi Miller
Pacing issues in the middle