When you think the suburbs, you think safety, but this holiday night the suburbs are anything but safe. Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) thought this babysitting job was going to be an easy night, but the night takes a turn when dangerous intruders break in and terrorize her and the twelve-year-old boy, Luke (Levi Miller), she's caring for. Ashley defends her charge to the best of her ability only to discover this is no normal home invasion.
In real life, Olivia Dejonge and Levi Miller are only 4 years apart. See more »
[to her snowman]
Just your nose and we're done, Mr. Frost.
[an older boy smashes the snowman's head with a baseball bat]
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SPOILER: After the first set of credits, there is a scene with Luke saying he is worried about Ashley and wants to go to the hospital to check up on her. See more »
This is what happens when the entirety of your movie is based off of a gimmick; it's one thing to give an engaging new spin to a genre concept and quite another to play your forced contrivances for supposed shock value.
There are fine home invasion thrillers like Don't Breathe(2016) that while engaging in a different take on the genre trope, still manage to stay true to the spirit of the genre, delivering the much needed thrills in good measure. This misfire of a movie, Better Watch Out however, is one that is so pleased with it's little twist that it forgets to invest in anything that is remotely honest or earnest to make it a worthwhile viewing experience.
The lacklustre start does not do the movie any favours but just as things seem to be settling in, it's all thrown out for a plot twist that from the very moment of inception robs the story of any suspense or thrill whatsoever. From this great twist onwards, the movie becomes an exercise in stringing together one implausible scenario to another, each one trying vying for that highly sought after shock value.
When movies of this genre work, they work because they successfully manage to place the viewer in the protagonist's shoes, and in doing so generate the dread and suspense that drew audiences to it in the first place. Better Watch Out throws that all out the window, failing to invest in atmosphere, juxtaposing jarring scenes with cheery, melodious Christmas carols that much like the film itself, elicits a chuckle at first but soon runs out of steam. In the handful of scenes that the movie tries to humanize any of it's characters, it only feigns poignancy.
The acting by everyone involved is commendable and the pacing is fine as well.
At the end however, not only does the story resort to a plethora of plot conveniences, in all it's showyness it forgets to let the viewer in on the fun. Having your maniacal lead jive to jovial music, is no fun; it just propagates the tonal mishmash of genres and tricks. For a movie that is supposedly a comedy, horror, thriller feature, this one trick pony was far from funny or thrilling, just endlessly nihilistic, a repugnant mess with a sour after taste that you'll want to wash off as quickly as possible.
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