I’ve been waiting for Chris Peckover’s sophomore project Better Watch Out since I discovered the director through his debut film Undocumented (go watch it!) several months ago. While his first film dealt with commentary in regards to illegal immigration and extreme patriotism, Better Watch Out decided to just throw us a balls out wild horror movie that was equal parts Home Alone and Funny Games.
Set in a quiet suburb during the Christmas season, twelve year old Luke (Levi Miller) is home with his babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge), whose attention he’s vying for despite her preoccupations with her ex and current boyfriends. It’s not before long that strange things start to happen around the house, and they soon find themselves in the middle of a home invasion that is anything but typical.
I wish I could say so much more without giving anything away, but dangit, that was fun one! Clocking in at 1hr 25min, Better Watch Out earned every second of my attention. With the cast mostly comprised of just three main characters (Luke’s best friend, Garrett (Ed Oxenbould), sticks around the majority of the movie), they hold and run with the story from beginning to end exceptionally well! Don’t let the fact that they’re basically kids (I think they’re all under 20 at least) fool you into thinking this is child’s play; this movie is pretty brutal and violent and doesn’t hold back.
Better Watch Out is a movie best experienced with as little knowledge as possible before going into it. There are twists and turns that you definitely won’t see coming and that’s what makes it so dang fun! There are elements of comedy sprinkled throughout but I don’t think it hindered the flow of the movie and definitely wasn’t enough to even call it a horror/comedy, if anything those moments helped to give the viewer a bit of a reprieve from the crazyness taking place the rest of the time.
Despite the holiday setting, I think this movie will definitely be enjoyed any time of year and I hope it solidifies Chris Peckover as a director to keep an eye on in the horror genre.
BETTER WATCH OUT is directed by Chris Peckover and stars Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould and Olivia Dejonge.