Sometimes I stumble on films not for the faint of heart. Although movies like this can hit their intent. How shocking is too shocking?
What is Better Watch Out About?
Ashley has a babysitting gig and looks after precocious Luke at Christmas. Things are going smoothly until Ashley finds Luke getting into his parent's booze. He also gives her some romantic advice after hearing her phone call with her boyfriend.
Kids and their crushes. I doubt there are many young kids around 12 or 13 that don't submit to the odd heart flutter now and again. Seems innocent enough, right?
Odd things start to happen. Who left the back door open? Who moved the Santa statue? Ashley begins to think there might be intruders in the house and begins to protect her charge.
This isn't a normal home intrusion though.
Trailer for 'Better Watch Out'
Quick Film Info
- Director: Chris Peckover.
- Writer: Chris Peckover and Zack Khan.
- Date of Release: October 2017.
- Genre: Horror, rated R.
What They Did Right
Oh my gosh, the casting. The casting is great. Although generic in some ways, like using a pretty blonde babysitter, a jock boyfriend, and slightly unintelligent ex-boyfriend, all the characters in this film worked well.
Olivia DeJonge plays Ashley. Personally, I liked her earlier movie, The Visit (2015), a lot more. However, she did pull off this role really well.
Luke's bestie, Garrett (played by Ed Oxenbould), was also in The Visit. His role in this film seemed too generic for me though. I would have preferred if he had taken either a more villainous direction or become another victim.
I was really excited to see Patrick Warburton enter the opening scenes as the dad Robert. Sadly, the storyline doesn't really involve his character. The opening was the last I saw of him.
And then there is Levi Miller who plays Luke. He was masterful in his portrayal, no matter how I felt about the movie. The only other time I've seen an actor nail a role similar to this was in the TV series Bates Motel with the character of Norman. Luke is no Norman—but you get my drift.
Other parts of the movie I enjoyed were the tiny plot twists that became clear towards the end and the trailer. The trailer was superb in delivering from an angle that it was not actually from. Bravo to the trailer for Better Watch Out.
What They Did Wrong
I need a spoiler section for this part of the review, so it will be at the end. Most of my thoughts on the film that made me not enjoy it will ruin the movie if you are someone who likes to be surprised. I was genuinely surprised but not in a good way.
I kept hearing the word 'fun' bounced around when it came to describing this film. In this instance, I am one of the few people who didn't find the joy in this one. In fact, it made me feel uncomfortable.
I give Better Watch Out 2 spiders in the attic out of 5.
Beware the Spoiler in Final Critique
Last Warning— Better Watch Out + The Ending + Explained
Is this movie my idea of fun? No.
Did I enjoy Home Alone (1990), which enjoyed great reviews and has a high rating on major movie sites? No, sorry, I didn't. Actually, no, I'm not sorry. The movie lost me when they left Kevin behind at home...for a considerable amount of time, mind you. I also don't particularly like slapstick comedy, which is why I didn't laugh at the antics.
I mention Home Alone because this is basically an adult-version with a horror twist. All the information I had on this movie beforehand had me pretty excited. As I mentioned before, the trailer is awesome. It looks like Ashley is babysitting Luke when intruders break in and he turns into a badass. That's not what happens though.
I may have forgiven the cliche jealously motive of killing the ex-boyfriends of Ashley; that worked for the plot. The similarity to Home Alone with the bucket of paint imploding a head was an awesome kill scene that horror movie makers somehow forgot to use until now. Bravo for that one.
I'll even admit to the use of the spiders as adding to Luke's ingenuity and not taking away from it. And the booby trap out back— brilliant.
What I can't get past is the insinuation that the two boys are sexual deviants. They band together to sexually assault Ashley. The two friends have a grand old time enjoying banter about sexual acts. In any other context, the scene is tame compared to the horror movies I have seen. However, knowing they are 12 did not sit well with me. It sucked the fun right out.
Thank goodness their banter was as far as they went, but for me, it didn't work. Never mind Luke slitting Ashley's throat at the end. Quite the vicious act on someone you are keen on.
From that point, I wasn't getting the value out of the aforementioned kill scenes and ingenious game of hide and seek engineered by Luke. Instead, I began to try to think of how I would have liked the movie to play out.
I wanted it to be like the trailer and have real intruders. Luke could have still eradicated the ex-boyfriends to try to win the girl in the end somehow. He could have still been the badass he was meant to be, but without leaving a nasty taste in my mouth.
The hamster story was also a plot hole for me. If Luke killed Garret's hamster and Ashley knew he did it on purpose, how does that even work?
This film had a lot going for it. I'm sad I didn't like it. Maybe I'm naïve to 12 year olds and what they are all about. I might have even bought it if they made Luke and Ashley a smidgen older.
If only they had stuck to the concept in the trailer.
For the record, I did think The Babysitter (2017) was fun. If you liked this movie, it might be a bit too G-rated for your tastes. However, I would definitely describe that film as fun.
© 2017 Mother of Movies and Series Reviews
Mother of Movies and Series Reviews (author) from Moreton Bay, Queensland on December 14, 2018:
Exactly Brad. I really liked Funny Games too, a classic in my opinion. Brutal and flawlessly filmed to create maximum tension.
Brad on December 14, 2018:
I wasn't a fan at all and I can get into the darkest of films. The trailer says it would be fun and it just wasn't. It wanted to be Funny Games (a superb movie - both renditions of it) but it wasn't a great execution of that or Home Alone. It was just a bad movie. You win some, you lose some. Just go watch Funny Games. Thanks for the review!
Mother of Movies and Series Reviews (author) from Moreton Bay, Queensland on November 01, 2017:
Priley, thanks for the comment, I appreciate it. I had this film recommended to me about 50 times and was excited about watching it. This may have compounded my dissappointment.
I avoided The Babysitter, because it didn’t sound like something I would like. I eventually caved to pressure and loved it!
The comedy aspect was committed to perfectly and never went too far to make it dumb. The horror was spot on even though it was rated M15 and the acting was brilliant.
For a Netflix original, I was impressed.
priley84 from Warner Robins, Ga on November 01, 2017:
"The hamster story was also a plot hole for me. If Luke killed Garret's hamster and Ashley knew he did it on purpose, how does that even work?"
Good question. O.O
And I agree. In spite of the heaps of praise this movie got, I didn't like it either. The Babysitter on Netflix was a lot better!