Better Watch Out (2016)
Cast: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Virginia Madsen, Patrick Warburton
Director: Chris Peckover
Nutshell: Devilishly entertaining slice of Christmas Pudding laced with surprisingly macabre flavours and a razor sharp sense of fun! A quite perfect Yuletide treat.
In an age of grim torture porn and worse, sexy teenage vampires and zombies milked for all their shrivelled worth, it comes as a very welcome change of direction with Better Watch Out, a film that is deliciously evil and delightfully witty in equal measures. Olivia De Jong is Baby-sitting super smart Alec 12-year-old brat Luke who has it all figured out on Christmas Eve.
Smarty pants Luke plays his parents like a piano as they depart for their Christmas Party. Christmas is in full swing as Ashley arrives for what she reckons will be easy money handling a 12-year-old pip-squeak but she soon finds her charge to be a champagne swilling rather amorous kid with Casanova pretensions which she finds suitably repellent but kids these days!! Soon the fun and games start to go awry and there are menacing phone calls and threats begin to emerge from the unlikeliest of sources and clearly you Better Watch Out!
Events take a turn and the blood starts to flow and what appears to be a feel-good Christmas flick turns into something surprisingly nasty. That said, it’s all wrapped up in the glow of Christmas and though events turn gruesome, it is all presented in the spirit of Christmas, with an undercurrent of humour that is at the heart of this delightfully gristly slice of Yuletide macabre. The film is clearly about entertainment and is not going for Cinéma-vérité by a long stretch. You have to check your brain in at the counter, grab your popcorn and indulge yourself a little in order to enjoy this skillfully crafted entertainer.
The standout performance comes from Levi Miller as Luke who carries the film on his little shoulders with admirable confidence. The kid is flawless and might well be a name to watch for in future unless he grows into something resembling a male version of Rumer Willis God help him. Olivia DeJonge by way of Australia makes a strong impression and is instantly likeable but Miller walks away with it.
It’s a whimsical little tale of Christmas turned on its head and to even make films that inspire the mayhem would be giving it away. Just to say it was a welcome and refreshing twist and variation within the horror template and 90 minutes or so spent being thoroughly entertained with undoubtedly an implausible but wickedly enjoyable slice of Christmas Cake……watch out what you bite into, because you never know what lies within! This film has the potential to eventually turn into an alternative Christmas Classic in years to come.