Movie Review: Better Watch Out (2016)

Synopsis: A 12-year-old, Luke, has a crush on his 17-year-old babysitter, Ashley, but she only sees him as her little buddy. Determined to get her to fall in love with him too, he and his friend Garrett stage a fake armed intrusion so he could be a hero. However, when Ashley figures out what is happening, belittles Luke and threatens to call his parents, the preteen takes things up a notch by taking Ashley and her boyfriend, Ricky, hostage.

Who's in it? The movie stars Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed OxenbouldAleks Mikic and Patrick Warburton.

Review: I wasn't aware this movie existed until I came across an article about it that described the film as a horror movie version of Home Alone. I was intrigued and, when I found it on Peacock, put it on top of our movie list. My wife and I watched it last night and weren't disappointed.

I think the thing that impressed me most about this movie was the way Luke (Miller) was portrayed. At first, his crush on Ashley (DeJonge) seemed fairly innocent, just preteen hormones. Then, as the movie progressed, and he did everything from trying to get her drunk to practically forcing himself on her, that crush got a little uncomfortable. The movie doesn't really show his true colors, however, until that home invasion plan, which was done in such detail (including him "accidentally" tossing her phone in a fish tank), it almost seemed like it might work. Once that plan failed, then it became easy to see Luke had some serious issues and that's when the film really got good.

In fact, I'm still scratching my head a bit about how much of his evening was spur-of-the-moment and how much of it was planned. At first, he seemed like he was in a bit of a panic but that end game of his, including a plan to frame her ex-boyfriend for murder, seemed a little too planned out, as though he was expecting to do that from the start.

Ashley also proved to be a strong and somewhat unpredictable protagonist, not afraid to push Luke's buttons while, at the same time, knowing when it was best to just remain quiet. Between her and the very reluctant accomplice, Garrett (Oxenbould), the movie wasn't nearly as predictable as horror films can sometimes be.

I am also going to say the ending to this film was fantastic. I don't want to go into any great detail to avoid giving away spoilers but loved the unexpected twist at the end. It was a great way to end a solid holiday horror film.

Final Opinion: Not all horror movies pull off the holiday genre correctly. This is one of the rare ones that does. I highly recommend it.

My Grade: A


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