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Better Watch Out

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Home Alone collides with Michael Haneke's Funny Games in this twisted Christmas-themed U.S. horror-comedy when a garden-variety suburban babysitting gig turns violent. More

Home Alone collides with Michael Haneke's Funny Games in this twisted Christmas-themed U.S. horror-comedy when a garden-variety suburban babysitting gig turns violent.

"When high school beauty Ashley (DeJonge) arrives to babysit precocious 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller, Jasper Jones) it's the usual routine of ordering pizza and watching a scary movie, but that is where any semblance of normality ends. It would be a sin to even hint at what happens next to Ashley and Luke in their supposedly safe suburban neighbourhood. What we can say is that Better Watch Out generates white-knuckle suspense and pitch black humour while dishing out plot shocks galore that even hardened horror hounds won't see coming." (Sydney Film Festival)

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Directed by Chris Peckover ('Undocumented')

Starring Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Virginia Madsen, Patrick Warburton, Dacre Montgomery, Aleks Miki

Rated R16, Violence horror, drug use & offensive language | 1:29 | Thriller |

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Flicks REVIEW

By Daniel Rutledge

This is an appropriately mean-spirited, reasonably original, horror movie that's lacking one major thing: gore. For the sort of thing Better Watch... Read more

This is an appropriately mean-spirited, reasonably original, horror movie that's lacking one major thing: gore. For the sort of thing Better Watch Out is going for, to work really well it needs to graphically show off inventive violence. It does not. Still, it's one of the better entries into the scary Christmas sub-genre, which is populated mostly with dire stinkers along with the masterpiece that is Silent Night, Deadly Night.

The home invasion set-up is flipped on its head here in a way that'll keep most viewers guessing. A lazy internet search will quickly result in spoiling a twist that comes early on, which I'd highly recommend you don't do. While it's front-loaded with the most interesting plot developments, there are some nice surprises later too.

Although some laughs are dotted throughout, it's a bit of a stretch to call this a comedy/horror, as some are. It's easy to strike dark funniness when juxtaposing carol singers and silly season decorations with nastiness and murder. Under the silly veneer, there is also the serious issue of callous male entitlement dealt with interestingly in Better Watch Out, in a way more timely than the filmmakers could have possibly imagined. For most viewers, however, such depth won't be sought from this sort of throwaway genre piece and it certainly doesn't hit you over the head with it.

It carries a restricted classification, and does show blood, but Better Watch Out frustrates by under-delivering with its all-important kill scenes. If it delivered on that front it would be fantastic, and with better pacing thrown in, could even be a modern classic. As it is, it's simply an above-average, yet easily forgettable, horror flick.

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CRITICS REVIEW
Hollywood Reporter

Best described as Home Alone meets Michael Haneke's Funny Games, the sadistic horror comedy [Better Watch Out] is the kind of film that's tough to categorise... Read more

Best described as Home Alone meets Michael Haneke's Funny Games, the sadistic horror comedy [Better Watch Out] is the kind of film that's tough to categorise but easy to enjoy. Hide
FilmInk (Australia)

...[for] a good jolt and moderate comedy-gore, this is well worth catching.

...[for] a good jolt and moderate comedy-gore, this is well worth catching. Hide
Los Angeles Times

A consistently surprising and unusually well-acted thriller, which says pertinent things about suburbia, holiday entertainment and toxic masculinity.

A consistently surprising and unusually well-acted thriller, which says pertinent things about suburbia, holiday entertainment and toxic masculinity. Hide
Variety (USA)

Seems destined to become one of those Yuletide perennials for people who like their holiday-themed entertainment as perversely un-wholesome as possible.

Seems destined to become one of those Yuletide perennials for people who like their holiday-themed entertainment as perversely un-wholesome as possible. Hide
Sydney Morning Herald

While the film is more cartoonish than psychologically believable, it's willing to go to some genuinely uncomfortable places.

While the film is more cartoonish than psychologically believable, it's willing to go to some genuinely uncomfortable places. Hide
The Guardian (UK)

Working within a heavily codified structure, [Peckover has] found a way to keep it fresh and exciting.

Working within a heavily codified structure, [Peckover has] found a way to keep it fresh and exciting. Hide

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