Better Watch Out (2016)

Better Watch Out aka Safe Neighborhood
Director: Chris Peckover
Writer: Chris Peckover, Zack Kahn
Cast: Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Olivia DeJonge, Virginia Madsen, Patrick Warburton, Dacre Montgomery
Part of: /slash Filmfestival Christmas special
Seen on: 15.12.2016

Plot:
Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) has been Luke’s (Levi Miller) babysitter for a while, and she knows that the two of the m usually have a good time. She doesn’t really realize that Luke has fallen in love with her, but he wants to do something about that – and he’s worked out a plan with his best friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould). But all plans cease when the house comes under attack and Ashley has to fight off home invaders. Except there is something about the invaders that is a little weird.

Better Watch Out (I still saw it as Safe Neighborhood) is an entertaining and very well-made film that I really enjoyed a lot. I didn’t have many expectations, having heard practically nothing about the film beforehand, but I was pleasantly surprised.

There is much that is familiar about Better Watch Out – the babysitting set-up, the home invasion bit, the boy in love with the older girl who thinks of him as a child. But the film manages to put a fresh spin on those well-known pieces and make something from it that actually took me by surprise a couple of times. Although they don’t leave all genre conventions behind.

Part of that freshness came from the fact that the script has a sharp eye on the psychology of its protagonists. Characters and their motivations are always clear, even when there are new developments, well-handled and simply smart. It’s a joy to watch that character work.

And it must have been a joy to play those characters as well. The cast certainly does a good job and are believable throughout, even when the plot stretches the limits of realism (but never the limits of my suspension of disbelief).

In short, it’s highly entertaining, suitably bloody fun with a great sense of humor and excellent characters. It deserves to become a Christmas horror classic.

Summarizing: Great fun.

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