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Better Watch Out (2015)

This is one of those films that has been on my seasonal watch lists for years, yet for one reason or another I had just never gotten around to it. I had heard great things about it and also seen it pop up on almost every top 10 Christmas Horror lists imaginable and it turns out to be, for me, a very well earned place on those lists. I would say that this is a film that relies very heavily on its plot twists, so I would strongly advise going into this knowing as little as possible. As for the plot, it was something I had figured out very early on (or at least I had a pretty strong idea of what direction this was taking) as there were a few noticeable things such as the stature of the invader and the uncharacteristic behaviour from one of the main suspected protagonists. What I wasn't expecting was how early on that was going to ultimately be revealed and then the dark turn it once took from that point and everything else that then came after. Considering the tone that this film first started out with and some of the comedy lines early on I was surprised how tense and on the edge of my seat I soon became. This was then something that the writers did a fantastic job of carrying through to the closing moments. Not at any point does this film seem to take a break in pace. Once our characters are established it is a relentless rollercoaster of shocking moments, unpredictability and well put together plot developments. I would say that this film is carried solely by its two young actors, Levi Miller As Luke and Olivia DeJonge as Ashley. Although we do have side characters appear here and there, I feel a lot of the responsibility falls upon these two to carry film forward and I think they both do a phenomenal job with that. The dynamic and relationship between them both was very endearing to watch play out on screen, both before and after the plot twist. Ultimately though, it's the convincing performance of Miller as an almost young Patrick Bateman that sets this film aside from films that have tried to go in a similar direction, had his performance not been as strong as it was I think that would have heavily impacted the credibility of this plot. This is the most Christmas of Christmas Horrors I’ve come across to-date. Every other scene features some sort of Christmas item, either in its backdrop or playing throughout the score and soundtrack. This made for some interesting festive colour palletes, utilising the ambient lighting from the Christmas decorations on the outside of the house and lighting most scenes in a strong blue or red tone. There is also some nicely creative cinematography used here, one scene in particular stood out to me where Ashley grabs Luke and tackles him the floor and the camera rotates with them as they make their way to the ground. It's the little things like this that really brought this film together and made for a very pleasurable viewing experience. I watch a lot of horror films and can usually predict the direction and conclusion. It was very refreshing for me to see a film that I was so genuinely surprised by and had a plot that I genuinely couldn't see how it was going to inevitably wrap up. This is not only an exceptional horror film but it is and exceptional Christmas horror film, something that is very rare to find. If you are yet to see this film it comes with one of the highest recommendations I can offer and if you were ever curious to know how the paint tin scene in Home Alone would really play out, then this film has the answer.



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