Better Watch Out
Every year on Christmas I indulge in a multitude of family friendly films like that of Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, and countless of others that make me feel like a child once more. It helps bring in the festive spirit and, with family gathered on the couch, gets us all together for the holidays. That said, I also enjoy horror films and will always seek out films that somewhat mock the holiday, or give it a new spin altogether. For example, the well done but cheesy A Christmas Horror Story and the seminal Krampus come to mind. So, on my journey I came to discover the Christmas horror home invasion film Better Watch Out. I will list home invasion as one of my favorite sub-genre films which is why I drooled over this film when I first heard about it. Alas, this is a film that Santa could check off on his naughty list. 

The film sets itself to be a horror comedy as twelve year old Luke Lerner played by Levi Miller discusses with his friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould, The Visit) his plans to get laid by his seventeen year old babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge). What begins as a standard night in the house turns to chaos as Ashley deals with a nuisance of a boyfriend, a mysterious pizza delivery man, and a home invader. However, the home invader is actually Garrett. Luke and Garrett were going to play a faux home invasion out in order for Luke to appear to be a hero and win over Ashley. 

What holds the film back is one half of the lead roles - Levi Miller. His character shifts within a half-hour from an innocent young man to a sadistic killer who ties up his baby sitter and manipulates his friend, Garrett, to help him within the cause. This is all because Ashley did not love him. Miller is the exact opposite of threatening; he has a gun in his hand, that's for sure, but the majority of his acting is pathetic at best. If you're going to write a movie with a child as the lead protagonist, then you need to make sure they are horrifying in one manner or another - Luke isn't menacing, his speeches are awful, and you can probably get more frightened by a puppy then this character. I suppose it is degrading to see him in the lead role as Ashley is tied to a chair for half the film as it is. 

A boyfriend and an ex-boyfriend also come into play as Luke unveils his master plan, but they are both useless in standard horror movie cliche. They are easily beaten, killed, maimed, tied up, and what have you. These characters were unnecessary additions and served as fodder for the slaughter. 

If there is one beam of light that can be shed upon Better Watch Out it comes from Olivia DeJonge as Ashley. While the pacing of the film makes it boring to watch, DeJonge - when she's actually able to act and speak aside from being tied up and being the standard damsel in distress - shines. If it wasn't for DeJonge in the film, this would have been an unwatchable piece of film. 

The ending sees Luke supposedly kill everyone and then head back up to sleep - only to find out that Ashley survived and is going to the hospital. A fake ending with a post-ending scene showing Luke telling his parents he wants to go to the hospital to visit Ashley. I was having deja vu as I could have sworn I've seen this exact same ending for Scream 4....Amongst many other horror films. 

If you do come across this movie and think even for a second, "Huh, this may be worth my time," do not, I repeat, do not proceed with action. It's a waste of a half hour and your time will be spent well finding a different Christmas-horror film to watch this year. 



2
Brutal Resonance

Better Watch Out

4.0
"Bad"
Genre: Horror
Director: Chris Peckover
Writer: Zack Kahn, Chris Peckover
Star actors: Olivia Dejonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould
Every year on Christmas I indulge in a multitude of family friendly films like that of Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, and countless of others that make me feel like a child once more. It helps bring in the festive spirit and, with family gathered on the couch, gets us all together for the holidays. That said, I also enjoy horror films and will always seek out films that somewhat mock the holiday, or give it a new spin altogether. For example, the well done but cheesy A Christmas Horror Story and the seminal Krampus come to mind. So, on my journey I came to discover the Christmas horror home invasion film Better Watch Out. I will list home invasion as one of my favorite sub-genre films which is why I drooled over this film when I first heard about it. Alas, this is a film that Santa could check off on his naughty list. 

The film sets itself to be a horror comedy as twelve year old Luke Lerner played by Levi Miller discusses with his friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould, The Visit) his plans to get laid by his seventeen year old babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge). What begins as a standard night in the house turns to chaos as Ashley deals with a nuisance of a boyfriend, a mysterious pizza delivery man, and a home invader. However, the home invader is actually Garrett. Luke and Garrett were going to play a faux home invasion out in order for Luke to appear to be a hero and win over Ashley. 

What holds the film back is one half of the lead roles - Levi Miller. His character shifts within a half-hour from an innocent young man to a sadistic killer who ties up his baby sitter and manipulates his friend, Garrett, to help him within the cause. This is all because Ashley did not love him. Miller is the exact opposite of threatening; he has a gun in his hand, that's for sure, but the majority of his acting is pathetic at best. If you're going to write a movie with a child as the lead protagonist, then you need to make sure they are horrifying in one manner or another - Luke isn't menacing, his speeches are awful, and you can probably get more frightened by a puppy then this character. I suppose it is degrading to see him in the lead role as Ashley is tied to a chair for half the film as it is. 

A boyfriend and an ex-boyfriend also come into play as Luke unveils his master plan, but they are both useless in standard horror movie cliche. They are easily beaten, killed, maimed, tied up, and what have you. These characters were unnecessary additions and served as fodder for the slaughter. 

If there is one beam of light that can be shed upon Better Watch Out it comes from Olivia DeJonge as Ashley. While the pacing of the film makes it boring to watch, DeJonge - when she's actually able to act and speak aside from being tied up and being the standard damsel in distress - shines. If it wasn't for DeJonge in the film, this would have been an unwatchable piece of film. 

The ending sees Luke supposedly kill everyone and then head back up to sleep - only to find out that Ashley survived and is going to the hospital. A fake ending with a post-ending scene showing Luke telling his parents he wants to go to the hospital to visit Ashley. I was having deja vu as I could have sworn I've seen this exact same ending for Scream 4....Amongst many other horror films. 

If you do come across this movie and think even for a second, "Huh, this may be worth my time," do not, I repeat, do not proceed with action. It's a waste of a half hour and your time will be spent well finding a different Christmas-horror film to watch this year. 



Dec 13 2017

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

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