Celluloid Screams Review: Better Watch Out

Take a look on the high street and you could be mistaken in thinking that the festive season has already begun. Christmas for most people is a time of celebration, but for some of us in can feel more like a horror movie. Thankfully, we have the sub-genre of Christmas horror to fall back on. The pain of hearing jingle bells for the umpteenth time can be assuaged by watching the likes of Krampus, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, Black Christmas and Jack Frost. The darker side of yuletide holds a plethora of opportunities. Better Watch Out is a suburban festive comedy horror which rings all the right bells.

Tonight’s the night for Luke Lerner (Levi Miller), a precocious 12-year-old. The night when he finally confesses his feelings for his babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) before she moves away to Pittsburgh. With the help of his friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould), he has meticulously planned-out the evening. However, Ashely is more concerned with trying to deal with her boyfriend Ricky (Aleks Mikic) who keeps pestering her by phone. As the night draws on a strange sequence of events starts to occur, and when someone gets into the house they fear for their lives.

Better Watch Out is a joyous festive horror treat. Chris Peckover channels Home Alone to create a film which delivers both in terms of comedy and jumps. There’s great fun to be had as he plays with expectations and tropes, making a movie which not only pays homage but ploughs its own furrow. Miller is scarily convincing whilst DeJonge is proving that the potential she first showed in Sisterhood of the Night is coming to fruition. Better Watch Out is fantastic fun. It works on every level and has a plot which is both cleverly written and allows the actors to run riot.

Better Watch Out is in cinemas from 8 December.

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