Better Watch Out

Critics Consensus

Carried by its charismatic young cast, Better Watch Out is an adorably sinister holiday horror film.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 61

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,352
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Movie Info

This holiday season, you may be home, but you're not alone... In this fresh and gleefully twisted spin on home-invasion horror, babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) must defend her young charges (Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould ) when intruders break into the house one snowy night--or so she thinks.

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Critic Reviews for Better Watch Out

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (54) | Rotten (7)

  • An ingenious and efficient black-comic shocker unfolding in real time over one seasonal evening in a prosperous American home.

    Dec 8, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • While the film is more cartoonish than psychologically believable, it's willing to go to some genuinely uncomfortable places.

    Nov 22, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Working within a heavily codified structure, [Peckover has] found a way to keep it fresh and exciting.

    Nov 22, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Starts out as one kind of unpleasant, then switches gears to a higher level of unearned nastiness.

    Oct 6, 2017 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • [Better Watch Out] is a silly-to-serious film that's sure to enter the canon of Christmas movies for people who prefer a bit of arsenic laced into Santa's cookies.

    Oct 5, 2017 | Full Review…
  • If you want to gift yourself a holiday film that decks the halls with blood, this is one to put under the tree.

    Oct 5, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Better Watch Out

  • Dec 09, 2018
    This movie isâ¦complicated. On the one hand I was completely enthralled the whole time, and I really did want to see how it all played out. On the other hand, the whole experience was deeply unpleasant and just not enjoyable. Iâ(TM)m not really sure what the crossover is for when a film become tactlessly nasty for me, I mean I generally do enjoy extreme horror, and there are things about this one that I actually do appreciate. To start with the good, it does hold your attention. What starts as appearing like a standard home invasion film quickly turns to a psychological horror film. This twist, honestly, I did predict because it seemed like the only way to progress the story. Everything after it, I couldnâ(TM)t have guessed, and itâ(TM)s full of turns. I really have to commend the writing because it all felt natural and never exposition-heavy, and I really commend the young cast (especially Levi Miller and Ed Oxenbould) who really pull this thing together. However, there is a gleeful sadism that the film has to its actions that just makes the whole thing deeply uncomfortable in a way without fun or purpose. In terms of plot, I saw the reason for the characters sadism, but without getting into spoilers there was no closure on these actions. Really, thatâ(TM)s probably my biggest issue with the film. If there had been an extra 10 minutes providing more closure on what had happened, maybe I would have felt differently. Iâ(TM)m not saying I always need closure on a film, in fact some films itâ(TM)s better not to have it, but on this one without closure weâ(TM)re just left with a series of sadistic acts and a feeling of emptiness. On the other hand I do almost commend the film for being minimal on the gore. When gore-y moments do happen, they are eerily low-key, but then we donâ(TM)t even get the fun of a gore film either. Iâ(TM)m torn here. While watching Better Watch Out, I was really engaged and really wanted to know how it would turn out. But by the end when I saw that there wasnâ(TM)t a grand plan and all that I was left with was empty sadism I really felt cheated. I give massive credit to the great performances and tense direction which leads me to give it a slightly higher rating than it probably deserves. But without a proper ending I just felt cheated.
    Michael M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 06, 2018
    I feel like I've made it clear, in a few reviews now, that I hate kids. Perhaps hate is too strong a word, but I just find most of them annoying and I don't want them anywhere near me if they're being annoying. I've never advocated child abuse, and I never will, as I feel that kids will, naturally, do stupid and/or say stupid things because they're kids, and I've always felt that it's incorrect to hit your child because they do or say something stupid. Some people might say that that might discipline or correct their behavior, but if your first response to hit your kid whenever they do something stupid or you disapprove of, then you probably shouldn't be a parent in the first place. There's a reason you're the adult there and you should act like it. With that said, however, there's another thing entirely when the kid in question is a murderous psychopath, then you're perfectly within your rights to do something about it. That's why I feel that this is the perfect movie for people who hate kids because it proves our point that some of these fuckers are gonna grow up to be murderers. It's the Reefer Madness of our generation, except instead of it being a morality tale against the dangers of Mary Juana, it is a film telling us about the dangers of children and what we can do to stop them. In all seriousness though, I suppose my horror fest also had to include the home invasion thriller (which I forgot) even though, in this case, it's more of an inverse home invasion, given that the villain of the movie, Luke, lives in the house where the majority of the events take place. And, on top of that, it also works as an evil kid horror movie which, as some of you may know, is my least favorite horror subgenre. The reason I say this is that, at the very least, a good chunk of these movies actually attempt to make the kid in question scary, by attempting to look mean or whatever. And, honestly, it just doesn't work, because kids naturally just aren't that scary. There's only a few movies, in my opinion, where this has worked. The Omen is one of them. The Exorcist, mostly because of the incredible make-up and the intense possession scenes. Let The Right One In, because the girl in that movie was effectively creepy and detached. Those are the three that come to mind immediately, but I'm sure there's others that I'm just missing at the moment. I guess you could add this movie onto that list. The reason I say this is that this is not a movie where Luke, a 12-year-old boy, is possessed by a demon or another supernatural being and he attempts to act scary by looking mean. I say this because, in my opinion, while this is still a horror movie through and through, its world and the characters within it feel believable. Like 'real-life' turned up to 11. I mean there's obvious issues with this, but there's something believable about this. Because psychopaths start to show these tendencies very early on. It's just that Luke, in this case, decided to act on his tendencies in a more extreme manner. And, to top it all off, Levi Miller, who plays Luke, is tremendous in this movie. I remember reading someone tweet about how great the actor who played Joffrey on Game of Thrones was. The reason this person said this (and I wish I could remember who it was, but it might have been Scott Weinberg) was something along the lines as to how difficult it has to be to make someone that young (though Jack Gleeson was six years older at the time of Joffrey's death than Levi Miller is right now) that completely and utterly loathsome and not have it feel like a caricature. The movie certainly has its comedic moments, but one thins is for sure and that is that the writing and Levi Miller's performance make sure that you take the character very seriously. I gotta say, and this is not even something that I'm gonna hold against the movie, because no one should blame the movie for what the marketing team (ie: not the actual filmmakers) put out as a trailer. I thought this was gonna be 'kid' version of You're Next. Where the home invaders themselves turn out being the hunted when the person they're trying to rob ends up being deadlier than them. Yet this movie was something entirely different. And I mean that in the most complimentary of ways, since I genuinely wasn't expecting what I got. I certainly knew that Luke was gonna be a little psychopathic, but I felt that it was gonna be more like something went off when put into this situation, where a group of strangers invade his home and threaten his life and the life of the babysitter, his crush. But nope, it's nothing like that. The film starts out normally, as if it was an normal home invasion. Halfway or so through the film, it is revealed that Luke and his only friend, Garrett, set everything up in order for Luke to 'protect' Ashley, the babysitter, from the invaders in order to impress her, maybe, get a piece of DAT ASS. Ashley finds out the truth and she, obviously, chastises Luke for his stupid stunt. Luke, however, doesn't take this rejection well and he slaps Ashley, causing her to fall down the stairs. Basically, you could say, that this is when the movie really begins. I'm not gonna sit here and say that, outside of it being a child doing the...holding people hostage, physically attacking them and, later, murdering some of them, that there's here that's all that different from the normal home invasion movie. There really isn't. Again, it is fresh enough take given that Luke is such an interesting character, but the home invasion stuff isn't exactly out of this world. I do think, however, that the movie is held together thanks in large part to the fact that, surprisingly, this is a character-driven movie. What I mean by that is that while the movie is certainly about Luke's psychopathy pushed to the extreme, it's also about the relationships between each character. Between Luke and Ashley. Between Ashley and her boyfriend. Between Luke and Garrett and how Garrett allows himself to be used and manipulated for Luke's purposes. Hell, it's even about Luke and his relationship with his mother, who appears for, like, 10% of the movie. In the end, it's all about Luke, feeling that his mother just stopped holding him, and him wanting to feel his mother's embrace again. Yes, Luke ***SPOILER ALERT*** held his babysitter hostage, killed her boyfriend, her ex, Garrett and Ashley (or so he believed) and then he set up the scene to frame Ashley's ex all to feel his mother's comforting embrace again. That's some fucked up Oedipal shit going on here. So, psychologically speaking, this is a movie that has more on its mind than meets the eye. Because who knows how much of this psychopathy was brought on by his mother. Of course not to say that she's to blame for this, but it's interesting to explore. And yet, for some reason or another, I never felt that this was anything more than just a good movie. I don't know why it was, but it wasn't what I would call a very good movie. It's very good at being good, if that makes sense, but it doesn't take that next step in my opinion. The script is good and the cast is great, but there's something that's missing and I can't quite put my finger on it. That's not to say that you shouldn't watch this because, again, I would say that this was still quite a good movie, it's just not great. I don't really know what else to say about this, though. Levi Miller is tremendous here and the movie has some pleasant surprises up its sleeves in spite of adherence to the home invasion thriller blueprint. Casting a kid as the villain is new, yes, but the content of invasion itself is exactly the same. Regardless, I would still recommend this and, in spite of not giving it a higher rating, this is the second best movie I've seen in this October horror fest.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jun 20, 2018
    This was a change of pace from the normal home invasion film and I applaud the screenwriters for creating something that was quite unpredictable. Peckover is a rising talent in the making and I hope he receives a new project soon. The casting is near perfect and the tone is right on cue. The ending is the icing on the cake, just perfect touches like this show my fondness for this film. I wish I had seen this film on release but the underrated value is what surprised me the most. This is not the film you would expect and I recommend staying away from spoilers if possible. The only thing that lacked was some of the unexpected moments needed a stronger budget, might have assisted with ramping up the tension. 19/06/2018.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • May 09, 2018
    Better Watch Out is a dark and twisted take on the classic John Hughes style holiday comedy. While Ashley is babysitting a home intruder breaks in and stalks her, but things soon take an unexpected twist and become more deadly and disturbing than she first thought. Olivia DeJonge and Levi Miller both give strong performances. Miller in particular makes for a really interesting villain; a psychotic Ferris Bueller who's ten steps ahead of everyone and is able to roll with unexpected complications. The violence is surprisingly graphic, yet kind of has a satiric edge to it. Still, at times it does tend to get a little overly cruel and mean spirited. While it pushes the envelope a bit too far at times, Better Watch Out is devilishly entertaining with a wicked sense of humor.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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