Better Watch Out (2016)
Directed by Chris Peckover
Story by Zack Kahn
Written by Zack Kahn and Chris Peckover
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Ovenbould, Aleks Mikic, Dacre Montgomery, Patrick Warburton, Virginia Madsen
IMDb 6.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes 88% Metacritic 67/100
Well, FINALLY, it looks like the critics at Rotten Tomatoes and I agree on something. This was a really good movie, in my opinion. It got my attention right away and kept it throughout the whole film. Not once did I ever look at the counter to see how much time was left. I did not feel let down or disappointed with any of the story or the acting. I really think they did a great job with this one.
At Christmas time, a young woman, Ashley, 17, is asked to babysit for a family she’s sat for for years. The obnoxious charge is a 12-year-old boy. Forgive me but, they are ALL obnoxious at that age. Anyways, the kid’s name is Luke. And Luke has a major crush on Ashley…like major…like almost debilitating. He is thrilled that Ashley is coming to babysit and concocts a plan with his best friend Garrett to make a move on her, even though he IS a child and she IS five years older than him, meaning she can go to jail if anything happens between them, whether he wants it from her or not. (Right there, is that NOT a flawed plan??? I dig this chick so much that I’m going to initiate sexual contact with her and possibly put her in jail and on the sex offender registry. THEN, she REALLY love me back. Insert eye roll here.)
Now, Ashley is supposed to be moving out of town in a few days. She’s also got a boyfriend named Ricky but, that relationship is apparently on the rocks. They are having some problems. Ashley ex, a guy named Jeremy, spread rumors about his imaginary sex life with her and so she broke up with him. I guess she’s not picking major winners here but hey, you gotta go through a lot of frogs before you get to anything close to a prince.
Luke is a jealous little twerp and he makes a number of comments about Ricky and Jeremy.
Once the parents and Garrett leave, Luke opens a bottle of champagne and starts guzzling it in front of Ashley, thinking it makes him cool, of course. (You can insert another eye roll for stupid logic right here.) Ashley tries to discipline him and take it away. Once she is successful, she starts pouring it down the sink.
She ends up getting distracted by a phone call from Ricky and after she hangs up on him, she decides to take a few swigs herself. Luke catches her and they make a deal not to tell on each other.
They decide to order pizza and watch a horror movie. During the movie they get a couple of mysterious phone calls. Ashley also realizes she forgot to order the pizza but, just then, the doorbell rings…and it’s a pizza man. Confused, Ashley pays for the mystery pizza and Luke suggests his father ordered it ahead of time.
While watching the movie, Luke decides now is the time to make his move and he practically jumps on Ashley, trying to kiss her. She denies him and tells him how wrong and inappropriate this all is and he protests, explaining that, since they have both been drinking, she should be willing to kiss him. She still refuses and he is embarrassed and gets a little pouty…like a CHILD.
Soon, they start hearing noises coming from outside. When they open the door, much to Ashley’s protest, Garrett appears in a jump scare on them, playing his version of a joke. Ashley is not amused. Then, they hear noises coming from INSIDE the house. In true horror movie fashion, Ashley grabs a knife and goes to investigate.
They find that a brick has been thrown through a window upstairs that reads “U leave, U die”. Ashley tries to dial out on the cordless phone but, she can’t. It’s not working. Garrett starts to freak out and runs out the front door. Ashley and Luke hear what seems to be a shot, Garrett goes down and they slam the front door shut.
After a little craziness, they decide they are going to go get Luke’s father’s gun and hide. Then that plan turns into they are going to the attic. Then, Luke wants to be brave and go back downstairs to get the gun anyways. (Another eye roll please.) These two are incredibly loud for someone who is supposed to be hiding from home invaders, scared for their lives.
Ashley follows Luke downstairs and once they get the gun, they hide in the closet. Something in the closet makes a loud noise and one of the intruders comes into the room looking for them. Luke wants to rush the guy and be the savior. Ashley tries to convince him that is a BAD idea.
But, as she’s looking through the openings in the slats of the closet door, she notices that the intruder is wearing Luke’s hat! Then, the guy scratches his shoulder (which we see Garrett do earlier in the film) and she immediately figures it all out.
She bolts from the closet and confronts the intruder and Luke. The intruder is Garrett and they confess that this was all a scheme to get Ashley scared out of her wits so Luke could swoop in like Superman and rescue her. Thus making her desire him with a fire that will burn forever. (A very BIG EYE ROLL.)
Ashley explains that only an infantile moron would think that was a great plan to get to second base with the babysitter and she stomps off to call his parents. He chases after her, yelling her name. When she finally turns around and snaps “What?!” at him, he loses it and pistol whips her with the gun in his hand. She falls down the stairs and is knocked unconscious.
Luke duct tapes Ashley to a kitchen chair while she’s knocked out. The boys are drinking alcohol and popping Oxy pills, talking about raunchy things and being disgusting little creepers. Luke is now in charge, holding Ashley at gunpoint. He goes through a number of rants and then tells her they are going to play Truth or Dare. Garrett dares Luke to feel Ashley’s boobs. He does and it’s obvious she’s repulsed. When Ashley picks truth, she reveals that Luke killed Garrett’s hamster, which Garrett didn’t know about.
Garrett gets upset about that, plus, when it’s his turn and he picks dare, he gets upset that Luke doesn’t want him to touch Ashley. Garrett gets pouty and tries to leave but, Luke convinces him to stay. As Garrett starts talking about how they will never get away with this Luke explains that he got some GHB and once they drug her, she won’t remember anything.
As they try to give her the laced alcohol it gets knocked out of a hand and the bottle breaks and the drugged liquor covers the floor. Just then, the doorbell rings. It’s Ricky. He came over to talk to Ashley. He said she texted him but, during all the commotion earlier thinking there was an intruder in the house an all, Luke tossed Ashley’s phone into the fish tank (supposedly on accident). While Luke is trying to deal with Ricky, Garrett is supposed to clean up the mess on the kitchen floor.
Ricky eventually pushes his way through the door and becomes another victim when Luke hits him over the head with a baseball bat. He comes to and they struggle. Ricky gets a pencil stabbed into his cheek. (Quick note: the pencil is hidden under the runner rug in the hallway in front of Luke’s room. Ashley is supposed to prop it on his doorknob after he goes to bed so they know if he’s been sleepwalking or not.) As Ricky starts to gain control over Luke, Garrett shows up with a gun and Luke has time to hit him over the head again, knocking him out completely. Then, they tape him to a chair next to Ashley.
Over the course of the next thirty minutes or so, Luke calls Jeremy and asks him to come over for Ashley to talk to him. Luke makes Ricky smoke pot because Garrett was smoking it in the house and now he has to work that part into his plan. Luke then decides to settle a debate he was having with Garrett a while back. To do this they bombard Ricky’s head with a full paint can, Home Alone style. Needless to say, Ricky doesn’t make it.
Meanwhile, Ashley has been working at her tape with a piece of glass she picked up and frees herself only to see Ricky get his head smashed in. Then, in a hope to scare him straight, she fires the gun she grabbed from the kitchen table into the air…but there are no bullets. She runs off and Garrett is charged with going after her. Once outside, she and Garrett struggle and she is able to get away. She’s almost to the neighbors when Luke nails her in the head with the brick from the upstairs broken window.
This time Luke wraps her up in Christmas lights and while she’s held captive inside and Ricky is dead, he stands on the porch and serves hot cocoa to Christmas carolers.
When Jeremy shows up, Luke swindles him into writing out an apology to Ashley. Then he sneaks up behind him and hangs him from the tree that holds the swing he’s sitting on. Now, it looks like a suicide.
Garrett is upset that Luke invited Jeremy and killed Ricky. He’s thinking this has all gotten completely out of hand. While Luke is outside killing Jeremy, Ashley talks him into letting her go and he starts to work on her bindings. He apologizes and kisses her cheek as he tries to get her untied. Luke walks in and goes into a rage. He shoots Garrett twice, killing him, screaming profanities at him while he does so. Then he calmly pulls up a chair next to Ashley and starts reminiscing about how his mother used to tuck him in at night and he would hold onto her and not let her leave. He said it made him fall right to sleep. And then suddenly she just stopped and he didn’t know why.
Ashley tells him she knows exactly why. But, when he wants to know she just closes her eyes and says nothing. He gets upset with her and stabs her in the throat.
Then he spends his remaining time before his parents get home staging the whole scene to look like he was in his room the whole time and everyone else did all the bad stuff.
His parents get home and of course call the police. As they are looking around Luke is upstairs being held by his mom, pretending he has no idea what is going on. But then he hears one of the EMTs holler out that one victim is still alive.
It’s Ashley. She put duct tape over her stab wound to stop the bleeding and it saved her life. And as she looks up at Luke’s window from her gurney as they are loading her into the ambulance, she sees Luke standing at the window…and gives him the finger.
Soon after, Luke looks at his mother and tells her he’s worried about Ashley and they should go to the hospital.
I really enjoyed this movie. The kid does a great job of being psychotic. He’s the perfect age for the role because his voice cracks when he gets worked up. I mean, he’s only supposed to be 12. Ugh, and you can tell from the very beginning he’s completely narcissistic and obnoxious. We all know someone like this kid…or have known. His only purpose in life is HIMSELF.
I knew from the very beginning that whoever the home invaders were would be there by Luke’s instruction. That didn’t take away anything from the film. Also, I left a few smaller things out that add a little extra pizazz to the movie.
I’ll tell ya though, the acting was good in this movie, the filming was good, the sound was good. The plot made sense even if there were a few teeny tiny flaws, which I won’t even take the time to explain because they really didn’t matter. I thought the film was well written and felt fairly natural in dialogue and presentation. Now, granted I’ve never been taped to a chair, threatened with a gun, felt up against my will, watched others die and been stabbed in the neck, all by a 12-year-old BUT, I think she did a good job of working through the script and pulling the character together. All of the actors did.
The Garrett character is a funny one, he’s clueless, hapless, helpless, hopeless. He’s such a tool, to only be used by Luke when it suits his needs. What a great friend indeed.
If you get the chance, I highly recommend checking this out. I don’t think any of you will be disappointed.
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