2016, Movies

Better Watch Out (2016, Chris Peckover)

This is a very, very dark Christmas horror comedy that’s light on the comedy and unnecessarily set at Christmas. But it’s still one of the better Christmas horror movies I’ve ever seen.

There’s no reason this film should take place at Christmas. The Christmas stuff is all ancillary to the actual plot of the film. That said, there’s none of the usual Christmas mysticism of recent explicitly Christmas horror films – which is a bit of a relief – and, if you stick this film into the sub-genre of “Christmas horror films without supernatural elements” it is (sadly?) among the best I’ve ever seen, as a film.

Hopefully it’s not a spoiler to reveal this is actually just a home invasion horror movie, albeit one set at Christmas. However it has a pretty unique twist, which is both where the (limited) comedy comes in and where the film gets a little more disturbing. Like many (well done) home invasion films, things get pretty uncomfortable and your mileage with the movie may vary because of this. It’s the kind of film I might have loved when I was 20.

The comedy is pretty sporadic and quite dark. I appreciate a dark comedy but, in a horror comedy, I do want more laughs. It’s a fine tightrope to walk, of course, but this is not a film that thrives on scares. Rather, it’s “horror” is in human behaviour and actions, and so the comedy is rooted in that kind of “people being terrible” stuff that you get in very dark comedies and cringe comedies. It’s not my kind of horror comedy but I might have felt differently had I not though it was a “horror” movie.

But it’s very well done. The stunt casting of the parents is cool, the main actors – all of whom are young – are really good and the big twist is unexpected. And the ending is pretty awesome.

So, if you have the stomach for an uncomfortably dark Christmas comedy, I’d recommend this one.

7/10

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.