Sunday, October 08, 2017

Halloween Moviethon - Better Watch Out

“Set in a quiet American suburb on a snowy evening on the lead up to Christmas, Ashley (Olivia DeJonge), the regular babysitter for Deandra (Virginia Madsen) and Robert Lerner (Patrick Warburton), has to defend their twelve-year-old son (Levi Miller) from strangers breaking into the house – only to discover that this is far from a normal home invasion.”

Man, I really, really wanted to love this one, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be. On the positive side it's well shot and there's some excellent acting from Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould (reunited from The Visit). The first 30 minutes are enjoyable and pretty suspenseful, unfortunately there's a twist around this point and the story goes in a completely out of left field direction that really didn't work for me. With each new turn the story took my enjoyment dropped a little bit more. In a world of cookie cutter storytelling I really appreciate any film that tries to do something out of the ordinary and unexpected, but I just did not like how anything played out here, at all, outside of maybe the last 30-seconds. Without that last few seconds I was ready to yell "Oh, fuck you!" at my TV. The villain's plan in this movie is so unbelievably complicated and I still can't really figure out the point of their plan. What were they trying to accomplish and why? I'd say more, but, I've gotta stay vague because it's one of those movies where going into to too many specific details will spoil the movie.

I've been wanting  to see this since I first heard about it when it premiered at some festivals about a year ago. It was described as being a fun and wildly funny dark comedy. While it was fun at times in the beginning, a large portion of the remainder of this movie is people duct taped to chairs while an irritating dickhead monologues at them. "Victims strapped to chair" scenes just bore the Christ out of me, and this movie is mostly "victims strapped to chair" scenes. It stopped being fun or funny the second people get taped up and while it was fairly unpredictable I didn't get much entertainment value out of the rest of the film. I mainly just found myself annoyed by the absolutely obnoxious villain and the waste of a solid premise. I honestly think this is getting so much praise because of the scene that reenacts one of the booby traps from Home Alone. It's not even a particularly well done scene, but people really, really like Home Alone so I think this scene is somehow influencing the positive reviews. That sounds ridiculous, but I can't figure it out otherwise.

The reviews of this remind me a bit of The Belko Experiment. Not similar movies at all really, but it's another one that everyone praised as being fun, witty and funny. I saw it alone in a theater opening day and I found that one to be an unpleasant tone-deaf mess that wasn't fun, witty or funny at all. I just didn't what everyone else was talking about. I did enjoy Better Watch Out more than The Belko Experiment, which I actually kind of hated. But still, I've been watching this kind of stuff for 30-years, you'd think I'd stop letting pre-release hype pull me in, but it gets me every time. 

Definitely check it out though if you're curious, I seem to be very much in the minority as someone who didn't love this one. I read several reviews after the movie was over and Kim Newman was the only one who didn't give this a glowing review. If you are interested in watching, stay far away from the trailer though, it gives away the twist and contains a major, major spoiler.

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