A pretty young girl is slapped in the face, her defenceless body bound to a chair and her screams silenced with duck tape. A young boy holds a gun to her head, while another forces her into a game of truth or dare, the result of which is that he grabs her by the tit. If she had refused, his “insurance policy” was liquid Rohypnol. And with this premise, director Chris Peckover and his co-writer Zack Khan dared to fashion a comedy-thriller with a festive kick.
Inappropriate, juvenile and painfully unfunny are three of the many dismissive adjectives you could use to describe Better Watch Out which as the tagline suggests offers a fresh twist of the knife on Home Alone: You might be home, but you’re not alone. You being the cherub-faced but horny devil Luke (Levi Miller), his geeky friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould) and their pretty babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge). The latter of whom twelve-year-old Luke wants to “bone”.
Given the current allegations about predatory men abusing their power to engage in sexual misconduct, and the perennial charge of the objectification of women in the media, in particular the movies, much of the action and dialogue leaves an unsavoury taste in the mouth. As does the sight of two twelve-year-old boys talking about boning and tits and pussy. Think Beavis and Butt-Head meets CBeebies. Sure, there are a sprinkling of one-liners which raise a smile. But as Olivia’s ex-boyfriend says to Luke after being asked “Isn’t this exciting?” ‒ “No!”
Video courtesy of: One Media