Better Watch Out - Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Better Watch Out


    [​IMG]

    Movie: :4.5stars:
    Video: :4.5stars:
    Audio: :4.5stars:
    Extras: :2stars:
    Final Score: :4stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    Horror always seem to have their greatest films in the past. I grew up in a time watching 80s horror slashers, and the 90s werewolf and gore fests as a young child (which could explain a few things), and watched all the “good ones” seem to peter out around the turn of the century. Sure, there have been some bonafide classics in modern times, but too many films just devolved into the early 2000s “torture ” category, with films like Hostel and Saw grossing people out with over the top shock value torture as a way to inspire fear. It seems that the likes of Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th were no longer the norm, but rather the exception. I was blown away by a wicked little indie film called You’re Next a few years back, which revitalized a breath of fresh air into the slasher genre (actually, it was more of a reverse slasher), and this year I’m happy to say that a little unknown film named Better Watch Out is here to do the same to the Christmas themed horror genre.

    Ironically I just reviewed Silent Night, Deadly Night a few days ago, which was one of the most “controversial” Christmas terror films of all time (more out of hype out of the protests made during the 1984 holiday season more than it being truly worthy of being controversial), and I had a BLAST with Krampus a few years back, so color me just a bit surprised to see lightning proverbially strike twice in such a short amount of time. I had seen a GLIMPSE of the trailer for Better Watch Out, but only the briefest of glimpses before something drew my eyes away from YouTube and I completely forgot about it until the Well Go USA disc showed up on my doorstep to review. And in that I take a sigh of relief that I never actually finished the trailer, as this is a movie that you REALLY should go into completely blind. If you’ve noticed, I took out the normal trailer at the end of the review that I normally insert, because I am going to take away that temptation for you, or at the very least have given you fair warning about that fact, because the “twist” that happens at the end of the first act really throws you for a loop and is MUCH better taken as a surprise as the trailer gives away WAY too much.

    I struggled to decide on how to give a synopsis of Better Watch Out without giving away too much. I went back and forth deciding if the twist should be kept secret, but if I went that route it SEVERELY limits the amount of analysis I can give in my write up. On the flip side, if I give away the secret and give a thorough write up, it spoils one of the most twisted surprises in the film and that alone takes away some of the fun. As such, I’ve decided that its best to just sum up a few points and leave the viewer with the opportunity to experience the film at face value rather than letting me spoil the movie for you.

    [​IMG]Well, while I can’t really give you a synopsis, I can clue you in to the fact that young Luke (Levi Miller, E.G., the young kid from Pan) is left alone with his babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeLonge), whom he’s got a MAJOR crush on. Ashley is leaving for Pittsburgh in the next few days and he’s kind of hoping to let his feelings out this evening, but when the duo is stalked by a mysterious mad man, it’s up for the pair to try and survive the night.

    Better Watch Out is one of the best Christmas horror movies I’ve seen since Krampus a couple of years back, and that’s saying something as I really loved Krampus. The movie has a darkly comedic vibe to it, with just enough twisted perversion and gore to make the viewer uncomfortable. It almost seems like the movie has its tongue firmly implanted in its cheek while it takes many of the old cliches of the slasher films of the 80s, and mixing it together with a biting social commentary about misogyny and “I DESERVE IT!” mentality of the Brock Turner psychos we have today. The film is fairly benign at the beginning, but once the twist happens at the end of the first act the movie kicks off into full gear. At that point you’re almost squirming in your chair at the obvious perverted take that the movie has gone (although it’s all suspense vs. actual events), and when the dark side of the killer has come out, it goes full gore on us with blood and guts everywhere, culminating with a finale that leaves you grinning from ear to ear as the tables get turned once more (although a mid credits sequence may give the killer the upper hand once more).




    Rating:

    Rated R for disturbing violent content, language throughout, crude sexual references, drug and alcohol use - all involving teens.




    Video: :4.5stars:
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    Better Watch Out comes to Blu-ray via Texas based independent studio Well Go USA, and it is a great looking transfer. The colors are nicely saturated with a strong honey colored glow, while the image is given an intentional smoothed out look that may surprise some people being that the movie is from a digital source. The smoothness is never enough to impede the detail levels, or make the movie look bad, but rather it’s just barely noticeable and gives the film a sort of 80s feel that I really liked. The colors are almost over saturated, with the red lights of the Christmas decorations shining really strong, and the yellows from things like paint cans, or blood on the wood flooring popping extremely well. Black levels are deep and inky, with only a mild amount of crush and one thing that really surprised me. No real banding (something Well Go USA is known for) that I could see. It’s a great looking transfer, that is color graded to fit the cheeky horror film to a T, and one that Well Go USA really should be proud of.






    Audio: :4.5stars:
    [​IMG]
    Better Watch Out employs a playful, but very visceral 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix that is a treat to listen to. The first 30 minutes (ish) are a bit milder, with vocals playing a majority of the time, but the holiday music pulsates with energy and once the killer is loose in the house all bets are off. Bass hits hard with the score intensifying from the holiday jingles, and the whomp of effects like gunshots or baseball bats impacting skulls comes through with power and authority. Surrounds are used quite a bit with creaking coming from different points of the house, as well as the whisper of crunching feet in the snow moving from one position to the other. Dialog is well placed up front, and the film’s disturbing ambiance is well replicated in all 6 speakers with relative ease.


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    Extras: :2stars:
    [​IMG]

    • Making of Better Watch Out - Featurette
    • Original Trailers








    Final Score: :4stars:



    It’s dark, it’s disturbing, and Better Watch Out is one of the freshest breathes of fresh air in the holiday horror genre that I’ve experienced in quite some time. I’m a horror hound since the 80s, but I’ve become so desensitized to the amount of drek that gets put out (and to be honest, has always been put out) that it’s immensely refreshing to watch a film that bowls you over and leaves you with just the right amount of horror and disgust, combined with the classic attraction to the victim making it out alive. Most of these films are fairly boring and cliched (even though I love it, Silent Night, Deadly Night is not the most brilliant horror film in the world). Much like Krampus, I give it both thumbs up as the twists will throw you for a loop, and the tone is spot on perfect as it makes light of the gore and horror by coupling it with the joys of the holiday. Revealing WHO the killer is, is one of the most disturbing parts of the film, and once that settles in, you’re in for a very wicked time. Audio and video are fantastic from Well GO USA, and the extras (while sparse), are actually pretty solid with a 50+ minute featurette that is well worth digging into. Highly recommended for horror lovers.




    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Levi Miller, Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould
    Directed by Chris Peckover
    Written by: Zack Kahn
    Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
    Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Studio: Well Go USA
    Rated: NR
    Runtime: 85 Minutes
    Blu-ray Release Date: December 5th, 2017







    Recommendation: Must Get for Horror Fans
     
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  2. tripplej

    tripplej Senior AV Addict

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    Thanks for the review. Never heard of this one. Will check it out.
     
  3. Asere

    Asere Senior Member

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    Thank you for the review. I stopped reading when you mentioned you did not want to spoil it too much. I just want to play if safe :)
    Also thanks for not uploading the trailer. This seems like a little gem that I will watch here soon.
     
  4. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    I have a sneaking suspicion you're really going to like this one Asere
     
  5. Asere

    Asere Senior Member

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    I just bought this one and Silent Night Deadly Night. Can't wait
     
  6. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    you're in for a holiday horror blast!
     
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  7. Asere

    Asere Senior Member

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    I saw it this weekend and boy you weren't kidding on skipping the trailer and I can see why after I saw it. To not spoil the movie I won't say much but I had a feeling something was not right after watching it for 20min or so. A great movie and I don't regret buying it.
    Now I will continue and finish reading your review :)
     
  8. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    yup. I saw the trailer after I saw the movie and I IMMEDIATELY deleted it from my review "framework"....not doing so would have spoiled the review badly. And end then I was dancing around in my review trying to make sure I wouldn't give it away
     
  9. Asere

    Asere Senior Member

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    I just don't understand why in the world would they show certain parts that should not have been in the trailer. Thanks again for omitting the trailer from us here.
     
  10. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    yeah, whoever created the trailer wasn't looking to spare the viewers the surprise

    how did you like the film itself?
     
  11. Asere

    Asere Senior Member

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    I just finished reading your review and I agree it is spot on.
     
  12. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    excellent, glad you enjoyed it.
     

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