A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's not a message movie, but you could make the case that meticulous planning comes to fruition, and courage pays off to some degree.
Positive Role Models
One character is brave and smart and doesn't give up. But there are many other less-positive figures in the story.
Violence & Scariness
On-screen killings, though the goriest stuff is left to the viewer's imagination (which actually could be more disturbing for some). Murder methods include shotgun blast, stabbing, and more. Also cruelty and torture. A woman's breast is groped against her will.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some crude talk of sexual intent and a brief glimpse of non-explicit porn pages online.
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Frequent use of words including "f--k" (and its variants), "s--t," "ass," and more.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A teen and a 12-year-old drink champagne. Some pot smoking, including in a grotesque manner. A 12-year-old abuses prescription narcotics. A 12-year-old attempts to "roofie" a teen.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Better Watch Out is a Christmas-themed dark comedy/horror movie that's definitely not for younger viewers. While the grossest violence is left to the imagination (which could me more disturbing, frankly), plenty of terrible things happen on-screen, including death via shotgun blast, stabbing, and more, as well as cruelty and torture. There's also frequent strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and more), tween/teen drinking and drug use (a 12-year-old drinks, abuses narcotics, and tries to "roofie" a teen), and non-graphic sexuality. Bottom line? It's too intense and twisted for most young teens. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's never too early for a Christmas-themed horror/thriller movie, if it's as original as this one. Better Watch Out shifts gears several times in some delightful ways, gleefully blurring into which genre it actually fits. "Delightful" might seem like a strange description for a film in which some truly hideous things happen -- including torture, murder, and assault -- but for those who go in for twisty, twisted, violent thrillers, the film likely has enough surprises to make it fun. Nice-girl teen babysitter Ashley is moving soon, but she welcomes the chance to care for 12-year-old Luke one more time in the family's cushy suburban neighborhood. Luke is about to put the moves on her when someone starts terrorizing them. To reveal more would ruin the experience; let's just say there's much more to the story than that.
Better Watch Out's spins on a dime recall the Duplass brothers' underappreciated Baghead, though this film definitely aims for a more sinister kind of entertainment. It plays at times like a John Hughes movie remade by Eli Roth. There's a puckish humor beneath it all; director/co-writer Chris Peckover definitely maintains a meta-view of the genre(s) and keeps things moving entertainingly. Miller has collected a few awards for his lead performance, and DeJonge is very good in a role with more dimension than the usual damsel in distress. Better Watch Out isn't for kids, but for horror/thriller fans, it's a nice holiday surprise.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.