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Better Watch Out (Blu-ray Review)

Its pretty exciting that my Holiday slasher/horror selection seems to be growing with some more modern movies being added or made in the last few years. Krampus is a recent favorite of mine that has become tradition to go along with Silent Night, Deadly Night, Christmas Evil and To All A Goodnight. Now, in 2017, we have the home invasion thriller/dark comedy Better Watch Out to make viewing space for. I’ve already seen this once this year, when it came to digital rental and I’m very excited to see it again already here for this Blu-ray review. Well Go USA will be putting this out in a Blu-ray and DVD combo pack. The likes of which will give you ample time to watch during the holiday season as it comes out on December 5th!

Film 

This holiday season, you may be home, but you’re not alone… In this fresh and gleefully twisted spin on home-invasion horror, Ashley travels to the suburban home of the Lerners to baby-sit their 12-year-old son Luke at Christmastime. She must soon defend herself and the young boy when unwelcome intruders who announce their arrival.

Let me start this out by saying that when it comes to Better Watch Out; do what I did. Take the buzz and raves for this movie at face value and go into it as blind as possible. Do not watch the trailer. This movie will send you for a damn loop if you don’t really know what all is going on. I watched the trailer afterward and would probably not have gotten as big of a kick out of the film as I did, had I watched the thing before seeing it.

So now, I don’t even want to come close to spoiler territory with this damn thing and not want to reveal anything. However, this movie does more than just be a horror film. It examines a lot of problems with white male privilege as well as general male sexism from many different characters and angles. And also at face value its disturbing, gory and brings some uncomfortable laughs. Overall, its quite effective in all that it does. I hate to be so vague and sure, maybe this review sucks, but I’d much rather you not know what’s going on in this movie and talk to you after you’ve seen it.

Better Watch Out is another must-see entry into Holiday horror along with the likes of Krampus. The film is darkly comedic, disturbing, violent, just enough gore and suspenseful.  It plays upon the genre expectations as well as plays upon male entitlement and misogynistic fantasy.  Your expectations will probably be off and the movie really keeps you completely guessing throughout. You’ve seen home invasion type films before, but you’ve not seen one like this, which really turns things on their head and makes for a unique experience. Check this one out, and like I said, go in blind as you can!

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-25

Clarity/Detail: Better Watch Out comes to Blu-ray with an overall very good picture. It has some very nice color saturation and display as well as strong details. At times its a hair overly smooth and the image might just be a hair too vivid. Its not a problem, just an observation. This looks really good and probably more than good enough for a majority of viewers.

Depth:  Spacing is solid here. Its not going to blow the lid off or anything. There are some James Wan like camera motions that turn out nicer than other parts. Movement is fluid and smooth with no really damaging instances of jitter or blurring with rapidity.

Black Levels: Blacks are a hair brightened up a bit. I didn’t notice any crushing in this and most of the details are kept intact in darker sequences.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty good and natural here with blues and reds coming in strong. Reds are lit up pretty good in this image.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the film. Facial features are much more apparent in close ups and medium shots. Make-up smearings, dried blood/paint and other little blemishes can be made out pretty well.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Better Watch Out utilizes and has fun with an effective and involving 5.1 mix. Its plenty loud and features a good amount to get you jumping or feel like you’re part of the action. Sound isn’t afraid to hang in the back speakers with some good ambiance. This is a well balanced mix as none of the score, vocals or effects really step on one another’s toes. Effects are quite well realized and feature good intricacies on their depth.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Shotguns blast, buckets crash on heads, music gets some good beats and impalings feel a nice push in your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Its a hair front heavy, but the mix does give us some solid stuff in the back speakers. Sound travel and placement is pretty accurate as well.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are crisp and clear.

Extras 

Better Watch Out comes with the DVD edition and a Christmas card.

Making Of (HD, 52:41) – A wonderfully in depth retrospective look at telling the story of how the film was made that includes the cast and crew. I wish more indie horror titles had something as well put together as this. Maybe the Phantasm set got Well Go USA inspired to do more stuff like this.

Trailers (HD, 2:03) 

Summary 

Better Watch Out should be deemed a modern Holiday horror classic and comes from Well Go USA in a solid all around release. For a bonus you get an almost feature length documentary on making this film which is awesome. It has a solid image to go around with a very effective audio track. Horror fans should have this one instantly and its already sitting at a good price for a Day 1 pickup.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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