Vacation-centric horror movies are always a good time. While Halloween is clearly the most appropriate holiday for the occasion, there is also a plethora of horror films revolving around Christmas. Some are real classics, like the years 1974 Black christmas who practically started the slasher genre. Others like 1997 Jack frost maybe worth a visit.
Five years ago, a quiet Christmas horror film went somewhat under the radar. With a first-time director and a promising cast, the Australian-made film Better be careful has gained momentum since its initial release, as it has appeared on streaming sites like Shudder and Tubi. Horror fans in particular have eaten this because it is completely different from what so many viewers have come to expect, and it is becoming a staple for the Christmas season.
The film is set around the Christmas season and follows a babysitter named Ashley who is about to leave town for good. The boy she babysits, 12-year-old Luke, is a regular customer of her, so the night should go on as a routine. Sadly, Ashley and Luke, along with her silly friend Garrett, start to notice some weird and scary things that could indicate they’re in danger. The movie is much more than that, but these are all the details that need to be known before going to watch. Better be careful is a surprising roller coaster of a movie, and going blind will give the most satisfying result. Just know that it’s worth it.
If you want to watch the movie, stop here. Otherwise, spoiler for Better be careful forward.
The remarkable feature of Better be careful and why so many people think it’s a great movie is its big twist and the way it’s crafted. Basically the whole beginning of the movie is gearing up to be something it’s not. However, this setup is so well written and natural looking that the average viewer who goes blind is unlikely to see the change coming. Once everything is revealed, which doesn’t take that long, the little hints given at the start start to make sense and the tone of the film is completely different.
What the twist reveals is a nasty secret. After Ashley finds out that Luke organized a home invasion with his friend Garrett to scare and ultimately impress him with a crush, she is rightly angry. However, Luke lashes out and attacks Ashley, binding her and holding her hostage. The real danger was revealed to be Luke. He’s a 12-year-old psychopath and after that point the rest of the movie moved on with Ashley trying to escape his grips as he tortures her psychologically and physically, along with a few friends who show up.
Once the initial twist hits, it’s really hard to determine where this movie is going to go. So much is happening and there are still several little twists and turns and reveals. The ride is top to bottom, very entertaining and easy to invest, and will be enjoyed by many. It is also a good play on the history of “The Babysitter & The Man Upstairs”, to which we paid tribute a little in Black christmas and very openly in When a stranger calls.
The cast of Better be careful, which is largely maintained by the teenage and pre-teen characters, is stellar. The heroine of the story is played by Olivia DeJonge. The character is supposed to be an “all American” kind of girl. Very sweet, she is moving to the big city, and of course, she is beautiful with many suitors. DeJonge masters this role and plays it so convincingly, totally embodying that familiar type of character. She is very endearing and believable which makes her easy to root for her survival.
Luke and Garrett are played by Levi Miller and Ed Oxenbould respectively. Oxenbould and Olivia DeJonge have actually played siblings in M. Night Shyamalan before. Visit. While they’re not that close in this movie, they do have some really adorable interactions. Oxenbould also plays the goofy, mute, friend role very well and is a big comedic relief from the movie. Miller is also a star in this film and possibly one to watch in the future. He’s a very convincing psychopath and a big bad guy, but he retains a real childish essence that is important due to his character’s age. To see him in this film is a joy.
In much smaller but still wonderful roles, Virginia Madsen and Patrick Warburton are Luke’s parents. They are very funny and even though they are only seen for a short time it is easy to instantly know who they are as a person. They are rich and completely out of touch with the world, which seems to have passed on to their child in the worst possible way.
When it comes to Christmas and holiday movies, people usually have their favorites. However, if viewers have watched the same movies every year for their entire lives, it can get a little boring. When that moment arrives, it’s a sign to shake things up and look for hidden gems. Better be careful certainly fits this description.
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