Strange moment Sony has chosen to release, directly in domestic format, this slasher with a marked Christmas character: in the middle of spring. In the end, it doesn’t matter: the format is a genre convention – just as it doesn’t have to be August to enter the summer camps where a psychopath lurks – and ‘Beware of strangers’ (‘Better Watch Out’) has the atmosphere, but not much of the spirit of conciliation and fellowship typical of Christmas.
In fact, he has very bad drool. It is very complex to describe ‘Beware of strangers’ without going into the realm of acute spoilers, so we will limit ourselves to saying that it describes the meeting of an extremely intelligent and sensitive young man, Luke (Levi Miller), his babysitter, Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) and the former’s best friend, Garrett (Ed Oxenbould) who have to repel a Christmas home invasion like they can. But nothing is what it seems, and the road will be full of surprises, violence and revelations.
Revelations that, let’s say it already, will be only mildly surprising to the spectator seasoned in the genre. It is relatively easy to anticipate the surprises that ‘Beware of strangers’ reserves in its plot, but luckily for everyone, The interesting thing about the film is not so much the plot twists as the way it gets to them.
What makes ‘Beware of Strangers’ special is a peculiar and very unusual affection for its characters in the genre. Three typologies as widespread as the nanny clearly called to become final girl since we see his determined and intelligent personality, the sensitive child and a disturbing point and the friend without much sense are here treated with care and written with intelligence. Nobody is exactly what it seems, although they all dive between the warm topic that will comfort the fan of the genre and the ability to surprise and be credible.
For example, a very careful background is guessed when defining the personality of the nanny, who is going to leave the city in a few hours, and the relationships with the girlfriends that she has had in the city that she is now leaving. Without being discursive or unnecessarily explanatory, With brushstrokes very well applied in the dialogues, he is endowed with an empathetic personality and with which it is easy to identify: the goal of every good horror movie.
‘Beware of strangers’: great young actors and wicked humor
Much of the blame lies with the main actors. Interestingly, DeJonge and Oxenbould previously met, playing two brothers in M. Night Shyamalan’s haunting and extraordinary ‘The Visit’, and here they turn to their characters with nuanced performances. Adding to the exhilarating life of her own that DeJonge gives to the babysitter is the complicated role of Miller, a nervous and kinky boy with whom he does an extremely interesting job from the point of view of physical expression and voice.
The icing on the cake is a script that constantly plays with an evil humor that is primed on Christmas topics (starting with the plausibility of the physics of ‘Alone at home’ … with result splat stick) and who contemplate with disbelief the very topic of the films of home invasions. But at the same time dignifies them by reinventing their most hackneyed aspects, with underground references to suspense classics and a genuine devotion to slashers festive setting.
It is clear that, although sometimes it seems that they want to sell it to us like that, we cannot have a movie that revolutionizes the history of horror cinema every fortnight. The claims of ‘Beware of strangers’ are much more modest, but what it claims to do it does it beautifully. Imaginative, honest, direct and forceful, ‘Beware of strangers’ is a miniature slasher extremely funny … even if caught out of date.
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a home invasion with anti-Christmas satire