Whether or not you enjoy this movie might end up having more to do with whether or not you mind that the trailer is completely misleading. Like... COMPLETELY misleading. With that said, the surprises the film holds are really quite genuine, and I didn't see it taking the turn that it did; a turn which I still can't quite figure out if I like or not. Although this turn is rather clever, I feel like I'd have liked to have seen what I expected. Anyway, I can't very well talk about what the movie is ACTUALLY about without spoiling that twist, so if you haven't seen it and care, check it out before reading on. If you have seen it, or don't care either way, go nuts. This is your spoiler alert.
Here we have a boy named Lucas (Levi Miller) who, despite his looking old enough to take care of himself (seriously, he was born in September, 2002, making him 15 by the time this was released) , still has a babysitter named Ashley (Olivia DeJong). He takes a liking to her, and tries rather creepily and desperately to get with her while she's babysitting him around the holidays. He and his best friend, Garrett (Ed Oxenbould) even go so far as to stage a break-in, which is the pinpoint moment that the film makes it's little twist. Once they're caught, Lucas kinda just has enough of being treated like a little kid and goes off the freakin' deep end. So, by the trailer, we're pretty well convinced that Luke, Ashley and Garrett are defending the house 'Home Alone' style, but with real consequences, which WOULD make for a pretty over the top comedic blood-bath that would never allow us to see 'Home Alone' in the same way again. But instead, it just turns into a hostage movie, with Lucas of all people at the wheel.
Now, as disappointing as that was, I have to admit that Miller's performance here is nothing short of awesome. If I were to draw a comparison, I'd have to say that a LOT of his inspiration had to come from Alex from 'A Clockwork Orange'. If something goes wrong, he loses his shit, but if something goes his way, he embraces the moment with such satisfaction. The kid's an unlikable psycho, but definitely makes a great movie villain, and I'd say his performance is what stands out the most here. You can just tell he's having a ton of fun with it.
Unfortunately, however, the film does stray from something that could have been fun and original and turns it into 'The Strangers' or 'The Purge' with similar situations. It also reminded me a lot of a reverse-'Babysitter' (the movie I reviewed around Halloween) with the kid being the psycho instead of the sitter. In that whole respect, it was relatively dull, but to it's credit, it maintained a bit of unpredictability as far as character fates go.
It's a passable, fun little horror movie for the holidays that could be compared to something like 'Black Christmas', but much less scary (seriously, is there a creepier stalker than Billy's big stupid eyeball?) If you're into that sort of thing, give it a look. If not, stick with your family favorites and leave this kind of thing for Halloween.