Safe Neighborhood follows creepy, bratty, oversexed 12 year old Luke (Levi Miller) in his campaign to seduce Ashley (Olivia DeJonge), the hot 17 year old who has been babysitting him for years, before she moves away for college. Ashley arrives to watch Luke one last time while his parents are out at a holiday party. Things get weird as Ashley brushes off young Luke’s efforts show his feelings, and then spooky as they begin to realize there is someone else in the house. Watch out for those plastic yard Santa’s.
Written by comedy writer Zack Kahn (Mad TV), Safe Neighborhood a perfect blend of humor and horror. I was either cracking up or jumping at the scares for most of the film.
The cast of teenage actors all do a fantastic job, convincingly terrified at the unimaginable situation they’ve ended up in. Everyone bounces dialogue and banter around with good chemistry, heightening both the humor and the horrible things happening around them. Levi Miller, as 12 year old Luke, is just plain disturbing.
Safe Neighborhood is violent, but not gratuitously so. Director Chris Peckover opted for implying lots of gore without actually showing much of it. I always prefer this approach, because what I can imagine offscreen is always worse than whatever the FX budget could pull off. That said, there are a lot of genuinely horrifying things that happen in this film, and it’s not going to be for everyone.
I recommend watching Safe Neighborhood with a group of friends who enjoy dark humor. Invite the people you would watch Krampus with, and make cookies and hot chocolate (which is tasty with whiskey in it, FYI).
Safe Neighborhood is, at its core, a delightfully twisted spin on the home-invasion horror genre. It’s violent, it’s set during Christmas, and it’s really funny.
This movie has some major twists that you really don’t see coming, so don’t let anyone spoil it for you. I would avoid trailers, honestly.
No release date for the U.S. has been announced yet. I’ll be watching for it myself, and will update and repost this review when I find out.
This review is part of the Cheese and Glory Holiday Horror series, usually posted on Thursdays until New Year’s. Subscribe to the blog for more horror recommendations to get you through the holiday season.