There are some things in life that should never be touched. Your grandma's lemon drizzle recipe, a Whitney Houston song, and, absolutely unequivocally, Home Alone.
The 1990 festive classic has stood the test of time, consistently topping 'best Christmas movie' lists. It's funny, it's action-packed, it's heart-warming. There is literally nothing about it that needs improving on and it's almost certainly the best Christmas film of all time. (Don't @ us.)
And yet, Christmas Break-In just happened.
The Netflix movie - starring Danny Glover and Denise Richards - tells the story of a young girl whose parents forget her and she's left stranded at school alone thanks to a blizzard. A group of robbers invade the school and take the janitor hostage, so it's left up to the girl to defend her school and save him.
The 2018 film landed on the streaming platform on Friday along with a slew of festive titles, and we can't help thinking the writers may have seen Home Alone. Just a hunch.
Christmas Break-In isn't associated with 20th Century Fox's Home Alone in any way, nor does it call itself a reboot or reimagining, but it's hard not to notice the similarities...
The premise is this: It's the last day of school before the Christmas break and precocious nine-year-old Izzy is gearing up for her guitar recital which she's excited to perform for her parents, who due to their busy, workaholic lives, have missed every single one prior.
Bad luck strikes when a blizzard hits town and the school are forced to cancel the performance. Low and behold, her parents have forgot all about little Izzy anyway, and she's left stranded at the empty school as she waits for her parents to pick her up. However, they aren't getting anywhere in the blizzard, so call up the kind school janitor, Ray, to go and collect her.
Simultaneously a group of robbers have just done over a Salvation Army store and are escaping in an ice cream truck. Seeking shelter, food, and hopefully a bit more cash, they decide to break in to the school which they think is abandoned.
They capture Ray in the process and hold him hostage while they go about their dirty work. In the mean time, Izzy seeks to save her friend, defend her school at all costs, and steal back the charity money from the crafty criminals. You with us? Good.
Izzy sets to work with making the robbers think the school is haunted: placing a fan though vents to create a ghostly chill, creating creepy AF ghost noises (by way of a placing a recording in front of the school tannoy), donning scary masks, creating booby traps and cutting all the electricity.
They eventually defeat the robbers, Izzy is reunited with her parents in heart-warming scenes, and her moody teenage brother finds new-found respect for her. Got it?
The lead kid
There are of course some differences between the lead characters. For starters, A Christmas Break-In has a female lead, Izzy, played by Cameron Seely (The Grinch, The Greatest Showman), unlike Macaulay Culkin's Kevin McCallister. She's nine, he's eight.
But that's just about where the similarities end. They're both wise beyond their years, slightly bratty, energetic, witty and thrilled to be left alone without adults in their school and family home, respectively.
There's a scene where Izzy celebrates this, and it'll remind you of Kevin's "I made my family disappear" moment. Take a look:
Home Alone's crooks were Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) aka the Wet Bandits, one a short hot-headed robber and the other his tall, dim-witted partner in crime.
Christmas Break-In's equivalent is Barbie, Rico, and Ned: a mean boyfriend and girlfriend duo and Barbie's brother Ned, a simple-minded man with a good heart. Ned's been pressured into the whole thing by his evil sister, and insists on not hurting anyone in the process.
Ned, who was "dropped on his head as a baby", has a jolt of conscience when he speaks to Ray the janitor. He attempts to help Ray escape, but is caught in the process by Barbie and Rico.
Eventually, Ned overpowers Rico and helps Ray escape, saving the day. Ray tells the police about what Ned does and his prison time is drastically reduced. He also offers him a friend when he gets out of prison. Sweet, eh?
The rest of the family
Much like Kate and Peter McCallister, who forgot their child to fly to Paris for a Christmas holiday - oh, and then again when the fly to Florida in Home Alone 2 - Izzy's parents are equally as awful.
Played by Denise Richards and Sean O'Bryan, the workaholic mum and dad have forgotten their daughter's various school recitals countless times.
Has no one heard of child abandonment around here?
Unlike Kevin and his four siblings and six cousins, Izzy only has one brother, teenager Nick, who despite his moody big brotherly apathy towards her, secretly cares a lot for her.
In all, A Christmas Break-In is a fun watch if you're prepared to see at as an entity of its own, but when you start comparing it to a Christmas classic its destined for disaster.
You can watch A Christmas Break-In on Netflix now.
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