Christmas is coming up, which means it’s almost time for the most important festive tradition of them all — blowing the dust off your Home Alone 1 & 2 DVD combo (or simply checking the listings to see when those inevitably perfect movies will be on TV).
But if you’re a little bored with Kevin’s misadventures, or fancy something with a little more of a beat, here’s how to watch. Home Alone, without actual viewing Home Alone.
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Writer John Hughes admitted that the film was inspired by Sam Peckinpah’s brutal home invasion film Straw Dogs, released in 1971, so if you really want to go back to the source, we highly recommend it as a good place to start.
If not, here are seven movies that play like Home Alone for older audiences.
Best Watch (2017)
Christmas, check. Home invasion, check. Check out the savvy leads who find themselves in over their heads. A child left alone at home (well, with a babysitter) has an amazing capacity for violence, double check.
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We don’t want to say more than that, because there are too many surprises to spoil, but there’s a very good reason for most critics to describe Better Watch Out as a Home alone meets funny games. This is because it is exactly that.
The third act of Skyfall is 100% Home Alone, so much so that we thought the movie’s big reveal would be that James Bond is a codename, and 007’s true identity is Kevin McCallister.
In fact, Bond 23 is probably closer to Home Alone 2, as it takes place in an abandoned building, but you get the point. Both involve our hero fending off the bad guys with an array of homemade traps in their childhood spears, including rigged floorboards and exploding lightbulbs that shoot spikes at their victims.
Everything is a little simple for Bond, but whatever. Didn’t he have high-tech gadgets? We are sure he had high tech gadgets.
Don’t Breathe (2016)
Remember the slightly creepy old guy in the first Home Alone, the one who turns out to be really very nice, because he misses his family?
Now, imagine if this guy was actually a terrifying creep, and Harry and Marv went to his house instead of Kevin and you’re halfway through conceiving Don’t Breathe.
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There’s obviously more to it than that (including the genius premise that the home invaders in this movie fend off a blind man with extreme military skills and an evil dog), but if you missed this juicy gem in cinemas last year, stick it to your Christmas list.
When a pregnant woman decides to spend Christmas Eve home alone, she doesn’t expect a burglar to enter the house, intent on stealing her most prized possessions. That’s all we’ll say about Inside, because, as with Better Watch Out, the less you know about it the better.
But we’ll warn you, Inside is insanely tense and ridiculously violent, so maybe don’t stick with it for the kids’ sake. But, as a brutal horror movie as it is, it could be considered an unofficial prequel to Home Alone, especially if you imagine unborn Kevin grasping figuring out how to deal with someone who broke into your house.
The Whole (2009)
Initially intended as a Saw prequel (think about it, is Home Alone a Saw prequel? We could totally see Kevin getting addicted to the adrenaline rush of trap creation and growing up to be Jigsaw, but we digress), the omnibus hero is a thief, and the villain is a dude who He sets a set of traps (all made out of household items, such as hooks hanging from the ceiling and a room full of bear traps) so he can kidnap him in a box.
Yes, it’s basically as complex as it sounds, but if you want to see Home Alone from the Wet Bandits’ perspective, this is the movie for you.
You’re Next (2011)
Some criminals invade the family home and our brave captain is required to build a series of elaborate traps in order to stop them.
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Sure, You Next might look like a horror movie, with its killer masked villains, buckets of blood and “last girl” in the lead, but for all intents and purposes, it’d be like John Carpenter directing House Alone.
The Equalizer (2014)
The third chapter of The Equalizer is basically Home Alone set in a Home Depot.
Sure, our leader Robert (Denzel Washington) is a retired CIA agent working in a hardware store (which sounds a little silly when we write it like that) and not an eight-year-old boy stuck in his home because he has horrible parents, but they both use Everyday tools for brutalizing people who disagree with them.
There are definitely more deaths in The Equalizer, but only because Harry and Marv seem almost indestructible.
(Editor’s note: This feature was first published in 2017)
Watch a trailer for Better Watch Out
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