Christmas is coming, which means it’s nearly time for the most important festive tradition of them all – blowing the dust off your Home Alone 1 & 2 DVD boxset (or simply checking the listings to find out when those perfect films will inevitably be on telly).
But if you’re a little bit bored of the misadventures of Kevin, or there’s a Grinch in your family who wants to watch something else, here’s how to watch Home Alone, without actually watching Home Alone.
Better Watch Out (2017)
Christmas, check. Home invasion, check. Resourceful leads who find themselves in over their heads, check. Kid who’s been left home alone (well, with a babysitter) who has a surprising capacity for violence, double-check.
We don’t want to say any more than that, as there’s plenty of surprises we could potentially spoil, but there’s a very good reason Better Watch Out has been described by most critics as being Home Alone meets Funny Games. It’s because it’s exactly that. Better Watch Out hits UK cinemas this Friday, 8 December.
The third act of Skyfall is 100% Home Alone, to the extent that we thought the film’s big reveal would be that James Bond is a codename, and 007’s real identity is Kevin McCallister.
Actually, 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 a bunch of homemade traps in their childhood gaff, including rigged floorboards and exploding lightbulbs that fire nails at their victims.
It’s all a bit lo-fi for Bond, but whatever. Didn’t he used to have hi-tech gadgets? We’re pretty sure he used to have hi-tech gadgets.
Don’t Breathe (2016)
Remember the slightly scary old dude in the first Home Alone, the one who turns out to be quite sweet really, because he’s just missing his family?
Now, imagine if that dude actually was a terrifying creep, and Harry and Marv had gone to his house instead of Kevin’s and you’re half the way to picturing Don’t Breathe.
There’s obviously more to it than that (including the genius premise that this film’s home invaders are fending off a blind man with pretty intense military skills and an evil dog), but if you missed this thriller gem in cinemas last year, stick it on 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 precious possession. That’s all we’ll say about Inside, because, as with Better Watch Out, the less you know about it the better.
But we will warn you that Inside is insanely tense, and ridiculously violent, so maybe don’t stick it on for the kids. But, despite being a brutal horror film, it could be considered an unofficial prequel to Home Alone, especially if you imagine Kevin’s the unborn baby absorbing the knowledge of how to deal with someone who’s broken into your home.
The Collector (2009)
Initially intended as a Saw prequel (come to think of 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 Collector’s hero is a burglar, and the villain is a dude who sets up a bunch of traps (all of which are made from household objects, like fishhooks dangling from the ceiling and a room full of bear traps) so he can kidnap him in a box.
Yeah, it’s basically as convoluted as it sounds, but if you’ve ever wanted to see Home Alone from the Wet Bandits’ perspective, this is the film for you.
You’re Next (2011)
Some criminals invade the family home and our plucky lead is required to construct as series of elaborate traps in order to stop them.
Sure, You’re Next might look like a horror film, what with its masked-killer villains, buckets of gore and a ‘final girl’ in the lead, but for all intents and purposes, it’s what it would look like if John Carpenter directed Home Alone.
The Equalizer (2014)
The third act of The Equalizer is basically Home Alone set in Home Depot.
Sure, our lead Robert (Denzel Washington) is a retired CIA agent who’s working in a hardware store (which sounds a bit silly when we write it down like that) and not an eight-year-old boy who’s stuck in his house because he has dreadful parents, but they both use everyday tools to brutalise the people they disagree with.
There are definitely more deaths in The Equalizer, but only because Harry and Marv appear to be semi-indestructible.