Christmas Break-In

Stranded at school before holiday break, a precocious girl gets into the spirit of saving when a trio of robbers trespass and hold the janitor hostage.

Year: 2019
Certificate: ALL
Director: Michael Kampa
Starring: Danny GloverDenise RichardsCameron SeelySean O’BryanKatrina BeginJake Van WagonerDouglas SpainDawson Ehlke

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I’m dreaming of a Christmas movie, just like the ones I used to watch. Netflix is a fantastic platform for film-makers, writers and actors, however, thanks to Netflix being the streaming giant that it is, it would seem it is also guilty of churning out content, conveyor-belt style, in a bid to offer quantity over quality. This seems to be the case with the Christmas content both in Netflix Originals and films on license to Netflix. We have come to expect ‘cheese’ in Christmas movies but that does not excuse writers editing old classics into a new spin to market as an original idea.

“Christmas Break-In” does just that. The film is the story of a young girl who single-handedly fends off burglars when she is accidentally left at school on the last day of term. From the opening scene of the movie featuring the main character, nine-year-old Izzy (Cameron Seely) and her ‘mean’ teenage brother Nick (Dawson Ehlke) to the next scenes of busy parents rushing around the kitchen ignoring the daughter eating pizza for breakfast or, the moment the parents shockingly remember they have forgotten to collect their child from school, ‘again’, almost every scene is a complete copy of a Christmas classic that you’ve probably guessed by now.

Just in case you haven’t here are a few more scenes; one of the bad guys is hit with a rock that leaves a red imprint on his face as he falls backward into the snow. Another scene shows not one but two large sacks swinging into the bad guy and in another scene quite early on in the movie when Izzy realises she has been left at school – staring straight down the camera – she declares something along the lines of; ‘I am all alone in the school, what am I going to do?’ she pauses, changes tone to excitement and repeats with a smirk ‘I’m ALL ALONE in the school!’ Cue familiar lively music and her enjoying unfettered access to the school and eating chocolate pudding with a big spoon. Yep, you’ve got it now, right, surely?!

OK, for those that haven’t (seriously?) – it’s “Home Alone”, the 1990 movie where a young boy is accidentally left at home by his parents at Christmas and ends up foiling the plot of two burglars). My point is, this film is so close to the classic all it serves to do is flag up how little the budget must have been in making this cheap-rip off. They have highlighted every great scene and destroyed it with a bad script and wooden acting from most of the cast. The filmmakers must have spent their entire budget casting Danny Glover as the friendly janitor that is teaching Izzy the guitar.

The premise of a child being forgotten at Christmas is so abhorrent in these modern times I am surprised nobody put a stop to it from the outset. Not to mention a nine-year-old girl spending most of her time with the school janitor in his office and a school that closed for Christmas with a child still waiting to be collected. The film screams ‘safeguarding’ and it felt uncomfortable to watch at times as the backstory seems so unbelievable. Perhaps this is the world we live in now, sheltered. Perhaps in the nineties, we overlooked such massive mistakes in parenting/childcare or maybe just maybe, the writing, producing, budget and ultimately the acting were bigger back then and thus made bad situations seem plausible. This lack of this is enhanced in “Christmas Break-In” by Denise Richards in her role as the mother who seems undisturbed by the fact that her daughter is alone in a blizzard!

This movie served us well in that it filled a gap on family movie night. Parents could snooze without really missing a thing and children could laugh at the capers of a child getting one over on the ‘bad guys’. There was an extremely cheesy happy ending but not the one expected as the parents appeared to come second to the janitor even in present giving on Christmas day. If you are looking for children’s basic entertainment for 90 minutes – it will do.

It was the children watching that noticed the similarities of the scenes with one of our favourite classic Christmas films and from that point on, whilst we did laugh at times, the film just seemed like a poor man’s “Home Alone”. The script writers and producers should hang their heads in shame; Netflix, whilst not the producers, should retreat to their corner and look forlorn, only they don’t need to because they’ve already moved on and are adding as many movies as they can get their hands on whilst simultaneously producing the odd fantastic Christmas Netflix Original i.e “The Christmas Chronicles”. The presence of bad content barely dents their reputation. In short, in my opinion, “Christmas Break-In” should be bypassed in favour of one of the Netflix Original Christmas offerings that will still offer a cheesy holiday feel but will be better scripted and acted ‘-ish’ with a slightly bigger budget. Although, that said, don’t even get me started on Netflix’s recent holiday offering; “Holiday Rush”!

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About Laura

Copywriter at LW Freelance Writing. I'm also a mother and wife, owner of two dogs and practicing Christian. Passionate about TV, film & cinema, spoken word, poetry, politics, autism and, feminism. Poet at

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