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Five Rom-Coms Reimagined in Different Genres


Rom-Com Favorites With Some Slight Tweaks

Home Alone (1990), on the surface, is a funny and heartwarming movie for kids. It’s a staple among families come Christmas time, but aside from the whimsical tone, the comedic charm of Macauley Culkin, the Hanna-Barbera ineptitude of the main villains and the John Candy cameo as the “polka king,” the premise is quite horrifying. Without seeing the film, it can most simply be described as a young boy is accidentally left home alone as his family leaves the country, and he must defend himself from two home invaders. In different hands (say, David Fincher) this could be a tense, heart palpitating thriller. 

The most written-off genre in film is the “rom-com.” They put tushes in cushions but are generally tossed in the guilty pleasure pile afterward. But what if these films got the Home Alone horror treatment? What if their bones were ripped from their cherubic frames, placed on the chopping block and re-assembled to form a Terminator (1984) or Frankenstein (1994 with Robert De Niro)?

Let’s try. Here are five romcoms reimagined in different genres.

5. 27 Dresses (2008): Rom-Com

Jane (Katherine Heigl) is always a bridesmaid and never a bride. She has been a bridesmaid at 27 different weddings. Things change, however, when she meets Kevin (James Marsden), a wedding announcement writer for a newspaper. In typical meet-cute fashion, they begin at odds over their differing views on marriage, but Jane happens to leave her planner in Kevin’s possession which gives him an excuse to see her again. Meanwhile, Jane’s sister, Tess, returns home from abroad and quickly sparks up a romance with Jane’s boss, George (who Jane is secretly in love with). Tess and George get engaged and Jane is asked by her sister to be the maid of honor for a relationship she knows is built on lies. Meanwhile, Jane grows closer to Kevin, who is secretly writing an article about Jane being a lifelong bridesmaid. Things come to a head when Jane sabotages Tess and George’s engagement party by exposing her sister as a liar. Jane reconciles with Kevin and realizes she loves him and a year later she has made amends with her sister and is finally getting married. Happy ending.

27 Dresses: Mob Movie

Jane Cazametto is a wedding planner for Italian mob wives. She has planned the weddings of 27 high-ranking members of the Giambi crime family, and through her position, has a lifetime of gossip at her fingertips and a wealth of information on her clients’ husbands. At a wedding, an FBI agent named Kevin Doyle, posed as a caterer, comes in contact with Jane and they strike up an antagonistic conversation based on their differing views about marriage. Jane leaves in a huff but also leaves behind her client book. Kevin, realizing how much information Jane potentially has, tracks her down and threatens to charge her with aiding and abetting crime if she does not become an informant. Meanwhile, Jane’s sister, Tessa, has just announced her engagement to the sadistic Giambi capo, Georgie Bianchi. Tess asks her sister to plan the wedding and Kevin views this scenario as the perfect opportunity to run a sting operation with Jane on the inside. Jane must decide between protecting herself and protecting her sister as she both assists and diverts the FBI in the lead-up to the big day. On the big day? A shootout between the cops and the mob sees Jane evading the two sides to lead her sister to safety.

4. The Holiday (2006): Rom-Com

Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet) live two very different lives in two vastly different places. Iris is a London newspaper columnist who is heartbroken by the news of her ex-boyfriend’s engagement, and Amanda is a movie trailer producer in Los Angeles who has recently broken up with her boyfriend upon discovering his infidelity. The two list their homes on a home swap website and exchange environments for a planned two weeks. Amanda, a city girl in the English countryside, struggles to acclimate as does Iris in a swankier environment than she is used to. Eventually, the two get more comfortable as they meet their respective love interests–-Amanda meets Iris’ brother Graham (Jude Law) and Iris meets Amanda’s coworker Miles (Jack Black). Iris also sparks a friendship with Amanda’s elderly neighbor, Arthur (Eli Wallach) a once-famous screenwriter who encourages her to follow the lead of strong female characters from the movies and take control of her life. As the two women begin to feel at home, they wonder how long this holiday can last.

The Holiday: Crime Thriller

Iris is a young woman in London, heartbroken over her ex-boyfriend announcing his engagement to another woman. Her brother, Graham, offers to send her to Los Angeles on a vacation where she can stay in his friend’s swanky home, who is away for the next month. Amanda, a movie trailer producer from Los Angeles is fresh off a breakup and posts her home on a home swap website. She receives an offer to swap with a woman from the English countryside and she accepts. In Los Angeles, Iris befriends Arthur, an elderly screenwriter next door, and finds herself attracted to the homeowner’s coworker, Miles, who stops by the house to drop off some reels from a recent shoot. Amanda meets Graham, who seems surprised by her presence in his sister’s home, and a romance sparks between the two. 

Unknown to either of the women, Graham “Bangers and Mash” Simpkins is orchestrating a long-distance heist of a valuable film artifact from Amanda’s home in conjunction with his American associate, Miles “Frank and Beans” Dumont. Miles, an actual coworker of Amanda’s, had been convincing her for months to do the home swap, the idea that having Iris there would leave the home open for Miles to poke around without arousing suspicion. Their plans are complicated when Iris befriends Arthur, who becomes suspicious of Miles. In order to buy Miles more time, Graham seduces Amanda, subtly convincing her to extend her vacation. Miles pretends to romantically pursue Iris in order to get more alone time in the home. When Iris discovers Arthur dead in his backyard, she begins to slowly unravel the truth behind her “holiday.” She finds a way to contact Amanda, and when both women discover they are being held captive in their respective locations, they must both find a way to escape.

3. Just Go With It (2010): Rom-Com

Danny (Adam Sandler) is a Los Angeles plastic surgeon who wears a wedding ring to pick up young women. One day at a party, he takes off his ring to help out a kid with a skinned knee, and he meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), a young school teacher. The two spend a romantic night together on a beach, but in the morning, Palmer discovers the wedding ring in Danny’s pocket. Rather than tell the truth, he concocts a lie that involves a soon-to-be-divorced wife. Palmer asks to meet Danny’s wife and he asks his coworker, Katherine (Jennifer Anniston) to help him out. The lie grows deeper and eventually, Danny must take Palmer on vacation with Katherine and her kids all the while pretending that they are his family. Through the vacation, Danny discovers his true feelings are for Katherine, someone he can be completely honest with. 

Just Go With It: Horror

Palmer Dodge is a young schoolteacher who just moved from the Midwest to Los Angeles. She struggles to fit in her new environment and feels isolated. The father of one of her students invites Palmer to a swanky party in the Hollywood Hills. At the party, Palmer feels out of place in the wealthy and older environment, but she finds herself comforted by Danny, a middle-aged plastic surgeon when she comes across him bandaging up a child’s skinned knee. The two have a romantic night together, but in the morning she discovers a wedding ring in Danny’s pocket. She’s infuriated by the thought that Danny lied to her and cheated on his wife, but Danny assures her that he is in the process of an amicable divorce. Palmer and Danny grow closer and she requests to meet his family. Danny invites her on a planned vacation to Hawaii with his ex-wife and kids, something she finds odd, but she feels assured after meeting his wife and seeing their friendly dynamic. In Hawaii, Palmer gets the distinct feeling that everyone on the vacation is watching her and she notices some odd behavior from Danny’s family such as tense conversations between all of them when they think she is not around. As Palmer grows more suspicious and the circumstances of the vacation grow murkier, she begins to unravel an intricate plot revealing that Danny and his wife are part of a cult that harvests blood and body parts from young people and Danny, as a plastic surgeon, expertly crafts new bodies for the aging members. Trapped on the island, Palmer must find a way to escape before she is harvested.

2. Sweet Home Alabama (2002): Rom-Com

Melanie (Reese Witherspoon), is a successful New York fashion designer who ran away from her hometown in Alabama as a teenager. She has crafted a new life for herself and is engaged to Andrew (Patrick Dempsey) the handsome son of the Mayor of New York. She returns home to Alabama for the first time since she left to announce her engagement to her parents and finalize her divorce with her childhood sweetheart, Jake (Josh Lucas). While there, she reconciles with the past she attempted to escape and reconnects with her roots, finding herself falling for Jake again, all while Andrew’s mother has sent her assistant down to Alabama to spy on Melanie in the hopes of breaking up the engagement. After being outed, Andrew forgives Melanie and she reconnects with Jake, leading to a confrontation with Andrew’s mother that ends in Melanie finally owning the hometown she has tried so hard to ignore.

Sweet Home Alabama: Political Satire

Melanie is a successful young woman who left her hometown in Alabama to pursue a career in politics in Washington D.C. Hungry for political opportunity, she decides to run for an open senate seat in Alabama, despite the considerable distance she has put between herself and her childhood. She returns to her hometown on the campaign trail and plays to a conservative voter base, charming them with her plea to return to a “southern way of life,” but her childhood sweetheart, Jake, is the only one who knows she’s putting on an act. Her competition in the race, aware that Melanie is building a false persona inconsistent with her politics, sends her assistant to Melanie’s hometown to gather information on her past. The assistant gets Jake to admit that he and Melanie had an abortion when they were younger, right before she left for Washington. A smear campaign ensues and Melanie must decide between doubling down and blaming the allegations leveled against her on “fake media” or completely flipping her stance and appealing to a more liberal voter base in the state in the hopes that a younger generation will publicize her campaign on social media. It all comes to a head at a press conference to address the allegations.

1. Hitch (2005): Rom-Com

Alex “Hitch” Hitchens (Will Smith) is a professional date doctor who consults men on the best way to attract the women they secretly pine for. While helping a new, rather hopeless, client win a date with a woman far out of his league, Hitch meets Sara (Eva Mendes), a gossip columnist, and is instantly attracted to her, although he finds the expertise men pay him for does not work on her, no matter how hard he tries. When Sara learns through a disgruntled former client what Hitch truly does, she publishes an expose on his work. Hitch is forced to confront the truth: he does not actually know women, he only knows how to provide insecure men with confidence. After his reckoning, Hitch patches up damaged relationships, including his own with Sarah, learning what true love is for the first time.

Hitch: Sci-fi Action

In 2033 Los Angeles, Alex “Hitch” Hitchens serves as a “relationship consultant,” using subtle deception to push unaware people towards forming “ideal couples” for an agency that intends to breed a masterclass of wealthy and genetically healthy people as a new virus ravages those without resources. The agency plans to eventually build an oasis for these couples where society can rebuild with “superior genes.” Sara Melas is an investigative reporter hot on Hitch’s trail off an anonymous tip. As she pursues Hitch, he finds himself falling for her and when Hitch realizes that the agency plans to kill her, he decides to protect her at all costs as they are pursued throughout the city by dispatched “fixers” or highly trained killers. Hitch reveals that he sent in the anonymous tip as he became aware of the potential genocide his work assisted in, and together the two find a way to alert the public and save humanity from planned destruction.

Hitch (2002) Official Trailer

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Will King is a writer based in Los Angeles, CA. The one thing he loves equally to watching film and television is talking about it.