After her father is murdered, working mother Shaun (Gabrielle Union) and her children head to her father's sprawling and remote mansion to set his affairs in order and soon finds herself battling a group of criminals intent on stealing a secret stash inside.


 


Home-invasion thrillers are pretty rote by their nature, so trying to change up the mechanics in some shape or form has to be done to make it exciting. For Breaking In, the only thing that's shifted here is that the protagonist is a woman and instead of her trying to keep someone out of the house, she's trying to get in. After that, it's pretty much as you'd expect and it's done in such a standard, unoriginal way that you find yourself either comparing it to better iterations - like, say, Panic Room - or wondering why Gabrielle Union, who's a genuine talent, is taking low-rent thrillers like this when she could be doing far better work in something else.


In fact, Gabrielle Union's performance is the one saving grace in this and if she didn't have to contend with such a laughably bad screenplay - most of the cheesy one-liners verge on the ridiculous, never mind some gaping plotholes you could drive a truck through - there might be something here. Instead, it's by the numbers right the way through. Billy Burke, meanwhile, is woefully miscast as the leader of the criminals and is about as threatening as, well, the cop father from Twilight.


If you find yourself thinking that this is the kind of film that Liam Neeson is wont to star in, you're not wrong - the screenwriter behind this penned The Commuter and Non-Stop, two of the Ballymena native's recent thrillers. The difference here, other than gender-swapping the lead, is that both of those films had a director with a real sense of style and panache - Jaume Collet-Serra. Here, however, it's journeyman James McTiegue, who's most well-known work is V For Vendetta - a film that should have been far, far better than what it was.


While there's a certain chintzy thrill to some of Breaking In, it's a largely forgettable thriller that's far too derivative and lacking in any kind of excitement and has been unceremoniously wedged into cinemas between two of the biggest blockbusters of the summer.