Knuckleball (2018)


Described as an "R-rated Home Alone," this indie bottle film turned out to be much better than anticipated, which was a nice surprise considering it's not the first to garner that type of description, but I'll personally remember it as one of the better ones. It's mostly due in part to the likable and believable child star "Henry" (played by Luca Villacis from Channel Zero), who finds himself staying with his secretive grandfather at his isolated farm while his parents go to a family funeral. Of course there's a reason why his gramps likes to keep to himself and the boy will soon find out after a strange young man shows up unexpectedly.

I can understand why the movie would have the Home Alone comparisons since the kid ends up alone and does set up some traps throughout the house, but luckily nothing too extravagant where some suspension of disbelief would be required (like in the actual Home Alone). For the most part he's just a smart kid and the movie stays fairly grounded in realism, which I'm happy with since the filmmakers could've gone a much more ridiculous route. As the movie progresses we learn a bit more about the grandfather and the kid's family in general, leading to some interesting, albeit foreseen, reveals.

There's also some decent tension spread throughout, especially early on when you don't quite know the intentions of certain characters, but unfortunately I don't think the movie ever quite hit the really tense mark due to its main villain simply not being as menacing as he could've been. I don't know if it's the actor or just how his character is written, but I simply didn't find him very intimidating. I suppose maybe that's the point? Maybe that's why this young kid feels as though he can stand a chance against the guy? Either way, I feel as though there's some potentially lost tension because of it.

All that aside, I had fun with the movie. The pacing is decent and while there are limited characters, they're all fairly interesting and the lead kid is likable enough for you to want to root for him. Like I said before, as far as these R-rated kid-vs-adult movies go, this is definitely one of the better and more realistic ones.

Knuckleball turned out to a be a surprisingly good watch thanks to the decent pacing and likable child lead. While the movie's villain could've been a bit more frightening, he still managed to get the job done, and with the film's attempt at staying grounded, ultimately led to an above average kid-vs-adult movie.