5 Great Home Invasion Movies

PoppaScotch

Throughout my adult horror movie watching life, home invasion movies have always struck a very specific uneasiness in me.  The idea that your home could be taken over and invaded in brutal and menacing ways at any moment is something that I’m sure almost everyone fears.  Your home is your base of operations, you’re safety net, and the main staging area for the love and growth of your entire family. 

What could possibly be more terrifying that a person who forcibly takes over your home and your family?  So with that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of what I feel are the 5 greatest home invasion movies that everyone should see before they die.  Hopefully of course, not when they are sleeping in their bed while a masked killer hides in the closet-… Ok, I’m starting to scare myself, so without any further interruption; here are (in no special order) 5 Great Home Invasion movies. There will be spoilers….

Inside (Dir: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury – 2007) In Inside, a pregnant woman is held hostage in her own home by a mysterious woman who is furiosly after her unborn baby.  If for some reason you haven’t seen this yet, it is more brutal and unrelenting then you would ever think it would be.  Eviscerations (yes involving exactly what you think it would), gunshot wounds, creepy reveals, and the complete lack of privacy tell a revenge story that borders on the absolutely insane.  This is one of those movies that are hard to watch and even after the initial viewing; it could be very hard for you to come back too.  Needless to say, it isn’t just a gore fest.  It has an intriguing subtext of the question of personal accountability at play that may sometimes be hard to see amongst all the blood splatter.  This is one of the better genre movies of the last decade.

Straw Dogs (Dir: Sam Peckinpah - 1971) Dustin Hoffman stars as an effeminate math nerd who’s house gets plagued by rowdy British locals that have it out for his girlfriend.  Dustin Hoffman delivers an outstanding performance by playing a civil man who has been pushed to his absolute end and must defend his girlfriend and their home.  It succeeds by emphatically breaking down the door of your emotional safe haven and ripping off faces in its wake.  It’s brutal, unapologetic, and most interestingly, it isn’t necessarily enjoyable to watch.  I feel that this is one of, if not the best film Sam Peckinpah ever did.  His craft is accentuated by taking a handful of actors, sticking them in a farmhouse, and making an extremely scarring film out of almost nothing.

Funny Games (Dir: Michael Haneke – 1997/2007) I’ve championed this film before and I don’t see that stopping any time soon.  Funny Games is about two young well-to-do looking men who kidnap and hold a family hostage in their own summer home.  There are breaks in the fourth wall, there are reality shifting reversals, and there is at least one kill that will cut you deeply.  The movie commentates directly to the viewer, forcing them to watch the horrible acts on screen with a sick sense of self realization.  The two boys talk to us directly, asking the disenchanted viewer if they feel the family will live.  But the twisted reality of the situation is that these actions have already been planned and we have no control over what happens.  It’s self referential, its aware of its place in the cultural landscape, and it’s so frighteningly realistic how two people could so easily show up at your doorstep with bad intentions and do massive damage with no warning.

Hard Candy (Dir: David Slade – 2005) I will be honest with you, I have only ever seen this movie once and chances are that I will never see it again.  It is an amazing film about a 13 year old girl who gets propositioned online by a much older man to meet up and kind of see what happens.  He lures her (oh yeah, the girl is Ellen Page) back to his place where she proceeds to torture him in the worst conceivable way for a man to be tortured, for being a murderous pedophile.  This film was shot on the cheap, but the use of color and contrast are absolutely brilliant.  This is an amazing looking film that is completely unflinching and wholly uncaring about your feelings as a viewer.  Not everything in life is pretty, and the movie embraces that fact and sprints well past the line of decency.  But really, as much as it pains me to see that happen to another guy (even if it’s fake) the guy had it coming.

Wait Until Dark (Dir: Terence Young – 1967) Based upon the play by Robert Carrington, Wait Until Dark tells the story of a recently blinded woman who has her home invaded by a group of thugs who believe there is a heroine filled doll in her room that belongs to them.  Now really think about this for a second, our main character Susy (Played by Audrey Hepburn, who got nominated for an Oscar for this) is young, beautiful, and completely blind.  How as a viewer do you not sympathize with her?  You want nothing more for her to foil their plans, which you think would be pretty difficult task, but she makes it work.  Many of you genre hounds may have missed this one, but do yourself a favor and put it in your Netflix queue.

I wasn’t aware of this before I started writing the list, but all the movies that I’ve mentioned are extremely brutal.  Either they frighten with their high gore amount or with the inherent realizations that the viewer pulls out of themselves upon watching the material.  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like a lot of amazing horror films walk right into your home, grab you by the hair and drive you straight into your absolute worst nightmares.  What do you think?

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