27 March 2011

10 Great Home Invasion Films

Scelerophobia (fear of bad men or burglars) is a documented fear that many people suffer from, including me. I function just as good as the next stressed out mom/writer without it disrupting my life but even as I sit here and type out what is just suppose to be a simple article on home invasion films my heart is pounding and my hands are shaky. If you read my tweets then you know I was very hesitant about how much information to give away in this article. I'm a fairly private person but in order to get my point across with this post I feel it's necessary to share some things I normally wouldn't. Over the years, I've become pretty desensitized to all things horror and gore. Sick? Maybe. Twisted? Most definitely. BUT, this subgenre of films is one that I can barely watch by myself. I get extremely uneasy when a film contains this kind of subject matter. Why? Because it CAN happen. Because it DOES happen. Because it happened to me. I was tormented and brutalized in my own home. Before I turned the tables on my attacker, I had my collar bone fractured, teeth broken and was stabbed multiple times. I like to think I survived because I'm strong but I got lucky, plain and simple. I could've easily been just another statistic. I'm much better prepared now. I have a weapon of some sort in every room. I carry pepper spray EVERYWHERE and my house is guarded by 6 dogs.
Each one of the films in this article are great in their own way and I would recommend them to anyone. So, in no particular order, here are my favorite home invasion films.

In this thriller, a baby-sitter is terrorized by an anonymous telephone caller who turns out to be a particularly persistent serial killer. When a stranger calls to ask, "Have you checked the children lately?" teen aged sitter Jill Johnson (Carol Kane) is understandably spooked. After a series of increasingly creepy calls culminates in a request for "your blood...all over me," Jill learns from the police operator that the man is calling from inside the house. One narrow escape and two dead children later, the police capture British maniac Curt Duncan (Tony Beckley). Several years later, the killer escapes from a mental institution and plagues Tracy (Colleen Dewhurst), a hard-drinking New Yorker. Foiled by John Clifford (Charles Durning), the same cop who investigated the original case, Duncan sets his sights back on his original victim, Jill Johnson, who, now married and out to dinner with her husband, has left her own young children at home -- with a baby-sitter.

Independent and resourceful, Susy (Audrey Hepburn) is learning to cope with her blindness, which resulted from a recent accident. She is aided by her difficult, slightly unreliable young neighbor Gloria (Julie Herrod) with whom she has an exasperated but lovingly maternal relationship. Susy's life is changed as she is terrorized by a group of criminals who believe she has hidden a baby doll used by them to smuggle heroin into the country. Unknown to Susy, her photographer husband Sam (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) took the doll as a favor for a woman he met on an international plane flight and unwittingly brought the doll to the couple's New York apartment when the woman became afraid of the customs officials. Alone in her apartment and cut-off from the outside world, Susy must fight for her life against a gang of ruthless criminals, led by the violent, psychotic Roat (Alan Arkin). The tension builds as Roat, aided by his gang, impersonates police officers and friends of her husband in order to win Susy's confidence, gaining access to her apartment to look for the doll.

Clémentine (Olivia Bonamy) teaches at the French Lycée in Bucharest. Lucas (Michael Cohen) is a novelist. The young couple lives happily in the middle of a forest. But tonight, their lives will be turned upside down. They don't know it yet but they're being spied upon; they're being surrounded. When night falls, Clémentine and Lucas will come up against THEM. They are here, they are there, they are everywhere--they are even in their home. Who are they? What do they want? The answers will take them to the very limits of fear itself.

A suburban couple returning to their semi-secluded house after attending a wedding finds their lives suddenly thrown into chaos with the arrival of three malevolent, masked strangers in director Bryan Bertino's tense tale of survival. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman star as the couple forced to resort to violence they never thought themselves capable of as they struggle for their lives.

To avoid the Vietnam-era social chaos in the U.S., American mathematician David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) moves with his British wife, Amy (Susan George), to the isolated Cornish town where she grew up, but their presence provokes antagonism among the village's men. As the hostilities escalate from routine bullying to the gang rape of his wife, David finds his pacifistic self backed into a corner. When the hooligans attack his house, David finally resorts to the gruesome violence that he abhors.

Still grieving over her recently deceased husband, a pregnant woman (Alysson Paradis), alone on the eve of her delivery, is terrorized by a raging psychopathic woman (Beatrice Dalle) who is determined to retrieve the baby from her womb by any means necessary.

The survivor of a vicious gang rape turns the tables on her attackers in this remake of director Meir Zarchi's notorious 1978 horror classic. In order to seek inspiration for her next book, urbanite author Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) retreats to a secluded cabin in the woods. Little does Jennifer realize that she's just caught the attention of some particularly depraved locals, and her peaceful retreat is about to become a living hell. At first the sadistic intruders attempt to frighten Jennifer by breaking into her cabin, but then the attack gets out of hand. Desperate to escape after being badly brutalized, Jennifer throws herself into the river and allows her body to be carried away by the rapids. When her attackers fail to locate her corpse, they assume she is dead and return to their normal lives. But Jennifer isn't dead, and she doesn't forgive. Her attackers will pay for what they did, and nothing they say or do can prevent her from savaging them in the worst way imaginable before she sends them to hell screaming.

Best friends Marie (Cécile De France) and Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco) go out to the countryside to visit Alex's parents. However, a homicidal delivery man (Philippe Nahon) ends up at their house and starts killing everyone. Alex and Marie fight for their lives with help from several means of weaponry.

A teenage girl agrees to meet a thirtysomething fashion photographer in person after becoming acquainted with him in an online chat room, and the resulting encounter finds the line between predator and prey slipping slowly out of focus in director David Slade's provocative and topical thriller. Hayley (Ellen Page) is a 14-year-old teen whose emotional maturity seems to betray her tender age. Jeff (Patrick Wilson) is a potential child predator whose intentions toward his young chat buddy seem less than honorable. After meeting in a coffeehouse and getting to know each other briefly in person, Jeff invites Haley back to his place, and it's not long before Jeff's underage guest is pouring drinks and posing provocatively for an impromptu photo shoot. As the evening's questionable activities take a decidedly sordid slant and the raptorial Jeff appears poised to strike, a sudden turn of events finds that his apparent victim has had a plan of her own from the very beginning.

Notoriously nihilistic filmmaker Michael Haneke revisits one of his most controversial works in this remake of 1997's Funny Games starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth. When a family of three arrives at their remote summer cabin for a quiet getaway, the sudden arrival of two psychotic men sets the stage for a harrowing life-or-death struggle that offers savage commentary on the use of violence in entertainment.

Film synopsis courtesy of MSN Movies


  1. Great look at home invasion movies. I haven't seen them all but of the ones you listed, The Strangers is my favorite. Inside was good, and really bloody. I liked High Tension until the twist that doesn't make sense was revealed. I know I Spit on Your Grave is one of your favorites. Can't say I liked Funny Games.

  2. Thanks, out of the ones listed I'd have to say I Spit and The Strangers are my favorites. I also really enjoyed Funny Games.

  3. Secuestrados (or Kidnapped) is pretty tasty. As is Cherry Tree Lane.

  4. Panic Room. Because nothing is scary than Dwight Yokam, without a hat, coming into your house.