The home invasion genre is often overlooked by film buffs but this genre masterfully captures the eerie essence of the Halloween season just passed. So grab some popcorn and turn out the lights! These five quintessential home invasion films are sure to have you double-checking your windows and doors before the night is through.
High Tension (2003)
Originally released in France under the title Haute Tension, this terrifying slasher film was such a success that it was dubbed and re-released abroad. In the film, two young college students, Marie (Cécile De France) and Alex (Maïwenn), travel out to a farmhouse belonging to Alex’s family, hoping to study for their exams without any distractions. The first night at the farmhouse, however, proves to be anything but restful. As a serial killer enters the home and murders Alex’s family, Marie and Alex try to escape. After multiple gruesome encounters, the pair finally seem to have cornered the killer. Unfortunately, trouble still lies ahead for both Alex and Marie. This play on the classic home invasion flick is filled with suspense and has a twisted ending you won’t soon forget.
Home Alone (1990)
If you prefer comedy films over horror flicks, Home Alone is the perfect movie for you. When his family goes on a holiday trip to Paris, eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left behind. Kevin is enjoying his new-found freedom until he discovers that two dim-witted burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), are trying to rob his home. Through elaborate pranks and booby traps, Kevin strives to protect his family home from the belligerent intruders. With his ample courage and wit, Kevin is destined to succeed.
Funny Games (1997)
Austrian director Michael Haneke garnered international acclaim with the release of his 1997 psychological thriller Funny Games, and obtained an American remake of the film in 2007. The film revolves around a rich Austrian family, Anna (Susanne Lothar), Georg (Ulrich Mühe) and their son Georgie. While at their vacation home, the family encounters two young men, Peter (Frank Giering) and Paul (Arno Frisch). After the men destroy some of their personal property, Anna and Georg demand that the pair leave their home. Rather than departing, the disturbed men decide to play a series of sadistic games with the family, holding them captive in their own home.
Funny Games succeeds in breaks down the film’s fourth wall, making viewers feel complicit in Paul and Peter’s sickening crimes. Instead of suffering, this wealthy family should have invested in a good home security system!
Panic Room (2002)
Panic Room is perhaps best known for featuring Kristen Stewart’s big-screen debut. The film is also remembered as one of the most terrifying home invasion films of the 2000s starring Jodie Foster as Meg Altman, the recently divorced mother of Sarah (Stewart). As the two start their first night in their newly-purchased apartment, a trio of burglars (Jared Leto, Forest Whitaker, and Dwight Yoakam) break in and the mother and daughter hide in the home’s secret panic room. Though designed to protect homeowners in emergency situations, the panic room is hardly safe; the burglars are seeking a $3 million sum, which was hidden in the panic room by the former owner. With neither a working telephone to call for help nor insulin to give to her diabetic daughter, time is running out for Meg and Sarah.
Them is a riveting and petrifying French-Romanian horror movie. Set in a rural town near Bucharest, the film follows the lives of a young couple, Clémentine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michaël Cohen). After returning from her teaching job one afternoon, Clémentine spots a car wreck along the side of the road. Though she thinks nothing of it at the time, she will soon be terrorized by the same murderous individuals that tortured the car’s passengers. During the night, Lucas and Clémentine experience a number of terrifying phenomena within their own home. Stalked and tormented by a pack of mysterious intruders, the young couple struggle to escape all the way to a shocking end.
While Halloween may be over, it doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy watching one of these excellent home invasion flicks. Bolt your windows, lock your doors, and enjoy!