After hearing about Mike Flanagan's Hush film, I started thinking about other home invasion films within the horror/thriller/suspense genres. It turns out that not only is that one of my favorite sub-genres, it's also the type of film that gets to me the most.
Anytime something is close to reality, it freaks me out. I can do the slasher, paranormal, zombie, religious horror, etc. I can't see myself in those types of scenarios, therefore, I can't relate. However, when I can put myself in the shoes of the characters that are getting attacked in home invasion films, I'm unsettled.
If I can see it happening to me, I honestly regret seeing it in the first place. My mind plays tricks on me, and I start to become paranoid. That's the goal with films, something that leaves a lasting impression. A film that leaves the audiences thinking about it days later. Here are a couple of films that have definitely left a lasting impression on me, whether it be good or bad.
1. 'Them' (2007)
Lucas and Clementine live peacefully in their isolated country house, but one night they wake up to strange noise... they're not alone... and a group of hooded assailants begins to terrorize them throughout the night.
This film starts off like other films in its sub-genre. However, the slight difference in the assailants makes this film stand out for me. The assailants appear almost supernatural like. The way they move around and taunt the family is very interesting. The whole time I was trying to figure out if the attackers were human or not. This is not the scariest film in the world, but it keeps you on edge, as every home invasion film should.
2. 'Inside' (2007)
A scissor-wielding psychopath terrorizes a pregnant widow on Christmas Eve.
Just the logline alone is quite traumatizing. This is one of the goriest films I've seen in this sub-genre. First off the audience really cares for the main character. She has just lost her husband, she's pregnant, and it's Christmas Eve. Then the psychopath arrives and it is such a roller coaster ride from there on. It was really intense and I had to turn away from the screen a couple of times. It's shocking and it's great. If you're looking for something extremely unsettling Inside is for you.
3. 'Funny Games' (2008)
When Ann, husband George and son Georgie arrive at their holiday home they are visited by a pair of polite and seemingly pleasant young men. Armed with deceptively sweet smiles and some golf clubs, they proceed to terrorize and torture the tight-knit clan, giving them until the next day to survive.
Deep down when I was first watching this film, I knew you couldn't trust the two young men. But, I didn't know they would approach the family so aggressively. They were complete savages when it came down to torturing this poor family. The tension in most of the scenes was quiet yet extremely thick. The situations the guys put the family through are cruel and unique. They're literally playing with their lives, and they enjoy every second. Cruel and twisted are the words I would use to describe this unique yet classic film.
4. 'The Strangers' (2008)
After a 4 a.m. knock at the door and a haunting voice, Kristen McKay and James Hoyt’s remote getaway becomes a psychological night of terror as three masked strangers invade.
This film stood out to many people even though it followed the basic home invasion plot line and structure. There were a few scares and it wasn't bloody. However, the only line spoken by the strangers, "because you were home" , freaked out audiences everywhere. It really put the fact that the strangers were psychos and bored into perspective. Their attack wasn't premeditated. They weren't out for the couple based on revenge. They simply just happened to be home at the wrong time. There are a couple chilling and shocking visuals within this film as well. The Strangers is one of my favorite home invasion horror films.
5. 'You're Next' (2013)
When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.
You're Next was such an interesting take on this sub-genre for multiple reasons. The underlining theme which I won't spoil, the final girl fighting off death, the plot twist, and some faces that horror fans were excited to see grace the screen. I was pleased with the film as a whole. There wasn't a lot of gore or scares but it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. I was so engaged that I didn't want the film to end. I recommend seeing You're Next if you are up for the roller coaster of emotions, and shocking plot twist.
6. 'The Purge' (2013)
In the future, a wealthy family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.
Many complained including me about The Purge not being scary, or a horror film to be exact. The way the film was marketed was very misleading and left audiences everywhere disappointed. The underlining theme of this film is quite disturbing as well, but that's a whole different article... Now, when you look back on the film knowing it's a thriller home invasion film and not a horror, it's a whole new movie. It's more enjoyable and even exciting. The way the family is taunted and finally attacked is creepy. The way this film is shot as well had some unsettling moments. There's not a lot of action and killing like its sequel and that's what makes it stand out even more. Didn't like this film the first time seeing it? Try watching it again now that you know what to expect, it just might change your mind.
7. 'Come Back To Me' (2014)
A woman installs a hidden videocamera in her home in a desperate bid to learn the truth about her blackouts and memory lapses and, in the process, discovers a terrifying secret involving her neighbor.
I watched this film on Netflix, and I wasn't expecting this plot line and twist at all. There's a lot going on in this film. While some may say it's quite extreme and unrealistic, I really enjoyed the film and was thoroughly entertained. I can't say a lot about the film without spoiling it completely, but it was such an interesting storyline. There's a lot of backstory, twists and turns throughout the movie. The final reveal shocked me and I wasn't prepared. I've shown this film to multiple friends to make sure I wasn't the only one lost while watching this film the first time around. It has this mystery feel to it that also works perfectly with the horror. This film isn't marketed as a home invasion film and that's why I love it even more. Make sure you check Come Back To Me out and let me know what you think.