Perhaps the award for the most terrifying subgenre of horror has to be awarded to Home Invasion. After all, as the saying goes, ‘a mans home is his castle’ so anything that can threaten the space we call home and witness its destruction is nothing but a living nightmare.
Unsurprisingly, the fear surrounding home invasion is very much rooted in the real world. It can and does happen and this has been represented on the big screen time and time again. David Moreau and Xavier Palud’s terrifying Ils claims to be based on true events and it’s tagline of ‘You’ll never feel safe in your home again’ certainly rings true by the time the end credits begin to roll.
So in celebration of THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR breaking in to homes across the country via digital download on 12th December, we look back at five of the most intense home invasion movies out there.
MOTHER’S DAY (2010)
Kicking off our list and proof that not all remakes are awful, Darren Lynn Bousman’s Mother’s Day outshines the Charles Kaufman original in every way possible and boasts another terrifying performance from Rebecca De Mornay. As the matriarch of a villainous family, she and her sons return to their former home and end up torturing the new owners and their guests for their own pleasure. In true Bousman style, Mother’s Day is a real gore-de-force and takes great pleasure in turning up the shocks with each passing minute and tops it all with a stunning finale. Although not as invasive as the others on this list Mother’s Day is quite an impressive watch, even on repeated viewing.
HATE CRIME (2012)
Director James Cullen Bressack leaves his audience shocked to the core with his savage shocker Hate Crime. Famously banned by the BBFC, the film accounts a series of vicious attacks upon a young Jewish family on the first night in their new home by a trio of neo-Nazi lunatics. Shocking, offensive and unbelievably brutal, Hate Crime is 83 minutes of incredibly tense and terrifying torture. Featuring a very imposing performance from Ian Roberts, this film is not for the faint of heart and is utterly grueling to watch. Believe me when I say this, Hate Crime will give you a reason to fear your neighbours.
FUNNY GAMES (1997)
Next up on our list is Funny Games. But forget the 2007 remake starring Tim Roth and Niaomi Watts, we’re talking about Michael Haneke’s original Funny Games which remains one of the most mean-spirited home invasion films ever made. When two men appear at the home of the holiday home of a family of three, they hold the family hostage and force them to play “games” or their own amusement. Expertly acted and wholly believable, Funny Games is unforgettable because it offers audiences a grimm insight into the darker side of human nature.
Hangman is Directed by Adam Mason and starring Jeremy Sisto and Kate Ashfield. The film tells the story of the Miller family whom after returning two-week holiday unaware that an intruder has been sleeping in their attic watching their every move on surveillance cameras. Being entirely honest, we were thoroughly unprepared for Hangman. To call it terrifying is an understatement, in fact it goes beyond that and builds a deathly sense of dread quickly and never lets up. It felt wholly real to the point where we were left to remind ourselves that it wasn’t real. As you can imagine this was incredible to witness and it is for this reason that Hangman deserves to be on this list. Seek it out at your own discomfort.
THE STRANGERS (2008)
Bryan Bertino’s epic home invasion thriller The Strangers is one of the most prolific horrors of recent times. Starring Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler as a couple in a post proposal refusal, the two settle down for the night until a trio of unrelenting strangers hiding behind masks invite themselves in and terrorise the couple. Showing a keen patience, Bertino delivers a real hear-pounding experience for audiences to endure whilst slowly chewing their nails in anticipation. The suspense is slowly builds from the outset of the film and reaches breaking point in it’s grueling climax. Speedman and Tyler are great in their roles and deliver their roles almost flawlessly. Throw into mix the three intruders who each posses the same sense of menace about them and their motive for their crime is just so damn chilling and the words will echoe in your ears. So without any doubt The Strangers is chillingly realistic and wholly plausible and as such, makes the notion of it just being a movie that bit harder to swallow.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check that you’ve locked your doors, locked your windows and set the alarm. Your life may depend on it.
THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR is available on digital download on 12th December 2016 and is coming to Blu-ray™ and DVD on 26th December 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
Words: Jon Dickinson (@marvelguy)