Nothing makes you feel safer than sitting in the comfort of your own home. You’re nice and relaxed, have your feet up on the couch, glass of wine, alarm on, and an axe-wielding psycho sitting upstairs. Home invasion movies are quite a disturbing genre because it helps tap into your fear that no matter where you are you can never be safe. The genre itself stretches as far back as Charles Vidor’s Blind Alley (1939), and has expanded upon itself in so many different styles. Now that Jeremy Saulnier has released his new film Green Room (2015), the whole style and plot of the film reminded me of other intense stand offs in enclosed spaces.
10. The Edukators (2004)
A brilliant crime drama set in Berlin about three anti-capitalist youths who break into the homes of the rich and rearrange their furniture as a form of protest. However, when they break into the home of a wealthy businessman, who one of the youths owes money to, it quickly descends into kidnapping, and the trouble really begins. A great film about coming to terms with economic revolution and class structures. A really interesting watch.
9. Martyrs (2008)
One of the most harrowing films I have ever seen in my life. When a family are just about to get ready for their day, a young girl knocks at the door, and slaughters them all with a shotgun. What transpires is a depressing trip through the eyes of the young girl from the aforementioned family, and the horrors that her friend is about to be subjected to. This is a really tough watch as are other films on this list, but for horror aficionados, it is essential in the new French extremity movement.
8. Them/Ils (2006)
When a young French couple move to a nice country house near Bucharest, Romania, they don’t plan on having a nightmare of a night. When unknown intruders play with them psychologically, it isn’t long before things become severely sinister. An incredibly intense, claustrophobic horror that will make you think twice about getting that isolated house in the country. When a film starts with a title card announcing “Based on real events”, it won’t help ease your ever increasing paranoia.
7. Wait until Dark (1967)
Audrey Hepburn was nominated for an Academy award for her role as the blind woman Susy, who has to perform a battle of wits against three criminals. Alan Arkin plays the leader of the three, and all these men seem to be looking for is a certain doll, stashed with a very valuable amount of heroin. A really classic chiller, with one of the most iconic jump scares in the history of film climaxes.
6. Dial M for Murder (1954)
One of the greatest detective films by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. When Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) realises that his wife Margot (Grace Kelly) is having an affair with writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), he plots to have his wife killed by blackmailing an old acquaintance. When Margot returns home, she is about to have a night that will change her life forever. Incredibly clever and one of my personal Hitchcock favourites, Dial M will always go down as one of the cinematic greats.
5. The Last House on the Left (1974)
One of the most controversial and hated films of all time. Based off of Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring (1960), Last House follows a young girl who goes out on the town with her friend, only to end up in the hands of a group of sadistic killers who use the two girls in their sick sexual games, and horrible mutilations. When said killers end up in the home of one of the girls’ parents, they take extreme measures in enacting revenge for their daughter. People have attempted to destroy this film on many occasions, still a tough watch after forty years.
4. Funny Games (1997/2007)
When two young men come to your home and ask you for some eggs, as odd as that may seem, your first instinct would be to give the men what they wanted. However, when the young men break your leg with a golf club and take you and your family hostage, you have no idea of the horrors that are about to commence. An increasingly difficult Michael Haneke film both original and remake, which makes the audience question themselves as to why they continue to watch such appalling acts. Not one to watch if you have a family of your own.
3. Home Alone (1990)
Now for something a lot more light hearted. When a young Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is left alone in his family’s giant house, it isn’t long for two inept crooks (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) to come and rob the house blind. Luckily for our young protagonist, he has all the tools he needs to outwit both the criminals. Usually one for around the Christmas time but quite frankly it’s good for anytime of the year. A good slapstick approach for something which in reality would be far more dangerous. Just imagine if it wasn’t a kid’s movie.
2. Panic Room (2002)
A brilliantly claustrophobic David Fincher film. When a woman (Jodie Foster) moves herself and her young daughter (Kristen Stewart) into a four-storey house in New York City, it comes complete with a state of the art panic room. On their first night in the house, three burglars break in, and now the two women must enclose themselves in the room, only to soon realise that what the men want, is inside the room itself. A grade-A spine chiller with some great performances, and just enough tension to keep you clinging to your seat even after the credits roll.
1. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
Although some may not be happy with this choice at number one, they have to remember the reason. Henry got into so much trouble at the time of its release. One of the reasons being a scene in which Henry (Michael Rooker) and his pal Otis (Tom Towles) watch a tape of themselves performing one of their sadistic home invasions. Just consider for a minute how shocking this would have been to audiences back in the mid-eighties. How bad enough it was for these men to do what they did, but to keep watching a rewinding it for their own sickening viewing pleasure. One of the most disturbing serial killer films of all time, and some of the most unsettling home invasions to appear in cinema around that time. Hence the number one spot.