Thursday, June 16, 2011

It’s only a movie…it’s only a movie: 7 chilling home invasion films

In remembering Extremities from 1986 in my last post, and in lieu of recent events, I recalled a few other noteworthy home invasion and attacker films.

Desperate Hours

Before he played a wrestler and nemesis to Iron Man, Mickey Rourke played an escaped, psychotic con that breaks into the home of married couple, Anthony Hopkins and Mimi Rogers, to hide from the FBI.

Panic Room

Jodie Foster plays Meg Altman, a woman whose home comes equipped with an unusual feature – a panic room. When three criminals break in during the night, Meg and her daughter lock themselves in the panic room for safety. The trouble is what the criminals want is inside that very room.

Funny Games

This ain’t no comedy, as the title may imply. Rather, this is a dark film about two sadistic home invaders who terrorize a family by forcing them to participate in a series of physically and mentally disturbing games.

Home Alone

Okay, this one may not be chilling but the fact that it spawned Home Alone 3 is enough to make anybody shudder. Kevin, an 8-year-old boy, is left home alone when his family mistakenly leaves on their Christmas vacation without him. Two bumbling thieves played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern discover that Kevin is home alone and decide to rob his house. Kevin learns of their plan and outfits his house with a series of homemade booby traps to thwart them.

The Strangers

A couple staying in a vacation house are terrorized by three masked assailants they cannot escape no matter what they do. While similar to Funny Games, this film offers its own unique brand of chills.

The Last House on the Left

Mari, a teenage girl vacationing with her parents at a lake house is brutally assaulted by a prison escapee. She manages to escape her attacker and return to the lake house, but not before he leaves her for dead, and makes his way to the lake house where he is invited in by Mari’s parents to whether a storm. When Mari’s parents realize what their house guest has done to their daughter, they attempt to get revenge.

I Spit on Your Grave

Jennifer is a writer who escapes to a riverside cabin to concentrate on writing a new book. While there, Jennifer is assaulted by four male locals. Jennifer survives the horrendous attacks and returns to the riverside community to seek revenge on her attackers.


  1. I've read and heard a lot of good things about 'The Strangers'. I'm glad to see it on your list. That'll give me that little extra incentive to finally check it out.

    'Home Alone 3'...yeah...Nice call.

    I think 'Halloween' would qualify, sort of it. Doesn't he invade a single home in the original?

  2. @Edgar - I actually prefer The Strangers over Funny Games. The lack of social commentary made The Strangers more chilling in my opinion. Funny Games always had that "shame on you for watching, although I made this because I know you love watching" preachiness that gets a little annoying after a while.

  3. I love, love, love "Funny Games". The 1997 one though, never really got into the remake, even if Watts is remarkable in it!

  4. I do not recommend watching "The Strangers" either a) at night or b) in your living room. That movie terrified me when I watched it! I kept checking the locks on the doors and looking over my shoulder...creepy!!

    "The Last House on The Left" was difficult for me to sit through, but that must mean that it deservers to be on this list...

  5. Great post!

    I've never seen any of these (except Home Alone 2), they all seem a bit to scary for my liking. I doubt I could sit though them...
    Especially "I Spit On Your Grave".

  6. @Jose - I still need to see the original 1997 version of Funny Games. It will be interesting to see how other actors interpret the roles.

    @Rachel - The Last House on the Left started well but the ending just got ridiculous. It was a hard film to watch at times though due to the content.

    @Jack - I would recommend you start off with Panic Room. Though the concept is unsettling, Fincher's execution makes this one much easier than the rest to watch.

  7. Yeah ... I stay away from those "I Spit on Your Grave" movies ... haha.

  8. I love Home Alone 1 & 2... my favorite christmas movies...

  9. Desperate Hours and Panic Room are thrilling, but are the least disturbing and chilling than the other films on the list. Films like Funny Games, The Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave contain content that stays with you long after you've watched the movie.

    edgarchaput - yes, I think Halloween qualifies as an invasion film. I remember the scene where Jamie Lee Curtis is hiding in the closet and Michael Myers busts through and tries to grab her - scary stuff!

  10. Oh Funny Games how you haunt me so. That film is chilling...

  11. @Andy - Funny Games is definitely a film that sticks with you. Makes you think twice about getting a house in the country.

  12. What do you think about 'Hostage'?
    Added 'I spit on your Grave' to Watch-it-later List.

  13. @HKB - I thought the first half of Hostage worked well but the story ultimately fell apart by the end. Did not love it but I did not hate the film either.

  14. I never saw Hostage. I've only heard mixed reviews, so I will put it on my tentative to-see list.


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