It premieres ‘Strangers: Night Hunting’ (The Strangers: Prey at Night, 2018), the sequel to one of the most popular horror films of the last decade. A classic sample of the subgenre of terror and the thriller known as home invasion. Locks on the doors, girls who almost always take a shower before they die and a via crucis of traps for the invaders. All are resources that have evolved from the same idea.
The house of a person is his safe place, his refuge, the den where the evils of life can not infect our well-being. The cinema of terror and suspense has realized this particularity and therefore, the movies in which normal families are assaulted in their own home by thieves and morons make us more the creeps than monsters and ghosts. Plausibility is a double-edged sword, we enjoy the fear that they produce, but it is more difficult to get their threat out of our heads. These are the 13 best films of the subgenus home invasion, the most representative of its evolution:
1Desperate Hours (The Desperate Hours, 1955)
Address: William Wyler
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, Arthur Kennedy, Martha Scott, Dewey Martin, Gig Young, Mary Murphy.
Performed by [Humphrey Bogart] (Cast Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, Arthur Kennedy, Martha Scott, Dewey Martin, Gig Young, Mary Murphy) and directed by William Wyler, ‘Desperate Hours’ is a founding proposal in the subgenre of domestic assaults already from his argument. A group of three fugitives kidnap a family and keep their members hostage in a house on the outskirts of a city. Although the kinder sensitivity of the 1950s makes it less aggressive than more recent subgenre deliveries, it already has the seed of claustrophobic tension and suspense characteristic of the subgenre.
2A trapped woman (Lady in a Cage, 1964)
Direction: Walter Grauman
Cast: Olivia de Havilland, James Caan, Jennifer Billingsley, Jeff Corey, Rafael Campos.
An unusually perverse variation for his time, which could have been born from a more sadistic Hitchcock idea, proposes a convalescent woman in her house, locked in a cage and assaulted by a group of intruders. In addition to the rare dimension of psychological terror that affects desperation in the style of an aseptic torture porn, there is a whole story of class struggle and social aspects that make it even more unprecedented and interesting. A small classic of psychopathic terror based on domination and abuse of power.
3Alone in the dark (Wait Until Dark, 1967)
Direction: Terence Young.
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Jack Weston, Samantha Jones.
Audrey Hepburn received an Oscar nomination for her performance in this film as Suzy, a woman who has just gone blind and lives alone in her New York apartment. Three criminals try to steal something he does not even know he has. Having a group of violent men threatening a particularly vulnerable woman conveys a timeless anxiety and fear, but the dynamics of the film moved closer to the thriller of suspense, with a kind of wit duel between the blind and the thieves that the they became a memorable experience and still imitated in films like ‘Hush’ (2016).
4Trap for a rapist (La casa sperduta nel parco, 1980)
Address: Ruggero Deodato.
Cast: David Hess, Annie Belle, Christian Borromeo, Giovanni Lombardo Radice.
An obvious exploitation of ‘The Last House on the Left’ with the same actor, David Hess and directed by Ruggero Deodato. With these signs can imagine the catalog of burradas that can contain this ill celluloid: mutilation of a girl’s body, rapes, cuts in the face of their boyfriends, and all overflowing with the sordid humor of this type of products in the splatter explosion. Repulsive, morally corrupt and consistently unpleasant.
5Game over: the game is over (3615 code Père Noël, 1989)
Address: René Manzor
Cast: Alain Musy, Louis Ducreux, Patrick Floersheim, Brigitte Fossey, François-Eric Gendron.
Taking as a base a story of ‘Tales of the Crypt‘, in which a psychopath disguised as Santa Claus infiltrates a house, this apocryphal review arrived from France dare to pose a scenario similar to that of ‘Solo en Casa’ (1990). going ahead one year. However, this is full of black humor and aesthetics of slasher, matching the sympathetic ‘Tale of Christmas‘ (2005) by Paco Plaza. An iconic title for the nostalgic European eighties that closed with a great carol by Bonnie Tyler, a nexus, by the way, with the best scene of ‘The Strangers: night hunt’.
6The call of a stranger (When a Stranger Calls Back, 1993)
Direction: Fred Walton
Cast: Charles Durning, Carol Kane, Jill Schoelen.
Sequel to television of the well-known ‘When a stranger calls’ (When a Stranger Calls, 1979) which, beyond its representation of the famous urban legend of the nanny with murderer on the floor above was one of the most dispensable samples of his generation. The first half hour of this second part is as good as the original, but director Fred Walton learned the lesson of where the first one failed and kept his spooky and mysterious psychopath equally threatening in the next two acts. In addition, a great atmosphere and a tension idea management make it the hidden jewel of the subgenre.
7Funny Games (1997)
Direction: Michael Haneke
Cast: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch, Frank Giering, Stefan Clapczynski, Doris Kunstmann.
Director Michael Haneke’s approach to the horror of domestic invasions is twisted, frightening, and sometimes even crazy. The Austrian director plays (literally) with the genre tropes, forcing the public to feel very uncomfortable with what he is seeing, questioning its validity as entertainment. With a story about a small family held by a pair of well-dressed and educated teenagers, no one ends up in a comfort zone, not even the spectator. A movie that still creates controversy.
8The panic room (Panic Room, 2002)
Direction: David Fincher
Cast: Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam, Jared Leto.
A minor divertimento of David Fincher becomes a model thriller in which Jodie Foster and his daughter, a very young Kristen Stewart, his daughter to a luxurious house in Manhattan, but the first night enter thieves and are forced to take refuge in his Panic Room. The macguffin is that the money thieves are looking for is in the armored room and the medication your daughter needs is out. Fincher explores the screenplay of David Koepp, with all the suspense mechanisms at hand demonstrating his ability, but sometimes, like those very old sweeps of the house in CGI, it exceeds.
Address: Florent-Emilio Siri.
Cast: Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Jimmy Bennett, Michelle Horn, Ben Foster.
A variation of the genre towards action films with Bruce Willis as a negotiator with a group of young psychopaths holding a family at home. An undoubted aroma of the 13th district Carpenter, which delights the French, and an exaggerated and grand Guignolo mise-en-scène makes it transcend the line of routine thriller to horror films, with profusion of blood, Willis in his last great moments in the cinema and cliches turned into visual delirium.
10Inland (À l’intérieur, 2007)
Direction: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury.
Cast: Béatrice Dalle, Alysson Paradis, Nathalie Roussel.
The French horror had a good love relationship with the home invasion . After the raw initial scene of ‘Alta tensión‘ (2003) some pieces of red macabre poetry were unleashed that have remained in the imaginary of the past decade. ‘Inland‘ follows a pregnant widow, devastated by the death of her husband, who spends Christmas Eve waiting for his appointment for delivery the next day. Outside her house, a mysterious and terrifying woman waits to enter and take her baby. A wild and bloody nightmare that leads to paroxysm the definition of new French extremism.
11Strangers (The Strangers, 2008)
Address: Bryan Bertino.
Cast: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Glenn Howerton, Gemma Ward, Laura Margolis, Kip Weeks.
Maybe the film that reactivated the emergence of the home invasion, as a ramification of torture porn , the cinema of sadism was key in the development of post-9/11 American terror and this shows, without much blood but bathed in a nihilism that is hardly replicable today. (not even the sequel has it), the silent presence of the three masked makes the tone is cold but tremendously sinister, which makes the escape of a defenseless Liv Tyler become more agonizing and desperate for less than 90 minutes.
Direction: Miguel Ángel Vivas.
Cast: Fernando Cayo, Manuela Vellés, Ana Wagener, Guillermo Barrientos, Dritan Biba.
A trio of masked criminals infiltrates a home in a closed residential neighborhood of Madrid and takes a whole family hostage. In this Spanish thriller by Miguel Ángel Vivas almost all the limits are crossed and it is so credible and terrifying that it is hard to consider seeing it again at some point. A film without concessions, depressing and virtuous, may be the clearest example of rugged realism in Spanish filmography. Seeing her under the notice that she is strong is convenient.
13You are next (You’re Next, 2011)
Direction: Adam Wingard
Cast: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen.
The world may have started experiencing a collective subconscious fear in 2010, because in addition to Vivas, the horror of the domestic invasion inspired many other filmmakers at that time. ‘You are the next‘ is probably the best film of a tremendously overrated filmmaker like Adam Wingard and he took advantage by counting an outstanding girl final, in addition to breaking with the standard tropes of the quiet family holiday house invaded by crazy murderers One of his most creepy findings was to put on his bad masks of terrifying animals, following the example of the Strangers a bit. A Fashion would follow ‘The Purge: the night of the beasts’ (2013), that in spite of its great starting idea remains as a derivative example followed by much more interesting sequels.
This is the list with the 13 films that I consider to be the best of the genre, but what films do you think should be added to this compilation of the best home invasion movies?