Movies about home invasions may be old-school entertainment but that’s the beauty of this oft-told subgenre. For decades, there have been plenty of home-invasion thrillers out there and with that, I have 6 gripping home invasion movies to recommend to you! You ready?
1) Don’t Breathe
Three small-time thieves (Jane Levy, Dylan Minette and Daniel Zovatto) break into a rich man’s (Stephen Lang) house and decide to rob him blind. Like, literally, because the rich man himself turns out to be blind after all.
Director Fede Alvarez of the “Evil Dead” reboot fame gave us an unlikely twist to the otherwise typical home-invasion thriller genre. That twist in question is that the rich blind man (credited as The Blind Man) isn’t an easy target and the three thieves have clearly underestimated him.
“Don’t Breathe” benefits from Alvarez’s engaging direction, making good use of the confined space of The Blind Man’s two-storey house to his advantage. He also brings out the best in Stephen Lang’s scene-stealing performance as The Blind Man.
Stream “Don’t Breathe” right here.
In “Hush”, writer-director Mike Flanagan keep things plain and simple. All stripped to just the bare essentials and what we get here is a lean 81 minutes of well-crafted suspense that a great home invasion thriller should be. Even the plot itself is simple enough: Maddie Young (Kate Siegel), a deaf-mute author who’s been living alone in a house deep in the woods finds herself dealing with a mysterious masked stranger one night.
Speaking of Kate Siegel, she is among the reasons that made “Hush” such an effective little thriller. The same also goes with John Gallagher Jr., whose ambiguous nature of his unnamed killer role makes him all the more terrifying.
Stream “Hush” right here.
3) Panic Room
Director David Fincher is no stranger to making psychological thrillers, with some of his best movies including “Se7en”, “The Game” and of course, “Gone Girl”. Then, there’s “Panic Room”, where Fincher takes on the familiar home-invasion thriller subgenre and makes it his own.
The movie follows a recently-divorced mother (Jodie Foster) and her diabetic daughter (Kristen Stewart), who wants to start a new life by moving into a new home: a spacious townhouse located in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The title in question refers to the fortified safe room, complete with video monitors, a separate phone line and other necessities such as a first-aid kit and provisions. Then one night, three intruders (Jared Leto, Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam) invades their townhouse and plans to steal the hidden millions inside the panic room.
Making good use of the single-location setting, David Fincher pays homage to the late master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock and keeping his movie taut and claustrophobic. “Panic Room” also gets a distinctly visual boost from Darius Khondji’s atmospheric grey-green cinematography while Fincher has a knack for several inventive and lively camera works. Both Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart along with the three antagonist roles all deliver top-notch performances.
Here’s an interesting trivia regarding Jodie Foster in “Panic Room”, where she turned out to be a last-minute replacement. Nicole Kidman was originally set to play the lead role but chose to back out due to her sustained knee injury while filming “Moulin Rouge!”.
Stream “Panic Room” right here.
4) The Strangers
Written and directed by then-newcomer Bryan Bertino, the plot in “The Strangers” is a straightforward one: A trio of masked stalkers show up at a young couple’s (Scott Speedman, Liv Tyler) vacation home one night and begins terrorising them. Nothing fancy here, just a straight-up home invasion thriller, complete with Bertino’s mostly riveting direction. While his overreliance on shaky camerawork can be a turn-off for those who prefer a more classical filmmaking style, “The Strangers” still ranks among the best home invasion thrillers worth checking out.
5) The Purge
To date, “The Purge” has spawned four movies including this year’s “The Forever Purge”. But personally, I still enjoy the first movie the most. First released in 2013, “The Purge” boasts an interesting concept: Taking place in 2022 America, we learn that the crime rate is nearly non-existent, thanks to the yearly event known as The Annual Purge. The event in question refers to every crime legalised within a 12-hour period on a single night. That means anyone can start killing and no emergency services including the police will be involved whatsoever.
From there, the movie focuses on a wealthy security-system salesman James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) and his family living in a fortified house. Things start to go wrong when his son decided to disengage the security system to let a wounded stranger in after begging for help. Then comes a group of masked vigilantes, who threatens to kill the whole family if they fail to give up the stranger inside their house.
Writer-director James DeMonaco knows well how to craft a genuinely effective home-invasion thriller. It also helps the movie gets an extra boost from Ethan Hawke’s everyman role and Rhys Wakefield, who delivers a perfectly sinister role as the main antagonist.
6) You’re Next
Way before Adam Wingard made a quantum leap from indies to mainstream fares, as evidently seen in this year’s “Godzilla vs. Kong”, he made this little home-invasion thriller called “You’re Next”.
As long as you can get over the spotty opening sequence, “You’re Next” does a good job delivering a fair amount of tense and unapologetic violent moments. The movie also features Sharni Vinson, who steals most of the show as the resourceful Erin. And let’s not forget about the movie’s sly twist as well involving some of the characters’ motivations.
Can’t get enough of movies about home invasions? Well, Netflix will be releasing “Intrusion“, an upcoming like-minded thriller starring Logan Marshall-Green and Freida Pinto. The movie will be streaming on Netflix beginning 22 September, so be sure to mark your calendars!