Sommerleigh Pollonais – Senior Writer
When I was a kid my absolute favorite game to play with my neighborhood friends was Hide and Seek. You see, we didn’t just pick a spot and stayed there. Hell no! We played Hide and Seek EXTREME!
We made use of the entire neighborhood, moving from hiding place to hiding place. But the most fun and memorable game we ever played was during a blackout. I can still remember the pulse-pounding fear of hiding in the dark, hoping you couldn’t be seen by the person chasing you, afraid to even breathe for fear of being discovered.
What can I say? I was an intense ten-year old.
Thinking back on those fun times inspired me to make this week’s list, as some of the best thrillers/horror movies are the ones that hit close to home (literally). It is when the one place you should feel safe is the scariest place to be.
Let’s take a look at the TOP 5 SCARIEST HOME INVASION MOVIES:
#5 When a Stranger Calls (1979)
Sometimes a movie can have a moment that’s so shocking, so chilling, it fools you into remembering it long after it’s gone as a truly awesome piece of cinema.
In the case of the original When a Stranger Calls (stay far away from the 2006 remake, unless you want to die of boredom) it’s all about the first 30 minutes, which manages to rack up the chills in a way that’s gone down in horror movie history.
I’m sure a lot of people haven’t seen this movie, and you could argue Black Christmas (1974) did this first, but if you’re wondering where the trope of “the call is coming from inside the house” really came from, it’s this gem of a film right here.
#4 You’re Next
This one makes you realise the whole “safety in numbers” thing is a load of crap. It’s every man for himself when you’re dealing with, not one, but a pack of crazed lunatics bent on getting into your home and taking your life, just for the hell of it.
And while this movie’s plot is a whole lot more complicated than I’m making it (don’t wanna spoil it for those who haven’t seen this gem), it’s also a fantastic twist on the Final Girl trope and manages to keep you on your toes through the entire run-time, as you never really know…who’s next!
#3 The Collector
Ooooh boy! This one takes the home invasion theme and throws in a healthy dose of cray-cray! Think Saw meets Don’t Breathe.
This film follows a thief who thinks he’s gotten the score of a lifetime when he breaks into a fancy house. The problem is someone else has already done the same thing and he’s not there to steal the silverware; he’s all about stealing lives!
This one came out during that era of horror I’m not a fan of, the “Torture-Porn” era, and with this serial killer’s penchant for elaborate death traps it might not be for the faint of heart. That said, it’s one the scariest home invasion movies out there and even has a sequel that wraps things up in the most satisfying of ways, at least until the planned third installment is released. Definitely worth a look.
#2 Don’t Breathe
I love it when someone takes a well-established trope and twists it on its ear.
What starts off as a home invasion by some teens looking to make an easy score by robbing a blind man turns into a nightmare, as said teens vastly underestimated how far one man will go to protect what’s his.
This movie borrows heavily from earlier films like Wait Until Dark and The People Under The Stairs, but like I said earlier, it never feels re-hashed or lazy. Instead we the audience are right smack dab in the shoes of these teens, as we hold our breaths and pray we/they make it out alive. It’s also an excellent example of why you never fight someone on their home turf. They know where all the creaky boards are, so watch your step!
#1 Hush & Wait Until Dark
It’s a tie! There was no way I could choose just one out of these two, as you can easily argue Wait Until Dark is the inspiration for Hush. Audrey Hepburn got an Oscar nomination for her amazing performance in Wait Until Dark, as a blind woman who is tormented by three men in her home, until she turns the tables on them. It’s a timeless classic that evokes true anxiety and fear in the viewer.
Hush ups the ante by making our heroine deaf and alone in the middle of nowhere, with a killer who has no remorse whatsoever and nothing else on his mind but to slowly stalk and torture her.
Actress Kate Siegel (The Haunting of Hill House) wrote this movie with one of my favorite horror directors Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game) and, like Hepburn, her performance (as well as the solid directing) keeps you walking a tight rope of tension from beginning to end.
So while we might all be too grown up to enjoy the excitement of a good old-fashioned game of Hide and Seek, we can always plop down on our couch, munch down on some snacks and put on one of these simple, yet incredibly terrifying-when-you-think-about-it, home invasion movies.
Just make sure the front door is locked before you do…
For my ranking of the Top 5 Horror Movie Twists you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes. Double Tap Baby!