Gores Truly is femme-driven but certainly not man-hating. Occasionally, we want to give our readers a chance to contribute to the horror-fest that we all adore – including those wielding the Y-Chromosome. The following article has been Murder-Her approved. Watch out! It’s an Invasion of the Y-Chromosome!
Safety and Security Aside: 7 Terrifying Home Invasion Movies
Home invasion horror adds an extra element of fear simply because there is the knowledge that, as unlikely as it might be, such scenarios could really happen. While most people do not fear ghosts or haunted mirrors in their real life, everyone at some point has been startled by a mysterious creak in the floor or an unknown noise outside a window. Homes are intended to be a sanctuary, but what happens when the one place in the world you’re supposed to be safe is invaded? These seven movies show just how fragile we truly are against a determined attacker, so sit back, relax and don’t forget to double lock the doors.
When A Stranger Calls (1979)
Based on an urban legend and one of the most common horror tropes of the 70s, When A Stranger Calls is the ultimate example of a psychotic killer invading the home. An innocent babysitter is being terrorized by mysterious phone calls when the fate of the children she’s watching is called into question when the caller asks the classic “have you checked the children?” line. She almost dies in the house but is ultimately saved and years later is targeted again by the same man, and is again rescued just in the nick of time. But the most terrifying part of the movie by far is the moment she discovers that the terrifying calls she’s been receiving are coming from inside the house.
Funny Games (1997)
Funny Games, Michael Haneke’s 1997 film, follows two young men who are holding a family of three hostage in their remote Austrian lake house. The unsuspecting family on a simple summer vacation are slowly infringed upon by the two, held hostage and forced to perform a number of sadistic “games” to ensure their survival. As with most horror films, we see malfunctioning phones here (and in the 2007 remake), but this situation could have been avoided completely with a security system that many have installed in vacation homes these days. Even if the victims knowingly allowed the young men into their house, they would have had plenty of opportunities to trigger the system and alert authorities – possibly in enough time to save them all!
Panic Room (2002)
Starring Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart as a mother-daughter duo, Panic Room sees the pair hiding in their new apartment’s panic room when three men break in during their first night. Naturally, they come in search of $3 million in bearer bonds hidden in a floor safe in the very room they are hiding in. This sets off a terrifying chain of events for the entire group and, of course, the room’s separate phone line isn’t working. A cell phone would have come in handy, but instead they endure medical emergencies, fire, beatings, and terror before finally escaping with their lives. And everyone lived happily ever after – well, except the robbers.
The 2007 French film Inside is just another story where the poor protagonist is just in the way of the ultimate prize is, though in this case the eventual prize is an innocent baby. Unfortunately, the baby is still inside the mother’s body, resulting in a terrifying ordeal for the mother-to-be as she tries to protect both herself and her unborn child. While the pregnant widow has already endured the great loss of her husband during the holidays, we come to find out through twists and turns the attacking woman was in the other car involved in the crash he died in.
The Strangers (2008)
We’ve got films where the villain is after something specific, and then we’ve got The Strangers. A couple is attacked and terrorized throughout the night for seemingly no reason other than the enjoyment that the killers get from their fear. The victim’s remote location really worked against them, and this film does a particularly excellent job at pulling on viewers heartstrings dangling hope for the victims through multiple escape attempts ultimately thwarted by the attackers tricks. After a night of cat and mouse games, the masked intruders have finally revealed themselves, and thinking they have finished the job leave Kristen (Liv Tyler) barely hanging onto life.
You’re Next (2013)
You’re Next is another film of the money-comes-first variety, though the financial incentive isn’t revealed until the twisted end of the movie. What at first appears to be a series of random killings instead turns out to be an unconventional approach to estate planning. When a family and their respective significant others all gather at a vacation home for a reunion, they find themselves being picked off one by one by attackers in animal masks. What the attackers most likely weren’t expecting was to be met by a woman with survivalist training, unfortunately she somehow fails to utilize them to ensure the house’s security before the mayhem starts once they realized the intruders had infiltrated the place before their arrival.
The Purge (2013)
Following an economic collapse, “The New Founding Fathers of America” have established one night a year in which all crime, including murder, is legal as a way of lowering the annual crime rate. As the top salesman for security systems specifically designed to shut down houses for purge night, James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) and his family come under attack after the son accidentally unlocks the house to let in someone from the outside. Perhaps one of the more terrifying home invasion movies of recent years, The Purge gives us a look at how even the most advanced, state of the art technology can’t always save you.
The main vulnerability most of these victims share is their lack of ability to call for help, as seen in most horror movies. Although a silent alarm, panic button, or even a simple working cell phone could have done these characters well, it’s always their remote locations that seal their fate. While other horror tropes slowly die out with time or technology makes them irrelevant, home invasion movies will remain at the top of the horror list with one of the most realistic plot lines to date making us second guess the safety and comfort of our own homes.
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