Lock Your Doors: 15 Great Home Invasion Movies You Haven't Seen

Editor-at-Large; Los Angeles (@http://twitter.com/marshalclark)
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With You're Next opening this Friday on the heels of the massive box office success of The Purge, audiences this year are again questioning the safety of their own homes. It's not at all surprising that the home invasion formula has endured so long in horror movies and thrillers -- after all, what idea strikes more directly and violently at our collective comfort than one exposing the vulnerability of where we live?
 
However, for whatever reason, the cannon of home invasion "classics" is fairly narrow. Critics these days often name-check Straw Dogs, Last House on the Left, Wait Until Dark, and more recently, Funny Games and The Strangers, but ignore a plethora of fascinating, horrifying and sometimes just bizarre entries into the genre. And so, check your doors and windows, then join us as we explore fifteen lesser-known, but no less terrifying cinematic tales of home invasion from all over the world. Be sure to chime in with any of your favorites that we missed in the comments below.  

House on the Edge of the Park
This home invasion sleaze-fest is one of many that popped up after the success of Last House on the Left, but it has the distinction of coming from the mind of director Ruggero Deodato, who also directed the widely-banned, explicit and controversial Cannibal Holocaust. It's not a masterpiece of style or tension, but as far as limit-testing gore and degrading violence, this tale of a mechanic psychopath and his friend holding a high society party hostage still rests at the top of the heap.

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  • Monsiuer Hulot

    I've never seen it/tracked it down......one of these days I'll add it to the stack......but I've heard good things about Larry Cohen's "Bone".

  • Brian Clark

    I have too, but had forgotten. I need to get around to seeing it too. Good call.

  • Bos

    Martyrs:
    Great: YES
    Home Invasion: NOPE

  • Not in a conventional sense, no, but the two girls absolutely DO invade someone's home. They just have it turned around on them in absolutely horrible ways.

  • Bos

    The title suggests that this article is about 'home invasion' as genre, not as scenes, that's why it is called '15 great home invasion movies' and not '15 great home invasion scenes'.
    So, imho, Martyrs doesn't belong here.

    Probably in every movie in the world someone goes inside someone's else home uninvited...but this fact does not make the movie genre 'home invasion', or Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters would be an 'home invasion' too...even Pulp Fiction, lol

  • Brian Clark

    Alright, internet police. My defense: The protagonist of the movie spends the entire movie in a home that is not hers. That she invaded. Not only is the setup predicated on a home invasion, but the is staged with an obvious nod to home invasion movies of past. Yes, it subverts many tropes of the genre, and evolves into something more than a home invasion movie, but the setup owes many-a-debt to the rigid genre you want me to stay in. Your analogies to pulp fiction and hansel and gretel are real stretches.

  • Bos

    Oh well, I suppose eveyone can see in a movie what he WANTS to see at all costs...

  • You've all seen it, but I do like the STRAW DOGS remake with Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci.

    Nicely done, Brian, I've seen far too few of those above.

  • Brian Clark

    Much obliged!

  • Superaids

    Where is "The Strangers", "Ils" and most of all, Haneke's "Funny Games" ??? Rewrite your list please.

  • Brian Clark

    Reread my first two paragraphs please!

  • Yeah... I mean, the guy didn't even include PANIC ROOM?! WTF!!!!!

  • Those would be the ones that most people HAVE seen, and thus not really relevant to this list.

  • SIN

    You forgot Ils (Them).

  • Monsiuer Hulot

    "Them" deserves no recommendations/accolades whatsoever. One of the most pointless, boring horror films I have ever seen. After reading rave reviews, much like "Wolf Creek", I must conclude this is a horror film for people who generally don't like horror films (or being scared). Not scary. No tension. Trite characters/character development. The twist at the end is inane as they come ("It's based on a true story"....don't care, still bored me to tears), but........even despite that......the whole movie is one steaming pile of mediocrity. Don't waste your time. If you're watching this movie, you'll be begging for someone to invade your home, just to drag you away from the banality of "Them".

  • Brian Clark

    I said in the article that I thought KIDNAPPED was a much better take on the exact same thing than ILS, which is why I included it instead. And I agree with Hulot that it was mostly a pretty boring, pointless movie to boot. But at least it least it never actually lectures the audience about their moral inferiority (ahem, funny games.).

  • cuckoozey

    Why do writers always insist on that "...That You've Never Seen" headline?

    Well, I've seen seven of them anyway. I'll offer up La Settima Donna, aka Last House On The Beach...a fun summer film.

  • Brian Clark

    I agree with you actually --- I didn't feel great about the "you've never seen" headline." But it was important to contextualize the list so that I don't get a lot of people coming on asking "what about the strangers?" And as far as headlines go, adding words like "probably" or "mostly undiscovered gems" just reads so clunky. So here we are. I was not actually trying to say I'm better than you!

    Last House on the Beach sounds ridiculous -- good call. I will watch it soon!

  • cuckoozey

    Ha, glad to hear you didn't feel great about the headline either Brian. Some good choices there though, a few I hadn't heard of.

    Cheers...!

  • Dan.germouse

    Funny games (remake) is pretty amazing, the filmmakers know what you want to take away from the watching experience, but don't give it to you. Zero satisfaction in a good way.

  • Brian Clark

    I can't take Haneke's moral superiority and lecturing. I hate Funny Games. I know it has its fans though.

  • cjohnston

    one other BONKERS "home-invasion" title that I think at the VERY LEAST deserves honorable mention:
    - Burning Bright ..a raging hurricane, a daughter, her autistic son, and a tiger = tension that you can sharpen a knife on!. REALLY GOOD FILM!!!

  • Brian Clark

    This is now on my must-see list.

  • I've seen this one ... it's not as good as it could be with the gonzo premise but it's pretty fun. Added bonus: Garrett Dillahunt is one of the leads. Love that guy.

  • amanda wyss

    ever since you implemented that click through module on Twitch there's been some pretty lazy lists but this one was a nice surprise! great job! THE VISITORS is such a killer movie. Fun fact: it's a spiritual cousin to CASUALTIES OF WAR

  • EugeneRushmore

    yes... 'inside'... watch that one stoned at three a.m.

  • Juan Andrés Valencia

    House On The Edge Of The Park is so disturbing. The rape scene with the song Sweetly playing on the background, the razor cuts in that blonde woman's breasts, etc.

    It's well made though and I really like David Hess and Giovanni Lombardo Radice in in it.

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