BY KILEY BELL
With the release of horror film You’re Next just around the corner, it’s time to explore other similarly-themed films with our top five list of home invasion movies. Just a note, you might want to make sure your doors and windows are locked tight before watching any of them.
Wearing masks seems to be a big theme in home invasion movies. Whether masks are used because it’s a practical way of hiding the invader’s identity until the last moment or just because it entirely creeps out the audience using the fear of the unknown, we may never know. One thing is for sure, masked invaders are certainly the scariest and none of them are quite as terrifying as they are in The Strangers. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play a couple staying in a summer vacation home for the night who are unknowingly watched by three masked murderers. With only a cast of about six people and a budget of $9 million, writer and director Bryan Bertino surprisingly makes the most chilling film of his career.
Recently out this year, The Purge garnered many comparisons to The Strangers simply for the fact that the trailer showed a group of masked bandits trying to invade the house of a family. The similarities stop there however, as this film has a much more futuristic plot and provides more character background. It may not be the scariest, but the crazy idea that in the future all crimes are legal for one day is the main reason to watch it. If you’re looking for completely creepy, silent and ominous scenes that will cause you to jump a mile out of your seat, then this film isn’t for you. If you’re looking to see how incredibly messed up, brutal and twisted the human population can be without any laws to govern them, then this is definitely one to watch.
Funny Games (1997/2007)
Whether it’s the original 1997 Austrian film, or the shot-for-shot remake by the same director Michael Haneke, Funny Games definitely makes the top five list for home invasion films. In the remake, Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet play invaders that trap a family of three in their home and force them to live through a series of horrific games (games that really aren’t all that fun, as was promised in the title). We’ve seen Michael Pitt as a killer before in 2002’s Murder by Numbers, but this time in Funny Games, Pitt isn’t outshone by anyone else and is much more sadistic. The American remake is undoubtedly the one most people are familiar with, although they’re both worth watching.
Straw Dogs (2011)
Another remake, this 2011 film starring James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard was taken from the original 1971 film with Dustin Hoffman. Both films are solid on their own, but today’s audience would probably be most interested in the remade version (unless 70s films set in England are totally your thing). Although the remake didn’t do very well at the box office and critical reception was generally mixed, it’s worth the watch for a cheap thrill that involves strange albeit creative deaths brought on by the protagonist. The other main reason to watch it is simply for Alexander Skarsgard, if you’re tired of waiting around for the latest episode of True Blood to air.
Starring a very young Kristen Stewart, the always-amazing Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker, and for some reason Jared Leto complete with cornrows, Panic Room definitely makes the list. As someone incredibly biased to how much she loves any and all David Fincher films, it’s hard to view this movie objectively. Yes, it most definitely has its cheesy moments (I did mention Jared Leto had cornrows, right?) but all-in-all, it’s a great film. Mother and daughter duo (Foster and Stewart) are forced to lock themselves in their newly-purchased panic room after three men invade their house looking for missing money. While it sounds pretty basic, the fact that two people are stuck inside a panic room as others try to break into it makes for a claustrophobic and anxiety-ridden film.
A student of Centennial’s post-graduate Book and Magazine publishing program, Kiley enjoys spending most of her time crying over Tom Hanks romcoms, watching Downton Abbey and hoping that Michael Fassbender and Steve McQueen continue making movies with only each other.