by Emalie Soderback
Now that almost everyone is staying indoors while COVID-19 barrels across the globe like a deadly, fun-sucking Taz from Looney Tunes, at least we have time to watch more movies.
It’s been speculated that watching horror can be therapeutic, soothing during times of trauma, and a great way to be able to say, “Look, at least that isn’t happening to me. Life could be worse.”
If you want to lean into freaking out during this pandemic, zombie flicks, disaster movies, and post-apocalyptic films could be your first choice, but I propose something a bit more sinister. While the bars and restaurants are closed, the shopping malls empty (even of the undead), and the beaches bare, it might be a good time to double check the locks on your front door.
Here are ten home invasion movies that will add some edge to your self-quarantine.
Lady in a Cage (1964, directed by Walter Grauman)
This nasty exploitation thriller sets the stakes high when Mrs. Hilyard, a rich, overprotective mother with a bad hip gets stuck in her home elevator on the hottest day of the year. A young, sweaty, and devilishly handsome James Caan is the leader of a pack of ruthless hooligans who decide to take advantage of Mrs. Hilyard’s unfortunate disposition.
Wait Until Dark (1967, directed by Terence Young)
When you think “Audrey Hepburn” you might think Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but the starlet was also nominated for an Academy Award for her role in this invasion movie. Hepburn plays Susy, a blind woman who gets caught up in a drug deal gone bad, and is thrown into a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse in her own apartment.
Death Game (1977, directed by Peter S. Traynor)
This ‘70s thriller is heavy on the sleaze, and is the basis for Eli Roth’s Knock, Knock starring Keanu Reeves. While his family are out of town, businessman George Manning is visited by two beautiful young girls during a storm. They say they just want to use his phone, but things quickly get out of hand. Think a more violent Daisies, and get ready to never answer your door again.
Angst (1983, directed by Gerald Kargl)
Probably one of the meanest movies on the list, Angst follows a psychotic killer recently released from prison as he quickly gets back to his old ways. With its unsettling realism, a voiceover from the killer, innovative camerawork, and some straight up gross-out scenes, this movie takes you along for the ride and will make you want to take a shower.
Panic Room (2002, directed by David Fincher)
Yeah we all love David Fincher, but do we all love David Fincher’s Panic Room? We should. Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart play a mom and daughter duo that must hide from a gang of burglars inside their concrete and steel panic room. The problem is, they’re trapped with the safe that contains the money these intruders so desperately want, and no one is willing to back down. Fun fact, my WiFi was called PANIC ROOM for a few years.
High Tension (2003, directed by Alexandre Aja)
If you’re familiar with New French Extremity, a transgressive film movement made up of hyper-violent movies like Martyrs, Inside, or In My Skin, you might be familiar with this title. While on a weekend vacation with her friend at her family’s home, Marie becomes witness to a mass slaughter after a late-night visitor comes to the door.
Them (2006, directed by David Moreau)
Them starts out with the claim that this is based on a true story, and although no more details are given, that always adds a little something extra, right? A seemingly happy couple are terrorized by unseen beings surrounding their isolated house. This minimalist horror clocks in at under 80 minutes and blends old-school paranormal and slasher themes with home invasion, keeping you wondering who they are and what they want until the very end.
Funny Games (2007, directed by Michael Haneke)
I could have chosen either of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, this one or the 1997 original, but I happen to like how 100% creepy Michael Pitt is so I chose this one. A gnarly, unrelenting tale that starts with a neighbor asking to borrow some eggs. But we all know you can’t cook eggs without smashing the shell. Is that a saying? Haneke’s portrayal of rich, white, nightmare people, bizarro acts of breaking the fourth wall, and scenes of utter brutality make it truly the Honma Five-Star golf club of home invasion movies.
The Strangers (2008, directed by Bryan Bertino)
Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers gets under your skin from the start. James and Kristen are grappling with the future of their relationship after returning late at night to their vacation home after a friend’s wedding. Tension is already in the air when a knock on the door reveals a young blonde woman, face obscured, asking in a muffled voice, “Is Tamara home?” The games begin. The truly terrifying part of this situation is when asked why these strangers chose them, they replied, “Because you were home.”
Kidnapped (2010, directed by Miguel Angel Vivas)
This Spanish film follows a wealthy family in their new home as they’re manipulated and terrorized by a group of thieves. One thing after another goes poorly, blood is shed, bones are crunched, and the tables eventually turn, making this one of the most intense and explicit battles between intruders and family on this list.
Remember, during this coronavirus pandemic: stay inside your home…and you just better hope everyone else does, too.
Do you have a favorite home invasion movie? Email us at email@example.com and let us know! Add these titles to your list for when we re-open, or learn how to rent these through our rent-by-mail program today.
Emalie Soderback is a digital content writer and social media coordinator, and has been working at Scarecrow Video since 2013. She has a passion for all things dealing with horror and feminine identity, and falls asleep watching episodes of “Unsolved Mysteries.” Follow her on Letterboxd and Twitter.