This article is part of our ongoing series, 31 Days of Horror Lists.
Of all the sub-genres in horror, this is truly the one that hits closest to home. A stranger, or strangers, breaking in is a legitimate fear that we can all relate to. The possibility for someone to invade your home, irreparably disrupt your existence, and then do God knows what. This is scary shit. It’s no surprise that a countless number of movies have capitalized on this fear and produced some of the most intense horror and thriller movies ever made.
For our assemblage of the best of the best home invasion movies, the Boo Crew put our best minds together and came up with our favorites, the ones that bring something fresh to the concept and truly crawl under our skin. Read on the find out the ten best home invasion horror movies, as decided by Chris Coffel, Valerie Ettenhofer, Kieran Fisher, Brad Gullickson, Rob Hunter, Meg Shields, Jacob Trussell, and yours truly.
10. You’re Next (2011)
If we’re being honest, and The Boo Crew is nothing if not honest, Adam Wingard’s 2011 slasher isn’t technically a home invasion flick but rather a film masquerading as such. That’s pretty much irrelevant, however, because it’s a bloody riot that finds that perfect balance between creepy and funny. The animal masks? Very creepy. The dinner table dialogue? Funny. The kills? A little from column A and a little from column B. Every death is inventive and capable of making you laugh and squirm all at once. Hello, there’s a freakin’ blender to the skull scene! The film also features Sharni Vinson as one of the most badass leading ladies in modern horror cinema. Tying everything together is a kick-ass, synth-heavy score. If this is what’s on the menu, I’ll be next! (Chris Coffel)
9. mother! (2017)
How anyone watches the third act of Darren Aronofsky’s mother! and thinks “This is not good.” is beyond me. The biblical home invasion horror story takes ‘going there’ to a whole other level, especially for a wide release starring one of 2017’s biggest stars, Jennifer Lawrence. All of these elements combined make something special from this spectacle of claustrophobic tension. We can feel our skin crawl as the mother’s home is taken from her by throngs of uninvited guests, there to give praise to her prophetic poet husband (Javier Bardem). It’s infuriating and frightening, taking certain trappings of the subgenre — like its typical isolationism — and turning them on its head, showing us that there is not always safety in numbers. What is mother! really about? I don’t know if Aronofsky could even answer that question, but I don’t think it really matters. The film is utterly hypnotic, a Tennessee Williams fever dream steeped in panic-stricken horror. (Jacob Trussell)
8. The Strangers (2008)
With memorable shot compositions and a melancholy emotional center, the film about a couple on the verge of a breakup (Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) who are terrorized by masked strangers at their rustic summer home initially seems too tender to turn into a dose of pure nightmare fuel. But, oh God, it definitely does. The movie takes its time unfolding, vacillating between arthouse insidiousness — a smoke alarm moved, a phone disappeared, a figure in the doorway who only we notice — and outright horror. The Strangers’ nauseatingly random sadism is perhaps best exemplified by a short scene in which Tyler’s character, now injured, is attempting to crawl to safety. As she moves with panicked urgency, a man with a sack-like mask over his head walks nonchalantly behind her. He doesn’t try to touch her, or even let her know he’s there. He’s playing with his food, just as writer-director Bryan Bertino is playing with his audience, and both are clearly having a grand old time. (Valerie Ettenhofer)
7. Inside (2007)
Two of my favorite sub-genres are Christmas horror and home invasions. If only there were a film that satisfied both these loves. Oh wait, there is, and as the French say, it’s awesome. Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s blood-stained holiday classic is an invasion within an invasion. A baby crazy lady breaks into the house of a widowed pregnant woman on Christmas Eve — invasion one — with plans of ripping her stomach open to get that unborn child — invasion two. Not even a cast of totally inept characters can derail this modern classic. It’s horrifying, shocking, and darkly funny. Minus ten points for an unnecessary and extremely cruel cat death. Plus twenty points for blood sprays taken directly from the Dario Argento handbook. (Chris Coffel)
6. Martyrs (2008)
The brilliant, daring, and original Martyrs (2008) isn’t often thought of as a home invasion movie, but the hallmarks of the sub-genre are all present. A family at home is terrorized by outside invaders. That’s it. That’s the tweet. The twist here, just one of a few, is that the family are the bad guys and the invader is a young woman traumatized by them and their ilk. That’s only the beginning of the story, though, as soon others join the party en route to one of the most audacious horror experiences you’ll ever have the “pleasure” of “enjoying.” (Rob Hunter)