Lists, Top 5 Movies, Top 5s — August 13, 2012 at 3:01 am

KAI’S TOP 5 HOME INVASION MOVIES

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I have to explain the inspiration for this list which happens to be Nicolas Cage. I am a HUGE Nicolas Cage fan and when it comes to Cage. I’ll take bad Cage over good Cage any day of the week. Hell, I’d rather watch a bad Nic Cage movie than a good film with exquisite acting most of the time.

All that being said, I just completed watching the trifecta of shit that Cage put out this last year. The trilogy being Seeking JusticeGhost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Trespass. Now, Seeking Justice wasn’t that bad (Thank You, Guy Pearce!) and while you would think the horrible comic-book adaptation would be the one to get my goat, it was actually Trespass that enfuriated me. Leave it to Nicolas Cage and Joel Schumacher to screw up a sub-genre that is so riveting on it’s own that you have to go out of your way to screw it up. Needless to say, I need a palette cleanser. So let’s take a look at some films that got it right:

HONORABLE MENTION: HOME ALONE.

I’ve excluded Home Alone from the list because it is NOT a home invasion film. While home invasion is a very big part of the plot, this film is a Comedy/ Family film first. The home invasion is merely a plot technique. I have similar feelings about The Ref, which I also love a bunch.

5. INSIDE (AKA: A L’INTERIEU).

Some of you might remember this from my recent Top 5 Pregnancy Films list. The film is about a widower, on the verge of giving birth, who gets a visitor in the middle of the night intent on taking her baby. By ANY means necessary. The film is bloody as hell, as only the French can do. So bloody, in fact, that one viewing will probably be enough but you’ll still really enjoy it.

4. FUNNY GAMES.

I have to go with the director’s American remake of his foreign film of the same name. I have to because, while I have owned the original for nearly two years, I have yet to get around to watching it. While that’s a shame on me situation, it’s hardly a bad pick for this list. Funny Games is a fun take on the genre that is more creepy and unsettling than anything else. No happy endings here but, be honest… do you really want one?

3. KIDNAPPED (AKA: SECUESTRADOS).

I’ll be honest, I’m probably never going to watch this film again. Mainly because it hits your eyeballs with a solid gut punch. It follows formulaic home invasion beats out of the gate but diverts into fresh territory by the end making it a superbly satisfying ending. This film really explores what happens when a situation like this goes wrong. Not only for the captives but the home invaders as well. The violence is hard and unflinching but the ending is so damn good that I can’t help but recommend you see it. Even if, like me, you only do it once.

2. HARD CANDY.

This film is amazing. Anyone that has seen it can tell you that. It doesn’t even feel like a home invasion movie but that’s exactly what it is. This film is about a sexual predator (Patrick Wilson) who lures a young girl (Ellen Page) back to his home only to have the tables completely flipped on him. This film is a classic case of the prey becoming the predator. It’s probably the tamest film on the list and plays out in true Indie film fashion. The best parts are less about the violence and more about the great back and forth between two really good actors who were, at the time, on the verge of breaking out.

1. THEM (AKA: ILS).

I literally tell everyone I can about this film. It tells the story of a couple at their vacation home who get some mysterious visitors in the night. I stumbled across it myself and was blown away. Many of you who like these types of films are probably familiar with another great film called The Strangers. While the director has denied ever having seen IlsThe Strangers is clearly a rip-off of this superior film. For the faint of heart out there, you should know that there is far less gore in this film which plays out much more like a Thriller. Be warned though that it will knock your socks off!

Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.

29 Comments

  • Surprisingly, the only movie that I’ve seen from this list is Hard Candy, which I loved.

    I know a lot of people hated it, but I really enjoyed Hostage, and one of my guilty pleasures. One of Ben Foster’s earlier films.

    Really enjoyed The Strangers, as well.

    Will have to get around to watching the rest of your list.

  • The only movies on this list I’ve seen are Home Alone and Hard Candy. I didn’t love Hard Candy, but it was very well made and well acted. My daughter has also seem Them (Ils) — she didn’t like it nearly as much as you did. I don’t remember why. Excellent list! I really enjoy features like this.

  • By the way, “it hits your eyeballs with a solid gut punch” is an excellent line. 🙂 I’m just sayin’

  • Of course you know from my recent review I was only kinda ‘eh’ about Inside. I hated Funny Games. Haven’t seen Kidnapped. Love Hard Candy. And I was also a bit indifferent to “Them,” but I’m glad you didn’t put The Strangers on this list, because I didn’t like that, either.

    Though I’m with Red. I *love* Hostage with Bruce Willis and Ben Foster.

    • Hostage is fine but it’s far too popcorn to make my list. Not that popcorn can’t be enjoyable but that one isn’t very clever.

      You NEED to see Kidnapped, Nick. You would love it. It gets pretty nuts!

  • So glad to see Them on here. That’s a movie in need of a greater audidence.

  • I kind of struggled with Them/Ils/Whatever, probably because of exactly what you cite- I expected more gore. But I loved the tar out of Inside. Actually, Them is one of the only New French Extremity movies I haven’t liked a lot.

  • If Inside is a home invasion movie, how about High Tension? At the very least it starts off as a home invasion movie.

    I really think that a list like this has to include The Strangers, which is one of the most magnificently made horror movies of the last five years. It’s…well, it’s just really, really good, frightening and tense and so good at evoking that fear of being unsafe in your own house.

    That’s what movies of this sort really need to play off of, so I guess that DOES disqualify High Tension, but hey– I prefer The Strangers anyways to films of that sort. (More often than not.)

    On that note, much as I love the hell out of Hard Candy, I don’t know if I really consider it a home invasion movie because it’s not so much about that fear. It’s about very, very different things. Still great, but for me, it doesn’t make it up there.

    Props on including Ils, which is a sadly underseen horror flick. And at number one! Can’t complain about that.

    • Ugh… The Strangers is terrible and overrated in my opinion. And I’m of the opinion that nothing is freakier than being watched. There are a number of movies out there that just freak me the hell out because it involves something bad just in the background watching somebody else.

      But that is this movie’s ONLY idea. It’s a 90-minute, one-trick pony of just people standing in the background. It got old after like 10 minutes. To me, it’s like those scenes in the first Paranormal Activity where she stands there watching him sleep… but imagine that as the entire movie, and then toss in a little violence here and there.

      It even has the cliche “Final Girl runs, trips, hurts her ankle” bit that just made me roll my eyes.

      Sorry, I know a ton of people love The Strangers, but I just don’t get it.

      • It’s not just about being watched, though. The Strangers do more than watch. In fact, the film’s build-up goes explicitly from “watching” to, well, other things. That’s the movie’s foundation– the dread of feeling like someone else is there in the room with you, even though you can’t see them. And it builds off of that to masked assailants operating a step ahead of their quarry. It escalates, and it does so very, very well, rather than do the boring “slow burn” thing where really nothing happens the entire film.

        I don’t mind the injured ankle. In a movie like this, it’s more tolerable than in the five hundredth Friday the 13th film or whatever. Besides, there’s a reason that the cliches exist.

        • We’re gonna have to agree to disagree pretty heavily on this one.

          • I might recommend a re-watch, because the movie you’re talking about doesn’t really jive with the movie that turned out to be one of my favorites from 2008.

            The other thing I don’t get is calling it overrated when it has a 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s not like it received that much critical adulation on its release. If anything, it’s underrated.

          • lol, I doubt a re-watch will change my opinion of it being dull, uninteresting, and not scary to… the opposite of that. Not saying I’m unwilling to do so. Just saying it’s incredibly unlikely that my thoughts will change on it. Most likely, my appreciation could just up a small percentage, but that’s about it (which is what happened when I rewatched The Descent, a film I have almost equal feelings for).

            Oh, this movie is totally overrated. Kai is one of the only people I know or have heard from that doesn’t like this movie, either. And I’ve heard a lot. Everywhere (except RT, apparently) it’s nothing but love.

          • Hey, if a rewatch of Oldboy can secure it as my favorite movie of all time…anything can happen.

            And I think it’s hard to be overrated when aggregates– not just RT, but places like Metacritic– say the opposite. Anecdotal evidence being what it is, I’ma trust maths more often than not.

          • I really have never cared what professional critics have to say. I’m talking your average, everyday reviewer. I think things can be overrated even with low scores from the professionals. I know it’s a different beast entirely, but, for instance… a lot of people love Rocky Horror. It’s a terrible movie, and no doubt has low scores, but it can still be overrated as a cult classic.

            Regardless of whether that example works or not, my point is… looking at it from a math scale… out of, say, 100 people that I’ve heard from about The Strangers, maybe 2 didn’t like it.

          • Also, I just want to say… I’m sorry if I’m coming off annoying or whatever. I don’t mean to be purposefully argumentative. I’m just stating my opinion.

          • No need for that, Nick, you sound just fine to me.

            And while I hear you about professional critics– even though that’s what I aspire to be– I’d still take it from them before I take from the average movie goer, because I know that the pros and the audience don’t always look for and see the same things when watching the same movie. There’s no objective gauge for film quality, of course, but I tend to go by what the critics think before I go by what randoms think– even when the randoms are people I’m friends with or happen to like (with some exceptions).

          • Actually, Nick, I like Strangers. Just don’t love it. I think it had potential to be much better. It’s just okay in my opinion.

            I also can’t put it on here as it clearly ripped off Ils (regardless of what director said). Ils is a superior film.

          • Well, then, Kai. I think you just helped me with my point of “Everybody likes it.” 😛

          • I’ve heard the “Strangers rips off Ils” argument before, and it holds no water. The former started shooting only a few months after the latter had its theatrical run at home in France; in fact, the US didn’t see Ils until it played aT SXSW in 2007. Bertino didn’t really have the window of opportunity to steal from Moreau and Palud, forget the fact that their films are only similar in that they’re home invasion movies (the same way that Friday the 13th feels like a giallo movie).

            For me they’re neck and neck. I don’t know if I prefer one over the other so much; flip a coin and you win either way.

  • I love Hard Candy! Such a crazy film. So is Inside but I just did not really like that movie very much. I love The Strangers so I’ll have to check out Them and see if I agree with you on that one.

    The only movie that popped into my head immediately that’s not mentioned here is Panic Room.

  • It’s cool you put Funny Games on here. I have seen the original, but really liked the remake.

    I adored Hard Candy. Ellen Page is amazing in this.

    I will see Inside soon,just not in a big hurry

  • Great No. 1 Kai!

    Some others to try:

    Wait Until Dark
    Switchblade Romance
    Cherry Tree Lane
    Paranormal Activity (1, 2, 3)
    Poltergeist
    The Strangers
    Panic Room

    • Wait Until Dark is a really good one, too.

    • Cherry Tree Lane was really really good. Mostly because I felt actually disturbed during the film, mostly at the last scene (well not the last scene, trying not to spoil anything, but the scene in the bedroom quite near the end), the way that scene was shot – so that you couldnt completely see what was happening – really got to me, and films rarely do that.

  • Awesome list! I will definitely have to check out THEM/ILS since anything that beats HARD CANDY must be flipping fantastic.

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