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 Justice, Ghost 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 Ils, The 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.