Home invasion is an absolute staple of horror. Your home is meant to be a safe space, somewhere where you can relax and feel at ease. It’s where your family is, your pets, all your stuff - everything you care about all centralised in one location.
So, when that location is taken and turned into something scary, something that poses an imminent threat, then a certain specific kind of fear is struck in your heart.
There are a number of things you come to expect from a home invasion horror. Usually the home is established as a safe-space, the pets are introduced so we can ready ourselves for them to be killed off later, the intruders are always guys in hats or masks, et cetera. We think we know what we’re in for when we settle down to watch, and for the most part we’re right.
You can never be absolutely sure, however, because sometimes films can pleasantly surprise us. With plot twists, interesting characters, subversions of classic tropes and ideas, there is quite a range of films that manage to bring something new to the home invasion table - you just need to know where to look!
10. Hush - Limited Senses, Heightened Tension
Often a lot of the tension in a home invasion scenario comes from the sound. You would first realise someone was breaking into your house if you heard your door being broken down or a window being smashed, for example, and then go on to wait in terror as you hear footsteps creeping closer to the closet you’re hiding in.
Hush’s protagonist, Maddie, lost her hearing and ability to speak after contracting meningitis as a teen. After a visit from a buddy of hers one evening, she is visited by someone far less friendly; a masked killer murders her friend and then becomes intent on picking Maddie off too.
Living in the back end of nowhere, Maddie is not in the prime position to get help when someone is trying to break in and murder her, and with the added problem of not being able to hear her attacker moving around there are some horribly tense moments that leave you shouting at the screen, “he’s behind you!”
The one spoiler I’ll give for this movie is that it does manage to subvert another expectation. You know her beloved cat companion? Fortunately he manages to survive!