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24 Great Home-Invasion Horror Movies to Watch When You’re Home Alone

Boo! Photo: Lionsgate, Warner Brothers, Universal Studios, Sundance Institute

Home-invasion movies are driven by a universal fear: Who hasn’t worried about someone breaking into their home with malicious intent? It’s why creaks and bumps scare you when you’re home alone. It’s why wind chimes become instruments of terror when the sun goes down. It’s pretty twisted to think about watching movies that exploit these fears for fun, but there’s something to be said for sharing such an emotional experience with people from across the world. The universal fear of domestic violation transcends language and local custom. It’s the connective power of art in practice, manifested in mutual terror.

Below, we present 24 home-invasion movies to ensure that you don’t sleep soundly until Christmas. There’s plenty here for both the bloodhounds and those who prefer less gory frights.

The Strangers (2008)
The impact of this film vastly overshadows its poor critical performance. Upon its release, The Strangers became a home-invasion classic, which is a true testament to the power of this horror subgenre. The premise is simple: Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are trapped in their house as three masked sociopaths taunt and terrorize them. No frills. No special effects. Just the fear of your ultimate safe space being violated and used against you.
Available to rent or purchase on iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

Them (2006)
Before The Conjuring tested nerves with those scary hands clapping in the dark, the villains of Them chipped away at audiences’ sanity with some wretched noisemakers. Once again, it’s sweet and simple. A couple is alone in their dark, cavernous house, where they’re hunted by a mysterious person — or persons — who revel in torture. Exercise caution on this one. It’s a French film, and the French are straight crazy with their horror.
Available to rent on Amazon Video.

When a Stranger Calls (1979)
The first 30 minutes of When a Stranger Calls capitalize on the fundamental terror of home invasion in a way that few movies have ever been able to replicate. Is any question more chilling than, “Have you checked the children?” It’s the line that puts this movie in the horror hall of fame. Just remember: You want the original version of this movie, not the 2006 remake starring Camilla Belle.
Available on Netflix DVD.

Emelie (2016)
Here’s a terrifying question: What do you do if the sinister home invader is a woman pretending to be a babysitter, and you entrust her with the lives of your children? That is the premise of Emelie, which is powered by an utterly disturbing performance from lead actress Sarah Bolger.
Available to rent or purchase on iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Sure, this one is a zombie classic, but it’s also great way to mix up your home-invasion marathon.
Available to stream on Hulu. Available to rent and purchase on iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

Funny Games (1997)
Director Michael Haneke’s divisive take on home-invasion horror is twisted, frightening, and at times maddening. Haneke toys with genre tropes, forcing the audience to feel very uncomfortable about their choice of entertainment. In this story about a lovely little family held hostage by a pair of well-dressed, well-mannered young men, no one comes away clean — especially not the people watching.
Available on Netflix DVD.

Funny Games (2007)
Haneke also directed the American remake of his film ten years later, and it’s essentially a shot-for-shot recreation of the German-language original. Stateside audiences got Tim Roth and Naomi Watts as the loving husband and wife, and Haneke had a casting coup with his new villains: Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet excel as the creepy duo, who are vanilla on the outside with molten-hot sadistic centers. Good luck watching them in any other roles after you watch this movie.
Available to rent and purchase on iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

Inside (2007)
Remember that thing about French horror being crazy? This film follows a devastated pregnant widow who spends Christmas Eve waiting for her delivery appointment the next day. Outside her home, a mysterious, terrifying woman waits to break in and cut the baby out. We won’t spoil whether or not she succeeds, but be warned: This is a savage, bloody nightmare. They don’t call it New French Extremity for nothing.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Video.

The Purge (2013)
Before Anarchy and Election Night, there was the original Purge, a tight little home-invasion movie about a family trying to survive a night in which all crime is legal for 12 relentless, horrifying hours. As Lena Headey’s character reminds herself, “Just remember all the good the Purge does.”
Available to rent and purchase on iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

Straw Dogs (1971)
In an effort to build a more soothing and simple life, David and his wife Amy move from the United States to the rural English town where she was raised. The men of the village don’t take kindly to David, not least of all because one of them used to date his wife. After two local men rape Amy, a violent siege of the couple’s home ensues. This is Dustin Hoffman’s beast mode.
Available on Netflix DVD.

Wait Until Dark (1967)
Here’s a nice tone shift for you. Audrey Hepburn got an Oscar nomination for her performance in this film as Suzy, a newly blind woman home alone in her apartment in New York City while three criminals try to manipulate her out of a possession she doesn’t even know she has. Watching three men gaslight a vulnerable woman evokes a timeless anxiety and fear, and Hepburn earned every bit of praise she got for this role. 
Available to rent and purchase on iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

High Tension (2003)
Oh, hi, France! It’s you again! This is one of those ultraviolent movies that casual horror fans liked to name-drop in the mid-aughts to demonstrate that they’d seen some stuff. In addition to being really aggressive, the first half of High Tension is actually a wonderfully effective home-invasion movie about a college student who brings her best friend to her family’s farmhouse for the weekend. If the name of the director, Alexandre Aja, sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the same guy who made you question your humanity after you watched the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes.
Available to stream on Showtime. Available for rent and purchase on Amazon Video and Google Play.

The Desperate Hours (1955)
There are two movies called The Desperate Hours. The one you should watch is from 1955 and stars Humphrey Bogart. The other is from 1990 and it’s not very good at all. The Bogart one was directed by William Wyler and is about three escaped felons who break into a random suburban home and take a family hostage for days on end. It’s home invasion for the gentler sensibility of the mid-1950s.
Available to rent and purchase on Amazon Video and Google Play.

Hush (2016)
Actress Kate Siegel wrote this movie with director Mike Flanagan about a deaf woman living in the woods, who ends up fighting for survival against a masked killer. Watching someone navigate the most desperate moments of her life while trapped in complete silence provokes a distinct type of anxiety, and Siegel does an excellent job. 
Available to stream on Netflix.

Black Christmas (1974)
Here is a universal truth: The scariest killer is the killer who’s already in the house. The added bonus of Black Christmas is that it’s still a home invasion whether you consider it from the perspective of the villain or the victims, who in this case are a bunch of sorority girls hoping to enjoy their imminent winter break.
Available on Netflix DVD.

Silent House (2011)
Elizabeth Olsen actually made this movie before her breakout performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene, but it wasn’t released until after that movie raised her profile. It’s an American remake of a Uruguayan film, La Casa Muda, and it follows a young woman and her father staying overnight in a derelict vacation home they’re in the process of cleaning up. The movie received fairly poor reviews, but Olsen’s slide into fear and paranoia is truly gripping. Watch this one with the lights off and you’ll be right there in hell with her.
Available to stream on Starz. Available to rent and purchase on iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

La Casa Muda (2010)
is the stronger of the two Silent House movies, but each is distinct enough from the other — including in their respective executions of the crucial final scene — that they feel like unique experiences. If you’ve ever been afraid of the dark, this movie will be enough to make you consider sleeping with every pillow and blanket pulled over your head.
Available on Netflix DVD.

You’re Next (2011)
Perhaps the world experienced a collective subconscious fear in 2010, because home-invasion horror inspired a lot of filmmakers at that time. You’re Next has the advantage of showcasing an outstanding Final Girl, in addition to the standard tropes of the quiet family vacation home overrun by murderous crazies. And props to the filmmakers Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett for putting their baddies in very scary animal masks.
Available to rent and purchase on iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

Angst (1983)
This German film about a man who gets out of jail and immediately sets out to torture and kill is so stripped down and frantic that it feels real. The camera work and sound design make you feel like you’re slipping into madness with the killer, and the scarcity of dialogue proves horror is a genre that, when executed correctly, is not dependent on language to provoke extreme discomfort.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Video.

Kidnapped (2010)
A trio of masked criminals infiltrate a home in a gated Madrid community and take an entire family hostage in this Spanish thriller. If you run the credited names of the villains through a translation filter, they come out to Young Mugger, Chief Mugger, and Head Strong, which makes their characters sound a lot sillier than they actually are. These are definitely bad men.
Available to stream on Netflix

The Collector (2009)
This one came out at the tail end of the so-called Torture Porn era, and so it’s distinguished by elaborately constructed acts of violence that result in lots and lots of bloodshed. The Collector follows a burglar who thinks he’s scored big at a fancy house, but upon entering, the thief realizes it’s been wired for terror by a psychotic masked killer keeping the family hostage inside. With deadly traps everywhere, the house becomes the enemy.
Available to rent and purchase on Amazon Video.

Torso (1973)
If you’ve had a little too much of the hyperreal with movies like Silent House and The Strangers, add some texture to your home-invasion experience with this Italian giallo film. After a serial killer begins targeting students in Perugia, a group of women decide to head for the hills and spend some time at a country villa. The killer follows them, and it doesn’t end well for most of the coeds. In the tradition of giallo, expect the blood to run bright red, and the clothes to be sparse.
Available to rent and purchase on iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play.

Knock Knock (2015)
This movie will appeal most to two sets of people: Those who love director Eli Roth and everything he does, and those interested in the strange but very satisfying Keanu Reeves comeback. The actor plays a married man home alone for the weekend who takes in a pair of very attractive women who claim they were caught in a rainstorm. He tries to get them to leave — but not that hard — and after making a few really bad choices he ends up as their prisoner in his own home. If you like the gleeful sociopaths of Roth’s previous films, this is a fun twist on his familiar tropes. 
Available to stream on Amazon Video and Hulu. Available to purchase on iTunes and Google Play.

Sleep Tight (2013)
How’s this for a movie description? “César is the superintendent of an apartment building and keeps very close tabs on the tenants. He secretly enjoys inflicting pain on others.” Pretty big secret, César! Sleep Tight will make you double-check that everything in your room is just where you left it  — including under your bed, where you definitely did not leave a grown man.
Available to stream on Hulu. Available to rent and purchase on Amazon Video and Google Play.

24 Great Home-Invasion Horror Movies to Watch