Screen action veteran Bruce Willis (Die Hard Franchise) and Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter, Riverdale) star as an estranged father and son who must team up against two violent, home-invading criminals in the gripping and action-packed new thriller Survive the Night.
To celebrate the release of Survive the Night on Digital Download 20 July and DVD 27 July, we’re looking back at five of the tensest white-knuckle’ home invasion movies that will have you locking your doors and checking your windows. You never know who’s out there…
STRAW DOGS (1971)
Based on Gordon M. Williams’ 1969 novel, The Siege of Trencher’s Farm, home invasion classic Straw Dogs is directed by The Wild Bunch (1969) director Sam Peckinpah and stars screen-icon Dustin Hoffman. First released almost 50 years ago, Straw Dogs caused controversy for its brutality, violence and rape scenes, which were subject to censorship. The story begins when David Sumner (Hoffman) and his wife Amy (Susan George) move to an isolated house in rural England. What seems at first like an idyllic retreat and a chance to fix their strained marriage, soon turns nasty as they suffer vicious harassment from the locals, including Amy’s ex-boyfriend. As tensions rise, Straw Dogs turns into a bloody battle of violence and abuse, as David does everything he can to protect his home from the local invaders. In 2011 Rod Lurie directed a remake with James Marsden and Kate Bosworth as the Sumners and Alexander Skarsgård as Charlie, one of their vicious tormentors. For a white-knuckle thrill ride that continues to court controversy, look no further than Peckinpah’s terrifying classic.
FUNNY GAMES (1997)
Revered Austrian director Michael Haneke created one of the most horrifying home invasion films of all time with his 1997 film Funny Games. In the film we meet Anna (Susanne Lothar) and Georg (Ulrich Mühe) who together with their young son are spending a holiday away in a countryside cabin. But when they let two innocent-looking and seemingly polite young men inside (both donning A Clockwork Orange white wardrobe), little do they know their lives will be changed forever. Peter and Paul – as the men refer to each other – torture the family to their own amusement turning Funny Games, which spans over 100 minutes, into a bloody tour de force that’s as thrilling as it is hard to watch. When the film was first screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, it shocked the audience so much that many left the screening. Ten years later Haneke himself directed the equally brutal English-language remake with a mostly American cast, including Naomi Watts as Ann and Tim Roth as George. But for that truly horrifying experience, we advise sticking to the Austrian original.
In the French home invasion hit Inside, Alysson Paradis is Sarah, a woman grieving the death of her husband but also expecting a baby and experiencing motherhood on her own. On Christmas Eve a strange woman knocks on her door and asks to use the phone. After Sarah refuses, she thinks she can forget the short encounter but she has no idea what’s coming… when we begin to believe the tormentor has left, she finds her way back in. One of the most terrifying characters in modern horror, the violent visitor (played by Beatrice Dalle) is a relentless force trying to take Sarah’s unborn baby from her. Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s brutal debut feature is tense, thrilling and full of gore as both women will stop at nothing to come out of the fight alive. With its extreme violence, Inside has been compared to other New French Extremity film such as Martyrs, Frontiere(s) and High Tension, and is one of the twenty-first century’s very best horror films.
THE STRANGERS (2008)
Supposedly inspired by true events, Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers focuses on Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman), a couple staying in their isolated cabin in the woods after a friend’s wedding. But their time away is soon interrupted by three masked strangers; what begins with ‘just’ knocking on the door, soon turns into a full-on bloody home invasion! Taunting and sadistic, the invading strangers are having a ball, as Kristen and James try to fight back as best they can. Further shocks come at the end of the film: when Kristen asks the strangers why they have been attacking the home, the masked perpetrators simply answer: “Because you were home”. Spawning other such blood-curdling lines as “Is Tamara home?” as well as three iconic masks (Pin-up Girl, The Man in the Mask and Dollface), the film also led to The Strangers: Prey at Night, a 2018 sequel starring Christina Hendricks. Although not as thrilling as Bertino’s original, the long-awaited sequel has an 80s soundtrack to die for!
THE PURGE (2013)
James De Monaco’s hit horror-thriller The Purge has a simple but twisted premise: the government of the USA want to make America great again, so they introduce an annual purge night – for 12 hours all crime is legal including arson, theft and even murder. Oh, and all police, fire, and medical emergency services are unavailable until 7am. In the film we follow James (Ethan Hawke) and Mary Sandin (Lena Headey) and their two children, a wealthy family, who spend the night in an extremely well-protected bunker in their house. The family home soon becomes a target of violent and blood-thirsty ‘purgers’ and what ensues is a murderous and brutal spectacle, all for the good of the country… Made on a $3 million budget, the film grossed $89.3 million making it one of the most profitable films of all time, and this violent gem has since spawned three sequels, an Amazon TV series and has been turned into a theme park scare maze at Universal Studio’s annual Halloween celebrations in the US. With a fifth film now in the works, it’s clear our appetite for purging is showing no signs of stopping!
Lionsgate UK presents Survive the Night on Digital Download on 20 July & DVD 27 July