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Best Scary Horror Movies: Home Intruder Style

Updated on January 3, 2018
NessMovieReviews profile image

My passion is for films that scare the pants off you and I am always searching for movies that can do just that.


'The Purge' (2013)

What’s it About?

The government decided that crime doesn’t pay. Well, not for them. In fact, crime is costing too much. The Founding Fathers of the United States take a vote and decide that they will celebrate a new holiday once a year where everyone gets a free pass.. for murder.

When I watched this, it took place in the not too distant future, given that I watched it in 2013. The first Purge in the flick takes place in 2017.

Purges make the world a better place. This movie's set in 2022 and the annual Purge has been going strong since its debut. The government is happy that there is less homeless and somewhat less crime committed statistically.

Any person can commit any crime as well as carry any type of weapon they can get access to for 24 hours. That is the Purge.

People who don’t want to take part basically need to protect themselves and get themselves some good security. We see scenes where houses have steel enforced roller doors over their windows and entries. Heavy artillery to defend what is theirs. For those that don’t have the money to do that, they should just hope for the best and stay away from the action.

Notable Cast Members.

There are 2 Australian actors in this movie; Adelaide Kane (Zoey Sandin) and Rhys Wakefield (Purge leader) along with Ethan Hawke who has probably been in a film you have seen no matter what genre you like.

Another stand out was Chris Mulkey who played Mr. Halverson. Mulkey's accredited roles are very extensive and I find he has a very recognizable face because of this.

Director and Screenplay.

According to director DeMonaco, a road-rage incident inspired him to pen The Purge and it happened like this:

He and his wife were driving on the freeway when a drunk driver cut them off nearly killing them. After both cars stopped, the other driver's lack of remorse enraged DeMonaco enough to engage in a fist fight and police eventually had to get involved. After the incident was over, DeMonaco's wife turned to him and commented how great it would be to have one free murder a year. He felt bad admitting this because she's normally a "sweet woman".

James DeMonaco directed and wrote this beautiful masterpiece along with the rest of the film series. He has written other things and directed them, but alas I have seen none of any of his other already made movies nor any of his TV involvements. I can only hope he is setting his genius to something else soon (apart from the next Purge movie due out in 2018.)

My Ratings and Review.

Again I am among the minority who really enjoyed this particular film as well as the franchise. Some movie sites trashed the entire series. I didn’t feel it was generic, nor did I find that the idea was something I had seen many times before. I can't actually name other movies that set such an elaborate stage around this type of plot. I loved the masked anonymity of the characters and the way it gets used to hide the social economy of the people behind them.

At the time of viewing this movie, I really thought about the message behind the story and the further into the series of Purge movies I went, I was more and more interested in the concept. Not agreeing with it, however, I could see a familiar ugliness that gets mirrored in some parts of the world.

After seeing other movies in this series I can see commonalities between this fiction and real-life. In fact in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte allows citizens to kill drug dealers without reprise. Hundreds of people were gunned down without trial or explanation or the ability to apply a defense.

The release date for The Purge: The Island's confirmed for 4th July 2018 and it will focus on the how the premise came about. When people could travel to pay to take part. It sounds like the film will be great.

I give 'The Purge' 4 steel re-enforced security doors out of 5.

The Purge - Trailer


'Panic Room' (2002)

What’s it About?

Meg and Sarah live in a massive house, far too massive for a woman who is a divorced and only has one kid. The house is so fancy, it includes a state of the art safe-like room, called a panic room.

Occupants living in the house can lock themselves into the panic room and should anyone break in, they can't get you. Inside the room are a million cameras so that once you are in there, you can see anyone in the house. The previous owner of the house was an old millionaire who left some lovely money in the safe accidentally and of course, the safe is in the panic room.

Burglars come and know there is money stashed in the house. It’s an inside job, and the burglars are known to the old millionaire but don’t know that Meg and Sarah have moved in early.

Burglars meet Sarah and Meg. Meg and Sarah, meet burglars. Will they get along?

Notable Cast Members

  • Kristen Stewart plays 11-year-old Sarah. So she is a little baby, Kristen Stewart before she became the Vampire we know her as today.
  • Jodie Foster plays Meg – you may know her from Silence of the Lambs where she is famously known as Clarice.

My personal love and someone I have pined over for many years, Jared Leto is burglar Junior. He is also in some pretty great movies like Urban Legend (1998,) Requiem for a Dream (2000,) Mr. Nobody (2009) ... Oh, maybe I should stop there as I am terribly biased and will just list them all.

Director and Screenplay

The director is David Fincher. He worked on lots of popular things like Fight Club (1999,) Alien 3 (1992,) Return of the Jedi (1983) and Zodiac (2007) plus music videos for Madonna, Michael Jackson, A Perfect Circle, Billy Idol and a million other famous people. He can hold his own, this guy.

The writer is David Koepp and he has written some stellar things too; Jurassic Park (1993 & 1997) and War of the Worlds (2005.) He has done tonnes of other work but not many I rank on my watch lists. He played the ‘unlucky bastard’ in The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

My Rating and Review

While researching this film I noticed this movie had won an award and guess what it was for? Panic Room won the Golden Trailer Awards for having the best Horror/Thriller film trailer. It beat Signs, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Jurassic Park III and No Such Thing. It also has a pretty good smashed hand scene, a good old sledgehammer to the leg, a few shots fired and needle jabs. This movie's rated R for violence and swears, plus my heart beat was definitely raised on many occasions so I consider this in the horror genre with a thriller edge.

This is a great movie and has an awesome cast. The tension builds and steadies throughout which is something special. I secretly wish Jodie Foster had stayed in starring roles more in her career because I like her. She is occasionally in things but not enough.

I hated the ending to this movie. I also wish the writers had just killed a few more people and smashed a head in a garage door or something as I think this flick needed more action. It is still very popular for film lovers and is one of my favorites.

Fun fact: Jared Leto leads a rock band I have seen live every time they have toured through Australia called 30 Seconds to Mars and I have his autograph and I have touched his leg in the mosh pit. Totally has nothing to do with this review.

I give 'Panic Room' 3.5 diabetes needles out of 5.

Panic Room - Trailer


'The Collector' (2009) - Released in (2012)

What’s it About?

This was reportedly meant as a prequel to Saw but ended up as a standalone movie and then garnered a sequel which dives back into the Saw type gore that one would expect if they were watching any of the Saw movies series.

The Collector begins with Larry and his wife who doesn't get much screen time in the beginning due to being taken out by a masked intruder.

The story quickly flips to Arkin who is a handyman for the Chase family, however, Arkin discovers his wife is a bit of a squander-er of money and now owes a debt which of course is due at midnight. Because somehow the handyman saw the Chase family fortune which included a priceless ruby, he decides he will steal it from the people who pay him for the job he does and use their belongings to pay back the loan sharks.

From there it is a Saw inspired, rigged paradise of things attached to other things which turn the house into anti-escape death-trap prison. Who will survive?

Notable Cast Members

  • Josh Stewart (Arkin) raised an eyebrow for me because of his TV accreditation. He starred in my all-time favorite show The Walking Dead, in the webisode, Cold Storage. He also did Grimm and bits and pieces of other hit shows. He will be in the upcoming Insidious: Chapter 4 due for release in 2018.
  • Madeline Zima (Jill) also has a nice looking TV list. Her star is in roles within Californication (2007 - 2012) Twin Peaks (2017), Grimm (2015) and The Vampire Diaries.
  • Daniella Alonso (Lisa) has crept up on us in a tidy set of horror features like The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007) Wrong Turn 2 (2007), Hood of Horror (2006) and TV series iZombie (2016.)

Director and Screenplay.

The director Marcus Dunstan wrote this with Patrick Melton.

Marcus Dunstan only writes horror and is responsible for laying out Saw IV through VI, Piranha, the Feast movies and the 2016 flick The Neighbor. Most of those he co-wrote with Patrick and together the two have made quite the list of horror themed offerings.

My Ratings and Review.

Okay, okay. They call this torture porn and it definitely is. Low on plot, big on thrill kills. I have seen many films like this, but I must say the Saw movies at some point (perhaps around number 4) got too much for me. This one also has moments where I put my hand up to cover the screen and I even blocked my ears if I needed to see what’s going on and couldn't handle the sound effects that go with the buckets of blood.

Fans of Hostel and Saw will notice the difference between the two franchises and see that in the Saw franchise, Jigsaw wants to give you the opportunity to save yourself and like Hostel, The Collector wants no such thing. Not all movies of this type are the same and if this is what you like, then you will find this appealing.

The sequel, however, will receive no love from me. There is none of the same excitement or thought put into it and I very much disliked it.

I give 'The Collector' 3 golf clubs out of 5.


The Collector - Trailer

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''Black X-Mas' (2006)

What’s it About?

Billy gets warped from a young age and after escaping from a prison set by his mother in his own house and creating a very messy mess, he's sent to the loony-bin until he is 35. Again requiring and succeeding at escape he gets free from his cell by fooling the guard. What a slippery psycho!

He makes his way back home, now a sorority house, and wreaks havoc on its inhabitants.

Notable Cast Members.

A lot of the cast have been in one of the Final Destination movies as well as plenty of other well-known and highly rated film and TV. I was at a loss to find many (even among small parts) that were completely unknown actors. The cast reads like a who’s who of scary movies.

I will, however, do a shout out to Andrea Martin who played Barbara because she has done a few voice overs for kid’s cartoons which I found highly amusing with how disturbing this movie is. Cartoons like Rug Rats and SpongeBob Square Pants. She also appeared in the comedy TV series Modern Family in an episode called White Christmas in 2005. I wonder if they did that on purpose?

Director and Screenplay

The director Glen Morgan did two of my much-loved square screen events which were The X-Files and any of the Final Destination movies.

My Ratings and Review.

Interestingly this movie released on Christmas Day in 2006 in the US, despite religious groups and some critics protesting that the movie itself, set at Christmas, was in poor taste.

The original 1974 film has since become a cult classic and even though they aren’t exactly the same they are pretty similar. Of course some favor one version over the other.

I like modern takes on old hits sometimes and this was not one of those times. Both are similar to the plot line of the Scream series in that the killer makes phone calls to its intended victims and that the scenes are set within a student population.

I will say this of the remake, the story includes extra details about Billy. The opening scenes are disturbing in content and I sometimes wanted to go back and un-see some of it. When I look at movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, they too try and narrate a back story for the bad guy. I wonder sometimes why they don’t go another and more intelligent route given that nature vs nurture is such as complex and diverse theory, and would make for a less gross story. They mostly seem to want to create their monsters from monsters who were then in some way abused.

If you want a Scream like horror, watch the original Black Christmas but if you want a similar story to Scream with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre feel and sub plot then watch this 2006 version. I’m a little torn on whether I liked the remake due to the opening sequence, but overall it was an exciting movie with an understandable killer.

Side note: Since writing this review in August 2017, and noting my desire for a more thought out killer, Leatherface was released September 2017. No wonder I liked it, it features exactly the type of back-story I wanted.

I give 'Black Christmas' 3.5 hate filled mothers out of 5.

Black X-Mas - Trailer

Black Christmas - Theatrical Trailer


'Knock Knock' (2015)

What’s it About?

Evan's married and has a hot wife and adorable kids.

Evan has a sore shoulder so he stays at home with his dog Monkey while his family go on a trip without him to the beach for a few days.

It's raining and Genesis and Bel knock on his door. They are wet and innocently trying to get to a party but have no phone, in fact they don' even have a number for the party's host. Luckily, they have a rough idea of where the party is. Evan invites them in so they can jump on his computer to try to find the party they need get to. Eventually, they try to jump on him too.

Will his wife find out he has had strange girls in the house? Will they ever get to the party?

Notable Cast Members

Keanu Reeves is Keanu Reeves and we don’t need to explain him do we?

All three, Ana de Armas, Lorenza Izzo, and Arron Burns were in The Green Inferno (2013) and The Stranger (2014.)

Director and Screenplay

Directed, written and produced by Eli Roth. If you don’t know who he is, hang your head in shame.

He did have some help with the screen play working with Guillermo Amoedo and Nicolas Lopez. The three have worked on other notable things together such as Aftershock (2013), The Green Inferno (2013) and of course this movie.

My Ratings and Review

I’m for once agreeing with the masses. This film gets beat up on in reviews and I almost stopped watching this movie a few times. My will to see even crappy films to the end precedes my common sense sometimes and I wanted to see if this redeemed itself. If a movie starts and is disappointing, there is usually no chance of it taking an upward turn, like in this instance.

Poor Keanu Reeves does a good job trying to uphold the lousy plot. I was immensely torn between believing that men could be so vain as to fall for a ploy like this and then being really angry that he could’ve put a stop to it and not have been a jerk-face from the get-go. If one hot guy (who I could take in a fight, for argument's sake) knocked on my door wanting to use my computer, I would direct them somewhere that could help them. Perhaps if the girls had wanted something more dire than to get to a party, I may have found more forgiveness for the decision he made.

The ending left me shaking my head too and it didn’t help that the two girls were so annoying I wanted to gag. No offense to them, they were just working what they got handed.

I give 'Knock Knock' 1 stupid man out of 5.

Knock, Knock - Trailer


© 2017 Mother of Movies and Series Reviews


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    • NessMovieReviews profile image

      Mother of Movies and Series Reviews 7 months ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      @Violet. I've seen Flight plan, a while ago now but it was pretty good.

      Thanks for your comments.

    • Violets3 profile image

      Violet 7 months ago from California

      I loved Panic Room!!!!!!!!! An old favorite! You should check out flight plan with Jodie. I loved that film too...highly recommend.

      Collector and purge are on my list...for when I'm less busy....eeek.

    • NessMovieReviews profile image

      Mother of Movies and Series Reviews 7 months ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      Hahaha, that's hillarious.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 7 months ago from Louisiana, USA

      No I have met him. My friends band Meriwether opened up for them. I just got to go backstage and meet him and his brother. I wish I had opened up for him. I met Elijah Wood too in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I told him I have never seen Lord of the Rings but I loved the Good Son. And he wanted to wear my sombrero.

      That's awesome you got his autograph. I just kept trying to order drinks on Wood's tab.

    • NessMovieReviews profile image

      Mother of Movies and Series Reviews 7 months ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      Hey Ryan my newest best buddy! So you opened for Jared Leto! You re actually the second person I've talked to online that has worked alongside him. Must be some cool circle you travel among. When I got his autograph, it was impromptu after his first Aussie gig and, standing in front of him, no words came out of my mouth. The queue to obtain said squiggle ended up around the block, but I got there super fast. I love his music.

      As for the movies, you are not alone on The Purge as the ratings show, my view is a minority. My 3 hubs on home invasion horror, I'm pretty sure, covers the lot so I can move to something else...

      Loving HP, I've always written in my spare time, it's such an enjoyable passtime. I even have a whole book of poetry stowed away. Maybe I'll publish some.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 7 months ago from Louisiana, USA

      Panic Room was a great film. I actually got the chance to meet Jared Letto when my friends band opened up for 30 Seconds to Mars. Really nice guy and laid back. I though the Purge could have been a lot better. It let me down. I have not seen the others on the list. Great article.