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Horror Movies: Home Intruder Style

Updated on August 14, 2017
NessMovieReviews profile image

Vanessa is a movie buff. She has seen mountains of movies preferring horror, disaster or apocalyptically themed plotlines.

The house from the smash hit Scream. This is the house where the final scene was filmed and where most of the events take place.
The house from the smash hit Scream. This is the house where the final scene was filmed and where most of the events take place. | Source

Why are Horror Movies About Stalkers So Darn Scary?

The home is the sanctuary. I think this is why movies where people get attacked in places they feel safe are the most shocking to the soul and create such difference in opinion. When I watch movies that include the home as where the antagonist decides to lay their hat, I automatically forgive some of the poor decisions made by those in the cross-hairs.... because who isn’t a little more relaxed when they are at home?

Sometimes writers place killers inside the house or watching from a very close distance. Some killers even use technology or strength in numbers to stalk their victims before wreaking havoc on their lives. Here is a list of movies that scared the living daylights out of me and happened in places where the victims were at home.

Home sweet home is not so sweet anymore for these characters.

Hangman  - A lesser known movie where the killer is so close by, it's creepy.
Hangman - A lesser known movie where the killer is so close by, it's creepy. | Source

Hangman (2015) Released in March 2016

What's it About?

Under the canvass of the found footage theme, this film is creepy. Right away it dives in with a stalker pretending that he's a burglar to install cameras in a home while a young family are away on holiday.

Upon returning home the family discover a myriad of items left by him and their house turned upside-down as he watches from his cameras. They change the locks and go about their lives while strange things start to happen within their once peaceful home. What does he want and why has he targeted this particular family?


Notable Cast Members

Jeremy Sisto was in Clueless (1995) and Wrong Turn (2003) and had TV roles in Dawson’s Creek and Law and Order SVU.

Kate Ashfield was in my favourite movie of all time Closer (1998) among many other roles.

Ty Simkins was in Insidious 1 and 2 (2011 and 2013,) Jurassic World (2015) and Iron Man 3 (2013.)

Amy Smart was in The Butterfly Effect (2004,) Crank (2006) and had a role in Scrubs Series (2009.)


Director and Screenplay

Adam Mason wrote and directed this along-side Simon Boyes – these two before did mostly music videos.


Ratings

IMDb gave this 4.7/10 and the online reviews smashed the heck out of it. It was often hated with such vigour, I thought I might be wrong liking it.

Rotten Tomatoes audiences hated it more with a 32% approval rating however one critic Joel Harley from Starburst said this;

“This one will leave you terrified of your own home, jumping at every creak of the floorboard or bump in the night. And God help you if you happen to live in a house with an attic.”

A few others of the professional critic realm felt the same and I felt better about my original thoughts.


My Rating and Review

There is substance to the negativity, don’t get me wrong. There are scenes in Hangman that are ridiculous. Without spoiling anything – I can say that there is a moment where the villain is in the room, while the parents are hosting a party and there is no way on earth that he would remain unseen however - this movie was still good.

The cast all previously starred in things I watched and loved and so I would go as far as to say this is an underrated must-watch. Perhaps it’s not original in concept or big on jump scares or in a niche area like Paranormal Activity but you know what? It was still tense and gross and left me thinking about getting a guard dog.

Trailer for the movie Hangman

I give Hangman

3 stolen lipsticks out of 5 

— Vanessa Stewart

For kicks I have added a short film written by Adam Mason (Prey 2003)

Rules to successfully survive a horror movie:

** You may not survive the movie if you have sex.

** You may not survive the movie if you drink or do drugs.

** You may not survive the movie if you say "I'll be right back", "Hello?" or "Who's there?"

Source

Scream (1996)

What's it About?

Anyone who is anyone and says they are a horror fan will have seen Scream and most of the sequels (if not all) but by chance if you have not here goes.

It all begins with a high school student called Casey (played by Drew Barrymore) receives a phone call asking;

“what’s your favourite scary movie?”

The voice on the end of the line seems to jokingly be trying to have some fun with her. Very soon Casey realises that the caller is not having fun and instead begins to frighten her, when the questions he asks are not answered as readily as he would like. The voice on the end of the line tells Casey that he has her boyfriend and to keep him alive she needs to be cooperative.

The story begins after this opening sequence, in a small town called Woodsboro. A killer in a mask is stalking a fair chunk of the student population. Most of the murders in this movie happen in or around respective accommodations, so I felt it needed to be on this list. Like most movies of this type, this has a great twist.


Notable Cast Members

I would describe the original cast as stellar and if you don’t know most of these actors, you just might be living under a rock. I shouldn’t need to mention what they have been in.

  • David Arquette
  • Neve Campbell
  • Courteney Cox
  • Matthew Lillard
  • Rose McGowan
  • Skeet Ulrich
  • Drew Barrymore


Director and Screenplay

Written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven.

Kevin Williamson is a legend – among some of the things this guy has spat out – are screenplays for all 4 Scream movies as well as creating TV hits; Dawson’s Creek, The Following, Stalker and the movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997.)

Wes Craven’s best known for A Nightmare on Elm Street movie franchise and of course a plethora of books and even a comic called 30 Days of Night (2014.)


Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes 78% thumbs up and IMDb's 7.2/10 describe the great value in this movie.

I actually found a few reviews that spurned this movie for its violence however it is Rated R and described as horror so if someone goes into it wanting bunnies and butterflies – they are in the wrong seat.


My Rating and Review

I have watched all four of these movies over and over. Why? Because I love them. I totally get off on the comedic interpretation of this set of horror movies and the way they poke fun at all the ‘rules’ of horror. The character's openly point out that people in horror movies are inherently idiotic while being totally blind to being the cause of their own deaths by ignoring said rules.

Having the cast be ‘self-aware’ of watching and going to movies that actually exist is a wonderful way to garner a connection with the audience. I could seriously go on and on about this movie.

A TV series was generated in 2015 of the same name and I am waiting patiently for the next season. It is much the same as the movies in premise, only in a different town and with different people.

Oh and if you also like these types of movies where the characters point things out for the audience - try The Cabin in the Woods (2011.)

Haven't seen Scream? - you can watch the whole movie on YouTube...but for now here's the trailer

 I give Scream

 

4.5 Halloween movie parody’s out of 5

— Vanessa Stewart
The cast of Scream
The cast of Scream | Source
Source

Hush (2016)

What's it About?

Maddie lost her hearing when she was young and decides that main stream living is not for her. She lives in a remote location all by herself. She does have a neighbour nearby that she is friends with and a man friend who comes by from time to time.

A mysterious masked man appears and figures out quickly that Maddie is deaf. He sneaks about in and around her house like a stealthy mouse. After picking up her phone from her kitchen bench, he starts taking photos, then sends them to her while she is busy on her laptop.

What does he want? Is he still inside her house? How will she stop him from killing her?


Notable Cast Members

Michael Trucco is John, best known for his role in Revenge (series 2011,) stars along-side John Gallagher Jr (10 Cloverfield Lane) as the masked man.

Kate Siegel has not been in a lot worth mentioning here, she plays Maddie however Kate wrote the screenplay for this movie with Michael Flanagan.

Samantha Sloyan, who plays Sarah has been in things such as Grey’s Anatomy (series 2005,) Criminal Minds (series 2005) and Scandal (series 2012.)


Director and Screenplay

Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel wrote this together and Mike directed it.

Mike has also written the likes of Oculus: Chapter 3 (2006), Before I Wake (2016), Absentia (2011) and an upcoming web series called The Haunting of Hill House (2018.)


Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes gave this a whopping 94% and IMDb were, as usual, polarised with a more modest 6.6/10 however, that's still a high score from that site.

Most reviewers decided this movie could do no wrongs other than some critics objecting to the swearing, which I find amusing. I think these critics don’t like horror much as they also didn’t like the gore level.

Positive reviews commented on the films ability to create tension and that the story itself was terrifying.


My Rating and Review

This is one of those movies that we never find out just why a killer rocks up to an isolated house with a massive bag of weapons including a cross-bow to freak out a woman living on her own.

Does he want to rob her? Is he just a lunatic? Did he initially come to borrow a cup of sugar and then just decide – oh this might be a fun way to pass the time? We will never know however I was not as enthused as the massive pile of Hush lovers.

Some of reactions and decisions made by the protagonist and her allies annoyed the living bleep out of me. In the last scenes, I actually just wanted someone to die and I didn’t much mind who.

It was still enjoyable, I did love the point of difference having her unable to hear and I would still recommend it however I could crush this movie if I decided to do a full length review on it.

Trailer - Hush

I give Hush

2.5 hard to load crossbows out of 5

— Vanessa Stewart
Why hello there, did you happen to lose your phone?
Why hello there, did you happen to lose your phone? | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
The 2006 poster for the movie When a Stranger CallsThe 1979 poster for the original movie When a Stranger Calls
The 2006 poster for the movie When a Stranger Calls
The 2006 poster for the movie When a Stranger Calls | Source
The 1979 poster for the original movie When a Stranger Calls
The 1979 poster for the original movie When a Stranger Calls | Source

When a Stranger Calls (2006)

What's it About?

The first scene shows police are investigating the brutal murder of a babysitter and the children that were being looked after, then the scene expands to include a teenager called Jill who is doled out a punishment of babysitting for a wealthy family to pay back a debt she accrued from her cell phone use.

She does the gig and soon after receives a call from someone who does not identify themselves and the caller suggests she is being watched. The calls become more and more serious and with the help of police, Jill tries to find out who this person is and what they want from her.

With the most famous quote to bring a chill to the hairs on your arms:

“Have you checked the children lately?”


Notable Cast Members

The cast in this movie all have lengthy filmography and TV roles behind them so the acting is good. The only person I am going to mention though, is the voice on the phone because its interesting – the voice, played by Lance Henriksen who starred in tonnes of stuff – some worth mentioning are – Alien 3 (1992), House III (1989), Piranha II (1981), Scream 3 (2000), Alien vs Predator (2004), Deadwater (2008), Stung (2015) and a tonne of other things like video games and TV series.


Director and Screenplay

Simon West directed a few of the best known movies ever such as Night of the Living Dead: Darkest Dawn (2015) and Con Air (1997) and will be doing an upcoming remake of The Blob (2019.) Simon has also done some directing in the past as well.

Jake Hall was the screenplay writer, not of the original 1979 Stranger Calls though. Jake Hall is another genius who has before served me well with a favourite movie The Hitcher (2007) and he penned the movie Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero (2014.)


Ratings

This movie crashed and burned in the ratings. Rotten Tomatoes has it sitting at 9% and IMDb with a more modest 5/10. I think most critics were either fans of the original movie and just couldn’t see past that or were so insulted that this movie was remade and not better than the original that they didn’t want to know about it. Most seemed to want a new twist on the old film to have it generate some redemption but I think when writers do that, they usually end up copping more flack.

Some critics though found that the direction taken with this film respected the old premise and some really did like the modern update using a mobile phone and having the number or lack thereof displayed to add some drama.


My Rating and Review

This is the type of movie you could introduce to someone who isn’t a fan of horror but can handle a scare or two. It has a PG rating. It isn’t filled with blood spatter and heads being smashed by garage doors and there is only the atmospheric build up and tension created by the unseen villain against a young teenager to make you feel uneasy.

Yes the original was great, but not everyone likes old movies, no matter how great they are and not everyone is going to go out of their way to watch the original film just because old people call it a classic (me being one of the old people.)

I love horror but I am severely lacking in having watched films older than I am (this is not one of them.) Being that this is a remake with no added value in this case, it may seem like a ridiculous notion to some to even bother. Sometimes you shouldn’t fiddle with something that isn’t broken in the first place.

This film is not one I rave about but it is something you could watch instead of, say um... The Notebook (sorry, not sorry), if you don't feel like crying into a box of tissues. The plot line is still pretty cool and intense.

The premise of the original movie of the same name was made in 1979. Both this movie and another version called The Sitter (1977) is based on first 20 minutes of the original film which was deemed so terrifying that it was made it into a movie.

Which is more scary?

See results

The first 25 minutes of the original movie When a Stranger Calls

I give the modernised version of When a Stranger Calls

 

3 pet cats out of 5

— Vanessa Stewart
Source

Inside (2007) French Movie with English Subtitles

What's it About?

A pregnant woman’s husband dies so of course some warped human being decides to knock on her door asking to use her phone to gain entry to her home.

It’s Christmas Eve and Sarah's baby is due the following day. She lies and says that her husband is sleeping and letting her in will wake him but somehow the woman knows her husband is dead.

The woman somehow knows a lot of things about Sarah. Who is she and why she after her baby? How far will she go to get it?


Notable Cast Members

Because this movie is French, I didn’t research into whether the two main characters were particularly fancy or were famous in France. The have each starred in many movies though.


Director and Screenplay

It's the first feature film both the writer and director Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo made. I can tell you they met through a mutual friend and decided that having a female killer would be an interesting twist on a tried and tested plot line. Hollywood wants to remake the film but so far the lead actresses have both said no and Hollywood have had trouble obtaining the rights.


Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes is in love with this film. The critics have decided that the brutality and consistent tension is ok in this instance and given it 83% thumbs up as well as high user ratings with 75%. IMDb also thought it was pretty good with 6.8/10. Perhaps French audiences are a lot tougher than the rest of us.

The critics that did slam this movie, as usual were offended by the gore and bloodshed.


My Rating and Review

The music bugged me in this movie – yes that is where I am going to start. Maybe it stood out more because reading the subtitles makes the voices less noticeable but none the less – it annoyed me.

The script itself was quite basic (to add drama and tension) so then it became about the scenes themselves which I suppose is a good thing and a bad thing. Some of the stuff that happens in this movie with regards to the plotlines is just ridiculous.

All in all, it was ok, I liked the ending and I found it a neat way to tie up the story, but from what I read in reviews on various publications and sites, you would think this movie was one of the most brilliant things to have ever been released. It’s not.

One thing I really liked, that I felt was a point of difference to other horror movies was that Sarah immediately calls the cops – even if this exercise ends up being mainly void at the end of the day.

I also liked that when either Sarah or the antagonist was injured they didn’t bounce back like nothing had happened and instead needed a minute to tend to wounds or whimper in a corner before launching back in.

Be warned - it is pretty heavy to watch. Definitely don't watch it if you have small children.

Source

I give Inside

2 pairs of bloody scissors out of 5.

— Vanessa Stewart

Inside - Trailer

Source

Dont Hang Up (2017)

What's it About?

Pranksters Sam and Brady plus a bunch of his friends like to make videos where they call people up and tell them they have a terminal illness or their significant other has died or there has been a terrible car crash and someone they know has been hurt.

One evening while they are happily reminiscing about all the fun times they have had, they receive a call of their own. The caller says his name is Mr Lee. Mr Lee is not a fan. Mr Lee doesn't think they are funny and more importantly Mr Lee seems to be watching them. Where is he and what does he want?


Notable Cast Members

While all the actors in this movie had solid acting credits, the one that stood out was Chris Wilson who wasn't really in the movie for very long - he was a police officer at the end. His filmography is so lengthy, making a list of it would take up a whole page. I wanted to mention him though, because the man has been in everything from comedy series like Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em (2016) to high profile movies like The Dark Knight (2008) mostly as uncredited fixtures. I think I'll look out for him in the background of things from now on.


Director and Screenplay

Alexis Wajsbrot and Damien Mace directed this after applying most of their genius on special FX. Joe Johnson the screenplay writer seems to have been on desk duty or on holiday or maybe has a normal job the rest of the week, as he isn't noted for anything for over 12 years.


Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes pegs this at 3.3/10 and a miserly 2.8% user reviews. IMDb ranks it vastly higher at 5.7/10. It was simply a case of a love it or hate it reaction.

Described as derivative and unimaginative by most, the negative reviews revolved around the fact most of the plot lines and content is borrowed from other movies and has no originality.


My Rating and Review

I didn't think much of this, Ill say it straight up. I found none of the characters likeable and was kind of rooting for the antagonist slightly. I would have much preferred a gang of killers hunt them over one solo killer with a grudge, given the two boys' pastime.

I found it a replication of the original Saw movie (without the torture porn and reputable story) and I disliked the ending so much, I nearly threw my popcorn at the TV. If I had seen these two characters in a Saw movie, I may have related a little more because they deserve to be tortured more than the guy in Saw.

For my full review of Don't Hang Up click on this link

I give Don't Hang Up

2.5 killer controlled lights out of 5

— Vanessa Stewart

Don't Hang Up - Trailer

The End

This was Vanessa the Popcorn Eaters list of movies to watch if you are into having your villain's loiter in and around your home.

For me it would be my worst nightmare - don't forget to lock all your doors tonight.

© 2017 Vanessa Stewart

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    • NessMovieReviews profile image
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      Vanessa Stewart 13 days ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      @Violet - Thanks for the comments. 89 days until Halloween. Its not much of a thing here in Australia but it is slowly taking off in some parts. I can at least count on one free to air TV station playing a few good horror flicks during the Halloween period.

    • NessMovieReviews profile image
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      Vanessa Stewart 13 days ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      @Ryan thanks for the comments, hopefully the publics dislike of Hangman gives me a warranty from blame if you hate it

    • Violets3 profile image

      Violet 13 days ago from California

      Great movie list. Some are on my to watch list - probably on Halloween to get into the creepy mood....and others, like scream (all of them), and when a stranger calls, I've seen and enjoyed a lot.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 13 days ago from Louisiana, USA

      Hush and the Strangers were great. And I have seen When a Stranger calls, both the old and the remake. I have not seen any of the others but Hangman looks interesting. I will have to check that one out.