Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Freaky Home Invasion Movies That Will Give You The Chills

When it comes to terrifying thoughts, nothing sends chills up a person's spine quite like the idea that someone is inside their home uninvited. While many pieces of horror filmmaking focus on paranormal activity such as ghosts, demons, and monsters, there is something viscerally petrifying about someone breaking into your safe space to get you. That's exactly what these movies aim to make you feel.

Home invasions have been featured in movies for as long as movies have existed, with many classic flicks focusing on the idea of someone forcing themselves into private property for a variety of reasons. "Suddenly," from 1954, is about an assassin (Frank Sinatra) who invades a family's home as a staging ground to kill the President of the United States. Another iconic example of cinema showcasing a particularly disturbing home invasion is Stanley Kubrick's 1971 dystopia "A Clockwork Orange" where a futuristic gang of criminals break into people's homes to cause mayhem. 

The idea of a psychotic intruder breaking into your private space is bad enough, but it's even worse when they don't immediately reveal themselves. Many of the freakiest home invasion movies are slow burns which bait out the torment of having someone hiding within a house without the victim knowing. Because of this, these movies drive audiences to the edge of their seats and lock their doors as soon as they get home. Read on to discover all the freaky home invasion movies that will give you the chills.


After breaking out with 2017's "Get Out," Jordan Peele became the next big name in horror filmmaking. His follow-up flick followed in the footsteps of "Get Out" by combining sci-fi terror with complex metaphorical themes, but this time through a home invasion thriller. "Us" is centered around the Wilson family who, after going on vacation to an isolated lake house, are suddenly attacked by people who look exactly like them. "Us" stars Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker as both their normal selves and their evil look-alikes.

The mystery surrounding these doppelgangers slowly gets revealed as the Wilsons are attacked in their home, escape to a neighbor's house, and eventually uncover the massive conspiracy behind their evil clones. Watching these nearly feral reflections of the main characters slowly hunt them within their house is terrifying to watch (and chilling to imagine happening with your own doppelganger).

The Purge

These days, "The Purge" is known as a massive franchise of movies and shows focusing on a nightmarish future where for one night every year, all crime is legal (including murder). There are currently five "The Purge" movies as well as a USA Network series that ran for two seasons. While the majority of these movies focus on characters running and gunning their way through the chaotic streets of America, the movie that started it all was smaller in scope.

"The Purge" was directed by James DeMonaco and stars Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, and Adelaide Kane as members of the Sandin family, upper-crust members of society who live in an isolated gated community. Due to a shift in American politics, the government has created an annual "Purge" event where all crime is legal. Despite how seemingly prepared the Sandin family is with their high-security house, a group of masked purgers attempts to invade their home after their son lets in a total stranger for safety. Although the premise is incredibly interesting, "The Purge" remains one of the freakiest entries in the franchise thanks to its home invasion focus.

The Strangers

One of the most iconic examples of modern home invasion horror is definitely Bryan Bertino's 2008 feature "The Strangers," which details a group of masked strangers who break into a family's remote woodland home for seemingly no reason. "The Strangers" was deeply inspired by real-life events, mainly the Manson Family murders and a traumatizing experience Bertino had as a child. 

Bertino explained, "As a kid, I lived in a house on a street in the middle of nowhere. One night, while our parents were out, somebody knocked on the front door and my little sister answered it ... We later found out that these people were knocking on doors in the area and, if no one was home, breaking into the houses." That's exactly why "The Strangers" was so effective in its horrifying portrayal of a home invasion which has become a cult classic of the genre, spawning a sequel and various spinoffs. The film was even referenced in another cult classic of modern horror, "The Cabin in the Woods," since one of the many monsters unleashed on the facility looks identical to the masked murderers.


Thanks in no small part to the recent success of director Mike Flanagan with hit projects like "The Haunting of Hill House" and "Midnight Mass," his 2016 horror film "Hush" has been more frequently discussed as an example entry into the home invasion genre. This story is focused on the experience of horror writer Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) who also happens to be both deaf and mute. Her world is turned upside down after she becomes the target of a homicidal masked killer who slowly torments her after discovering her disabilities.

"Hush" combines the usual scares of home invasion movies with the unique circumstances of the main character being deaf to the killer's sound and unable to call for help even if she wanted to. Yet, her strength as a protagonist allows Maddie to overcome the unimaginable situation and save herself from certain death. Because of the unique premise, "Hush" received significant praise at the time from audiences and colleagues alike. One notable person to comment on the movie was William Friedkin (director of "The Exorcist") who back in 2016 tweeted: "HUSH is a great horror film...on Netflix. Terrifying."

The Last House on the Left

A groundbreaking example of home invasion horror is the 1972 exploitation film, "The Last House on the Left." This movie was directed by legendary filmmaker Wes Craven who would go on to become a household name thanks to his creation of the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream" franchises, but "The Last House on the Left" was his directorial debut. The film mixes a variety of elements but mainly focuses on two parents who systematically kill a group of home invaders who committed unspeakable acts upon their daughter, Mari.

Undeniably controversial at the time for its subject matter and brutal violence, "The Last House on the Left" has continued to earn a reputation as a problematic cult movie that doesn't shy away from unimaginable horror. Ultimately, this film has become an inextricable part of the genre which influenced many of the revenge, slasher, and home invasion horror movies that would come later on. "The Last House on the Left" was even remade in 2009 with a mostly unknown cast aside from the appearance of "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul. 

The Collector

In a way, "The Collector" is a home invasion movie within a home invasion movie. This 2009 film directed by Marcus Dunstan stars Josh Stewart as a burglar who enters a home that is already being invaded by an even more dangerous serial killer called "The Collector." 

Having the main character himself be an intruder into an innocent family's home, who is then threatened by someone with much darker intentions adds a unique layer to this otherwise textbook home invasion narrative. "The Collector" combines the thrilling terror of the genre with the type of trap-based body horror that had become popularized by films like "Saw" and "Hostel," as the eponymous Collector sets traps around the house to kill its inhabitants. Although "The Collector" didn't do particularly well with critics since the film has only 28% on Rotten Tomatoes, it still provides plenty of spine-chilling moments and freaky moments that'll have triple checking your locked doors.

When a Stranger Calls

Another precursor entry into the home invasion horror genre is 1979's "When a Stranger Calls," which is itself based on a freaky urban legend that had been told around campfires for decades prior called "The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs". In the film, babysitter Jill (Carol Kane) receives a series of bizarre calls from a stranger asking her to check on the children she's watching. Eventually, after calling the police, she learns the calls were coming from inside the house and this stranger had already killed the children inside.

Many variations of this story have been told before, but Fred Walton's "When a Stranger Calls" goes beyond just retelling the original story by adding multiple new layers by setting the majority of the story seven years after the original event. When the killer (played by Tony Beckley) escapes from prison, he once again tracks down the babysitter who escaped her that now has a family of her own. "When a Stranger Calls" is a terrifying example of home invasion horror that both starts and ends with heart-pounding portrayals of someone calling from inside the house. This was yet another freaky horror flick that got a less-than-stellar remake in the 2000s with Simon West's "When a Stranger Calls".

The Invisible Man

Shifting away from the typical premise of home invasion movies involving masked serial killers, 2020's "The Invisible Man" re-imagines a classic piece of science fiction into a terrifying scenario of a woman being stalked by her unseen ex-boyfriend. "The Invisible Man" was directed by Leigh Whannell and stars Elisabeth Moss as a woman who, after escaping the clutches of her abusive partner, realizes she's being hunted by him as he uses the invisibility technology he created.

This version of "The Invisible Man" is a creative re-imagining of the original story by H.G. Wells which details the scientific and moral degradation of a man named Griffin as he turns himself invisible (and abuses that power in the process). By placing the focus of this story on Moss' character, it showcases just how devious the power of invisibility could be in the hands of a toxic and possessive man. Much of the movie follows the subtle, chilling ways that the Invisible Man tortures Moss' character within her own home without her ever knowing he's there. What starts off similar to a movie about paranormal activity turns into a violent struggle for survival as the Invisible Man reveals his true intentions.

You're Next

Another movie that took inspiration from previous films in the genre to do something unique is Adam Wingard's 2011 slasher flick "You're Next." While it may seem familiar since it features creepy people in strange masks invading someone's home, it injects the entire experience with a sense of tongue-in-cheek humor which is a relief considering all the on-screen violence. "You're Next" follows Erin (Sharni Vinson) and her boyfriend Crispin (AJ Bowen) as they visit his family in an isolated vacation spot in Missouri, and things go downhill from there.

You've probably guessed by now that they're next on the list of people to get killed by the creepy killers wearing lamb masks who write "You're Next" in blood for their soon-to-be victims to find. During an interview with Indiewire, Wingard and writer Simon Barrett discussed what appealed to them about the genre and how they sought to do something different. He said, "I think we were reacting to a lot of the fact that the home invasion movies by and large end up with people tied up to chairs, being tortured and that's the kind of whole point about it. And I think people have seen that ... I think people are tired of being punished by violence and so forth." "You're Next" offers a slightly more comedic take on the home invasion film, but it is still incredibly chilling.

Cape Fear

Even the most prestigious of filmmakers occasionally try their hands at bloody home invasion horror, which is where legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese comes in with his 1991 film "Cape Fear." Scorsese's film stars Robert De Niro as Max Cady, a deranged convict who decides to stalk (and eventually kill) the family of his former lawyer who didn't adequately defend him in court. Scorsese's "Cape Fear" is actually a remake of a 1962 film of the same name but takes the story in plenty of new directions.

"Cape Fear" has become an iconic part of popular culture thanks to scenes like the moment when Max is seen holding on to the bottom of Sam Bowden's (Nick Nolte) car as they drive away. The climax of the film, however, is pure home invasion terror which involves Max invading both their family home as well as a houseboat on the Cape Fear River. "Cape Fear" has gone down as one of Martin Scorsese's most intensely terrifying films which has gained notoriety for De Niro's chilling performance. Film critic Roger Ebert at the time gave the film three out of four stars while commenting on its chilling effect. Ebert explained, "'Cape Fear' is impressive moviemaking, showing Scorsese as a master of a traditional Hollywood genre who is able to mold it to his own themes and obsessions."

High Tension

One of the only non-American films on this list is Alexandre Aja's 2003 slasher "High Tension," a French film which follows the struggle of two students as their isolated farmhouse is invaded by a sadistic serial killer. "High Tension" stars Cécile de France as Marie and Maïwenn as Alex, two best friends who just wanted to enjoy a relaxing weekend away at one of their parent's homes in remote and rural France. Of course, since this is a seriously freaky movie, that's not what ends up happening. Soon, they are hunted down by a fiendish man known only as The Killer (Philippe Nahon).

"High Tension" has become deeply associated with the "New French Extremity" movement of filmmaking which tends to push the limits of sexuality, gore, violence, and taste. FilmLifestyle described the movement as relatively flexible as long as they are, "extremely graphic and/or nihilistic in tone." Regardless of cinematic classification, this film is a an excellent example of home invasion horror that doesn't shy away from being as disgustingly violent as possible to scare audiences. It's not an easy watch, but this gruesome horror is definitely worth it.

Knock Knock

Eli Roth has become known for his sleazy, hyper-violent, and controversial style of filmmaking with previous hits like "Camp Fever" and "Hostel" as well as his iconic appearance as The Bear Jew in Quinten Tarantino's revisionist epic "Inglourious Basterds." One of his more recent projects was 2015's "Knock Knock," a star-studded home invasion movie with a seductive twist of the format.

"Knock Knock" stars Keanu Reeves as a loving husband and father who is left home alone to nurse an injury when two strange women knock on the door to ask for his help. Once he lets them in, it becomes clear they're there to seduce him for some reason. The film quickly turns to psychological horror as they break back into his home, capture him, and torture him as part of some sick game they play. These two girls, played by Ana De Armas and Lorenza Izzo, don't seem like the typical slasher movie killers but that's exactly why their abuse of Reeve's character is so effective. David Gelmini for Dread Central put it best by describing "Knock Knock" as "a home invasion film for the social media generation."