Horror movies aim to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Whether it’d be through their ruthless killers, such as Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees, or supernatural happenings such as in The Conjuring franchise, horror movies always deliver a spooky, good time for fans. Nevertheless, there’s one horror subgenre that truly hits home with audiences: home invasion.
Home invasion horror movies depict the darkest parts of humanity through their sadistic villains, exemplifying the idea that these types of people actually exist in the world and that their brutality knows no limits. With a warning of spoilers ahead, here are 15 of the most brutal scenes in home invasion films.
15 Funny Games (2007) – Georgie’s Death
Warner Independent Pictures
Funny Games is a tough watch whether audiences are tuning into its original Austrian version or the American remake. What makes Funny Games so unsettling isn’t the gore or even the kills, but the mind games Paul and Peter put the Farber family through. As is the case with many home invasion horror films, the villains actually win in the end of the movie by killing off every family member.
The most unsettling moment in the film is by far Georgie’s death, who is shot mercilessly by Peter. For two parents to have to find the will to survive moments after seeing their only child killed is a living nightmare for audiences.
14 High Tension (2003) – Alex’s Assault
True to its title, High Tension takes audiences on a horrific thrill ride from beginning to end. Best friends Marie and Alex travel to the countryside to spend the weekend with Alex’s family. Little do the two women suspect the horror that’s about to come their way. When a trucker stops and knocks on Alex’s family door, her father proceeds to check who it is, only to be the first of many victims to come.
While the intruder slowly kills off each family member until only Marie and Alex remain–the most disturbing part of the film is Marie having to watch Alex be sexually assaulted by the intruder, with Marie unable to help out of fear of certain death. Of course, not all is as it seems once the film’s unexpected plot twist occurs during its final act.
13 The Strangers (2008) – James And Kristin’s Death
Another European home invasion remake on the list, The Strangers is arguably more terrifying than its original source work. What makes the film so unsettling is that the three intruders spend a majority of the film lurking inside James and Kristin’s residence without actually attacking them, reveling in the couple’s fear of what lurks in the shadows.
As panic sinks in, James does whatever he can to keep himself and Kristin safe, including accidentally shooting his friend dead when the man checks in on them. Unfortunately for James and Kristin, the intruders eventually decide to strike and stab them to death in a truly heartbreaking sequence. Kristin’s death is left to the audiences’ discretion, as she opens her eyes seconds before the film concludes.
12 The Purge (2013) – Mary Retaliates Against Grace
The concept of a real-life purge is absolutely terrifying, but there’s just something extra creepy about seeing it onscreen. Each The Purge sequel offers something new, whether it’s a social or political commentary or some emphasis on family unity through tough times. The first The Purge installment centers on the Sandin family as they try to survive the annual purge amidst a home invasion. Soon, they realize the attack is all an orchestration by their vengeful neighbors, seeking revenge for the faults they perceive the family has committed against them.
The Sandin family manages to turn the tide in their favor, holding their attackers captive until the purge comes to an end. Nevertheless, minutes before the purge ends, one of the attackers, Grace, tries to kill Mary. Reaching her breaking point, Mary violently retaliates by breaking the woman’s nose and smashing her face into the dining table. A brutal but effective way to get her point across.
11 You’re Next (2011) – Erin Vs. Felix – Blender to the Head
You’re Next is one of the rare instances in a home invasion movie where much of the terror is actually being done to the intruders themselves. When three masked assailants break into the Davison residence, they start killing off each family member, enjoying the horror they’re inflicting on them as they lurk from the shadows. Unbeknownst to them, one of their intended victims, Erin, is a survivalist trainee ready to fight back.
Erin creates elaborate traps for the three intruders, finishing them off in truly gruesome ways. But Erin’s biggest horror comes when she discovers that two of the Davison siblings were in on the murder plot, all for money. In the film’s most creative and bloody kill, Erin kills Felix by smashing a blender into his skull and then turning it on, obliterating Felix in front of his accomplice/girlfriend, Zee.
10 When a Stranger Calls (2006) – Jill Ripping Off Her Hair To Escape The Caller
Sony Pictures Releasing
When a Stranger Calls is both nerve-wracking and frustrating to sit through. While it’s understandable that Jill hesitates to take the calls with seriousness, she also makes several decisions that would have doomed any other character were they not the final girl. When the caller finally reveals himself, Jill manages to help the kids hide before she does too in the Mandrakis’ greenhouse.
While making a run to get back into the mansion, the caller grabs Jill, with Jill quickly thinking and slamming the door behind her shut and rendering her stuck. In the film’s most brutal moment, Jill rips off a considerable chunk of her hair to escape the clutches of the caller temporarily.
9 Black Christmas (1974) – Barb’s Unicorn Stabbing
Black Christmas has many inventive murders during Billy’s rampage, but the one that truly sticks with audiences is Barb’s. With no idea of what happened to Clare and the calls becoming more threatening in nature, Jess, Phyl, and Barb decide to stick together inside their sorority home, unbeknownst to them that Billy is stalking them from inside it.
As some carolers knock on the house to spread their Christmas spirit, Billy strikes Barb in her sleep. In one of the most disturbing and masterful montages in horror history, Billy strikes Barb to her death with a unicorn adornment as the loud melody from the carolers muffles her cries for help. Arguably the film’s most perturbing sequence.
8 Don’t Breathe (2016) – Money’s Death
Sony Pictures Releasing
Don’t Breathe is one of those films where audiences find themselves rooting for the villain at first, because the heroes are scumbags themselves. Upon discovering that Norman is a disabled army vet who received a considerable settlement from his daughter’s tragic demise, Money persuades Rocky and Alex to join him in a home invasion heist. On the night of the attack, the trio quickly make their way through the home, thinking Norman’s state will work in their favor.
They soon realize they’re mistaken when Norman rises from the shadows, striking down Money by using his own gun against him, shooting him in the chin and blowing out his brains while Rocky witnesses in horror. This first kill exemplifies just how merciless Norman is as a whole.
7 Hush (2016) – The Intruder Crushes Maddie’s Fingers
Hush is a tough watch, no matter how one goes about it. It takes a protagonist, Maddie, puts her in a desolate location, and strips her of one of her five senses. While most of the violence in Hush is committed against other characters, such as Sarah and John, Maddie eventually meets the intruder’s wrath when he crushes her fingers against a sliding door, only to allow her to retreat her severely injured hand to further relish in her pain. More than murder itself, the intruder is driven by Maddie’s fear and mental suffering.
6 US (2019) – Kitty Tyler’s Death
US has one of the most ingenious plot twists in a home invasion film, making audiences truly question who is the villain and who is the hero of the movie. Long before the big reveal, audiences meet The Tyler family, with matriarch Kitty Tyler being the center of attention at all times.
Given her former career endeavor as an actress, Kitty is an exuberant personality that wears her heart on her sleeve, making all sorts of sarcastic jokes towards her husband. To see Kitty have to watch her children and husband die as she bleeds out from her throat is devastating, making her death the turning point where the stakes were raised tenfold.
5 Sick (2022) – Pamela Is Killed
While the coronavirus pandemic has been referenced in several movies and TV shows, Sick is one of the few movies that actually utilizes it as a plot device. Friends Parker and Miri go to Parker’s family lake house to quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus. Soon, they start getting menacing text messages, becoming the prey in a home invasion.
After countless attacks, Parker is finally captured by the intruders, who reveal themselves to be the parents of a recently-deceased man who died of the Coronavirus after kissing Parker at a party. Believing Parker to be the one who passed the virus onto their son, they want to end her life in revenge. With Miri’s help, Parker manages to fend off the intruders, setting the mother, Pamela, ablaze. While not entirely original, it’s quite disturbing to see the woman run out of the house, slowly burning to death as the police approach the lake house.
4 Intruders (2015) – J.P. Attacks Anna
Home invasion films usually have their lead character trying to find a way out of their home. In Intruders, Anna has the chance, but cannot bring herself to do so due to her agoraphobia, fearing the outside world more than the intruders invading her home. The intruders find this amusing, but little do they know that Anna is ready for this type of situation, as she unleashes a variety of traps that kills them one by one until only J.P. Is left.
Feeling the need to get the last laugh, J.P. goes back into the house and assaults Anna before attempting to kill her. While Anna manages to turn the tables and kill J.P., her long history of abuse combined with J.P.’s assault turn Anna from an antihero to a victim of circumstance deserving sympathy.
3 Shut In (2022) – Jessica Set’s Sammy’s Hand On Fire
The Daily Wire
Shut In isn’t redefining the bar by any means; nevertheless, it offers a truly repulsive villain, Sammy. When Jessica’s violent ex drops in for an unexpected visit, Jessica knows trouble is about to ensue, especially when he finds himself accompanied by a depraved criminal, Sammy. When Sammy returns to the house alone, looking to prey on Jessica and her children; Jessica demonstrates that no one will hurt her children under her watch, first by nailing Sammy’s hand to the ground and lastly, by setting it on fire.
2 The Owners (2020) – Mary’s Death
Another film where it’s difficult to root for the immoral protagonists, The Owners follows Mary and her boyfriend, Nathan, as they take part in a home invasion to steal from an elderly couple, the Huggins. As Mary has a change of heart and tries to help the couple, the Huggins show that they’re not as defenseless as they appear, in turn wounding Mary and locking her up in a vault where other girls such as herself are kept.
As Mary bleeds out to death, she realizes her twin sister, Jane, is being kept inside the vault as well, with her image being the last person Mary sees before dying. A haunting farewell for this movie’s assumed final girl.
1 Fear (1996) – David Kills the Family Dog
Fear is unsettling in countless ways unrelated to its home invasion element. When Nicole Walker meets David, she becomes infatuated immediately. David seems to be the perfect man, charming Nicole’s family, but not all is as meets the eye. David slowly infiltrates every aspect of Nicole’s life, from her social circle, her relationship with her father, and lastly, her own home.
In David’s final attempt to claim Nicole for himself, he plots a home invasion, disposing of the family dog, Kaiser, in an utterly gruesome and sadistic manner. Seeing an animal harmed is always a heartbreaking scenario in movies.