A family moves into their new home, only to have three masked men break in on the first night and hold them hostage.
It had been a while since I’d seen this film so I thought I’d rewatch it. I remembered it being a very tense and brutal home invasion film and I wasn’t wrong. What begins as a simple home invasion/robbery, soon becomes quite violent and bloody. One of the masked intruders takes the father and credit card information to take all their money out, while the other two stay behind to take care of his wife and daughter. At the beginning of the film we are introduced to an unknown man who has been left near the road with a bag over his head. After someone hits him with his car, he calls home to warn his family to find that “they” are already there.
This scene bears little relation to the events transpiring afterwards, other than implying that these guys have done this before and possibly as a warning of the brutality to come. It’s sort of a pointless scene, other than to set the tone, because the confidence – or lack of confidence – during the home invasion lets us know whether this is a first time thing, and ultimately makes us begin the film with confusion. Of the two intruders left at the house, one seems relatively timid and kind – not wanting to hurt anyone and showing sympathy later – while the other shows violent tendencies early on. The guy that leaves with the father seems to be in total control of the situation. This is enough to let us know the dynamics of the group and each one’s general motivation.
One of my favourite things about the film was the use of long takes because I really, really love long takes. The tension build-up is amazing and makes the large house seem claustrophobic. The use of split screens later on in the film is also well done, despite a little cheesy moment near the end. The constant whimpering of the daughter does get a bit annoying after a while and it did feel a bit forced so cut into the tension a little bit. Other than that, the acting is generally good, but the way the film is told is stronger overall.
When the blood starts flowing, it keeps flowing. The ending is absolutely brutal and it doesn’t shy away from this at all. It lacks a bit of an emotional punch as the characters weren’t the most intelligent or sympathetic (partly due to the fact that they’re just regular people and nothing special – they weren’t targeted for any reason), but because of the tense build-up, it remains effective and harsh.
Although there is a lack of an emotional bond with the characters, there is still a sense of ‘this could happen to anyone’ which makes it an effective thriller. The long-takes, the build-up, the hard-hitting climax make for one of the best – and most tense – home invasion films.