Could These Classic Home Invasion Films Be Avoided With New Technology?

By: Elizabeth Eckhart

After seeing a creepy movie with your friends on a Friday night, the only way to feel safe afterward is by locking your doors, curling up in bed, and telling yourself the horror isn’t real. But what if the movie you saw featured characters who are terrorized in what is supposed to be the safest place on earth – their home? But when it comes to these classic home invasion horror movies, you might catch yourself thinking that none of these could possibly happen today. With the technology available to us nowadays, most of these situations could have been diffused much quicker or been avoided altogether. Let’s take a look at how modern tech could have helped these victims survive their housebound horror stories, and render these plot-lines almost obsolete in today’s tech-savvy society.

Funny Games

While most moviegoers are more familiar with the 2007 remake of this Austrian film, 1997’s Funny Games remains one of the most brutal and mentally disturbing home invasion films ever made. The two young perpetrators have no motive in mind but to kill and have fun with it at the expense of an unsuspecting couple and their son on vacation. Since this was the late nineties, the only thing the invaders had to do to isolate the family from the outside world was destroy their landline. With our dependence on wireless smart devices these days it’s safe to say a family who owns a vacation home would have a couple of these WiFi enabled devices laying around. These miscreants would have to carefully cut off cell service and internet access before beginning their sadistic games – a much more complicated feat.

When a Stranger Calls

One of the most common horror tropes of the 70s was the terrorized babysitter. She was always young, beautiful, and most importantly alone in a big, dark house. No movie encapsulated this nightmare better than 1979’s When a Stranger Calls featuring the classic, “have you checked the children?” line. In this case, the dated technology could serve to save the young heroine and the kids – the call was traced to the home by the cops, which could be more difficult with modern disposable cell phones. However, we now have caller ID which comes built into just about every telecommunications device and advanced tracking capabilities which would have given away the killer’s location even if he was on a disposable device.

Home Alone

Not all home invasion movies are purely full of terror. Some, like John Hughes’ 1990 holiday classic, Home Alone, focus on the humor of the situation. When 8 year old Kevin is accidentally left behind at home while his family takes a Christmas vacation to Paris, he finds himself at the mercy of two bumbling burglars. This movie would need some serious rewrites to make it in today’s tech filled world. First of all, we can assume a well-off family like the McCallister’s would have multiple smart devices with them so they could have attempted to contact Kevin through voice calls, text messages, or WiFi apps until he answered. Furthermore, they wouldn’t have left their mansion unprotected meaning they would have had a security system which would have allowed them to check up on Kevin through video streaming online. And although he did a solid job outsmarting them with his own pranks, imagine the confusion and chaos he could have caused with a home automation system.

Panic Room

More of a thriller than a horror film, 2002’s Panic Room features a mother and daughter who must hide in a secure locked-down room from a group of deadly criminals wanting to rob their home. It may seem this advanced security system should have done its job, but if you’ve seen The Purge you know that doesn’t always follow through. While the panic room itself provides a perfect place for these two to hide for the majority of the movie, a simple cell call or Facebook message would’ve had the cops at their door in no time, and with any sort of Wi-Fi connection they wouldn’t have been concerned with disconnected phone lines.


1996’s Scream is the sort of movie that changes more and more as the years go on. Spawning several sequels, this meta-horror film involves a masked killer terrorizing a group of horror-savvy teens who know their way around movie plotlines. Technology has been used in each film (from landlines and e-mail in the nineties to texting in 2011’s Scream 4), but in our ever-changing technological world, there will always be new ways to catch killers before they get inside the house. Of course, the first movie would have been completely different with caller ID and any sort of security system alerting the authorities, essentially halting the movie before it really even starts. The teens in the Scream films always need to be one step ahead of the killer, making this franchise especially interesting with each new film filling in the technology gaps from the last.

There’s no foolproof way to safeguard your home from those creeps and killers who might want to get inside, but modern technology has made it harder for them to sneak by without us noticing. Just don’t forget to lock the front door!

Elizabeth Eckhart is a film and entertainment writer. She has written for Thunder Treats before and currently her home base is in Chicago. You can follow her on Twitter at @elizeckhart.

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