The short film Home Invasion is effective in its simple premise. A man named Stephen (Sergio Guerra) is awakened by the sound of his alarm system going off. He soons finds that the power has gone out and an intruder might be in the house. He is assisted by a voice on his phone that explains he is calling from the alarm company. But can you really trust everything you see and hear?
Writer-director Sergio Guerra (Murder Ballad) utilizes a POV shooting style that cranks up the tension. This perspective has been overused in the past, especially in found footage films, but here it is most welcome. As Stephen explores the house, the potential that something or someone dangerous may be just outside the frame is palpable enough to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
Although Home Invasion utilizes a jump scare ending, the build-up is what’s important. In many ways, the darkened setting and the camerawork recall the charm of the first Paranormal Activity. A pulsating synth score that underlies the picture also brings to mind the works of John Carpenter.
Guerra also offhandedly references the current Covid-19 quarantine in a line of dialogue. But it’s inclusion emphasizes how isolated Stephen is. Can he face the intruder alone? Will the police arrive in time to save the day? Did something supernatural trigger the alarm?
The shelter in place quarantine has allowed independent filmmakers to spin-off inventive home-based horror narratives. Home Invasion is the second one I’ve seen so far that utilizes a character investigating noise and the first-person POV, the other film being Ghost Party Pictures’ The People Under the Porch. Both films are enjoyable in their own right.
Overall, Home Invasion is a winner. It makes me look forward to seeing what other interesting short films are produced during this time.
Sean Woodard serves as the Film Editor for Drunk Monkeys and a Co-Producer of the faith and spirituality podcast, Ordinary Grace. Focusing on a wide variety of interests, Sean’s fiction, film criticism, and other writings have been featured in Los Angeles Review of Books, NonBinary Review, Horrorbuzz, Cultured Vultures, and Los Angeles Magazine, among other publications. He is currently a doctoral student at University of Texas at Arlington.