Home invasion horror movies seemed to be on the decline, but they have returned with several revisionist narratives, including hybrids combining other sub-genres with the formula. Given the allegorical parallels between both home invasion and alien invasion films, it is unsurprising the two sub-genres have been combined to create hybrid home invasion films. First Hulu distributed No One Will Save You this year, an alien home invasion hybrid with only a handful of lines of dialogue. Now the low budget release The Hive has been released with a body snatchers element added to the formula, though it may also have been better off without the dialogue given the effectiveness of the performances.
The film joins average middle-class couple Albie (Timothy Haug) and Penny (Christie Griffin) as they get ready for a date night in the suburban home they have recently moved into. As is often the case in home invasion films, there are early indications that this couple is having marital problems; while Penny is excited for an evening out, Albie is too preoccupied with a screenplay he is working on to make his wife a priority. When the couple finally does leave for their night out, it doesn’t go as planned and they are eager to return to the safety of their house but are shocked to find it occupied by a strange couple (Miles Taber and Julianne Ruck).
The strange couple behave like nothing unusual is happening, smiling as they greet Albie and Penny when they return to the invaded home. The situation only gets more bizarre when calls to the police are ignored, as they are seemingly collaborating with the odd invaders. This indicates a larger invasion taking place, though The Hive remains focused on the small-scale invasion occurring in the troubled couple’s home. When Albie and Penny make the unwise decision to attempt breaking into their own home, they are confined and interrogated by the invaders.
The premise for The Hive is promising, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. While surreal cutaway images are used to convey the film’s sci-fi elements convincingly enough, the action practically occurring in reality is not nearly as effective. While there isn’t enough blood and gore in the film (or most of the home invasion sub-genre, for that matter), the few moments of violence are stiffly choreographed and played out by the cast. The acting by the cast might be the biggest problem, exaggerating both the terror of the victims and the goofy cheerfulness of the invaders, while underselling the physicality of the horror. This results in unintentional humor where the scares should have been.
The Hive isn’t the worst attempt at home invasion horror, but it is also a far cry from the best. Given the primarily single-location setting, this is unlikely to be the last low budget attempt at the sub-genre of horror. While it is nice to see some variation in the approach, The Hive could have used a more competent cast, even more than a larger budget.
Entertainment Value: 5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 4/10