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Protect This House

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"This is MY house.
I have to defend it!"

"A man's home is his castle, but it shouldn't have to be a fortress."

The main character's home comes under attack or siege by some sort of malign force, whether it be foreign, criminal or supernatural. He or she then has to look after the safety and security of his or her person, possessions, family and possible guests, either by driving away the invader(s) or by keeping them at bay until The Cavalry can arrive.

A very wide-ranging trope: Can be found in The Western (native braves, outlaws or evil company types besieging a Determined Homestead), Horror Films (monsters terrorizing an isolated country home) and Crime Thrillers (burglars attempting to break into an otherwise quiet suburban dwelling and terrorizing the inhabitants).

"Home Alone" Antics is a Lighter and Softer, Played for Laughs version, which doesn't necessarily have to take place in a house. It's interesting to note that the main difference between the two is the age of the defender: to a kid, fighting off burglars inside your house sounds like a wacky adventure. To a parent, it sounds like a nightmare.


A Sub-Trope of "Die Hard" on an X; compare All Your Base Are Belong to Us and The Siege.


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    Film — Live-Action 
  • The central plot of every Home Alone movie (as pictured above) except for the second one, which still manages to set the majority of the climax within a derelict, trap-ridden building because it's the battlefield the children choose for their anti-burglar schemes.
  • The finale of Straw Dogs. The guys trying to break in are bad, no question, but David's own capacity for horrific violence is shocking, rather than cool.
    David Sumner: This is where I live. This is me. I will not allow violence against this house.
  • In Panic Room, the heroine and her daughter are terrorized in their home by three thugs looking for a stash of money left behind by the previous owner, causing them to retreat to the titular fortified safe room.
  • In Shenandoah, a farmer struggles to keep his farm free from both sides of the Civil War. He manages, but his son and daughter-in-law are murdered/raped by ruthless scavengers.
  • Poltergeist: A family's home is invaded by ghosts and their youngest daughter is kidnapped by them.
  • See For Me: Thieves break into a mansion where the only occupant is Sophie, a blind house sitter. Sophie uses an app called SeeForMe to connect with someone for help.
  • The Strangers. A couple is threatened in their home by three masked assailants.
  • Parodied in A Christmas Story, where Ralphie's desire for a BB gun for Christmas leads to a fantasy where it proves key to defending their home.
  • Paranormal Activity: A young couple is harassed by a demon in their new home.
  • In the movie Zathura, the house was launched into space and had to be defended against meteors and attacks by aliens.
  • Inverted in Hostage. As the movie title would suggest, the kids want the cops to get into the house to reclaim it. A good portion of the movie deals with the cops efforts to save the children in the house.
  • In the climax of Small Soldiers, the main characters use their house as a fortress to defend against an army of killer toys.
  • Attack the Block is about London delinquents defending their tower block against an Alien Invasion.
  • The last stretch of Alone in the Dark (1982) has the main villains attacking Dr. Potter's house.
  • The final dramatized encounter with the Fouke Monster in The Legend of Boggy Creek shows the creature attacking a housed shared by two families.
  • The farmhouse siege in The Book of Eli.
  • The Purge has a family trying to fend off a bunch of criminals trying to invade their heavily fortified home during a night were all crime is legal. Both sequels also have multiple scenes wherein someone's house or livelihood are besieged by deranged Purgers or members of the Government Conspiracy that is willing to do anything to protect the Purge (and its true reason for existing).
  • The climax of Skyfall, at the Bond family estate after which the film is named.
  • The third act of The Navigator is "Protect This Ship" when the lead couple fights off an angry mob of natives who try to enter the ship.
  • The indie film Intruders (also known as Shut In) subverts this when three petty thieves break into the house of a seemingly demure woman, only to find the house already booby-trapped prior to their arrival. Turns out, the woman and her late brother were a pair of vigilante serial killers.
  • Inverted in Don't Breathe, where the protagonists are the thieves and the antagonist ends up being the home owner, who proves himself to be quite capable of holding his own in spite of his blindness. Then it turns out he's even worse than the thieves, and is keeping a woman in his basement for ugly purposes.
  • Likewise inverted in The People Under the Stairs. A young kid whose family is about to be evicted from their home enlists some of his friends to rob his landlords' house, only for the landlords to have some very dark secrets of their own.
  • The TV movie Adrift takes this and sets it on the water. An estranged couple on a luxury yacht rescue another couple out at sea. The rescued couple are actually criminals who take over the yacht and injure the husband. It's up to the wife to outwit them.
  • In Better Watch Out, a babysitter and the boy she's watching over find themselves under siege by intruders. Except it's all part of an elaborate ruse by the boy, who wanted to "rescue" his babysitter so that she'd become his girlfriend. And he won't take "no" for an answer.
  • Subverted in You're Next, where the home invasion turns out to be an inside job by some members of the family seeking to screw over the rest in order to collect on their inheritance.
  • In Babysitter Wanted (2008), Angie fends off a large scarred attacker who breaks into the house she's babysitting at. As it turns out, he's a priest, who is looking to kill Sam, the son of the Devil. The real danger to Angie is Sam and his parents.

  • In A Brother's Price, the Whistlers, who, despite legally owning their land already, act much like a Determined Homesteader family, are trained to do this. All of them. Yes, even the toddlers. When their house is (briefly) under siege at the beginning of the novel, while the parents and elder sisters are away, they all immediately know what to do. The potential attackers, Princess Rensellaer and her guard, wisely decide not to attack, but wait until the proper authorities arrive and sort it out.
  • The latter half of the first Artemis Fowl novel is about the title character's manor coming under siege by Elves.
  • In Pact, the Thorburn family home of Hillsglade House repeatedly comes under siege from various supernatural creatures seeking to destroy the local diabolists, including a priest of Dionysus. However, the most successful invaders are two witch hunters, a pair of Badass Normal locals.
  • In Banco, a riot forms after Venezuelan dictator Jimenez flees the country, destroying businesses that his flunkies patronized. They come for the Caty-Bar and Papillon takes to the roof with Rita and a supply of Molotov cocktails, as the bar both Papillon's business and his home on the second story. Fortunately four common laborers come to their defense, forming a Go Through Me line and arguing that Papillon is a friend of the people and not a stooge for Jimenez, eventually turning the mob away.

    Live-Action TV 
  • North and South (U.S.):
    • In Book One, some thugs ride up to Mount Royal to seize Madeline, only to find that the Mains have set up armed guards to shoot in an unsurvivable crossfire if it came to fighting.
    • In Book Two, a coalition of freed slaves and ex-slavers raid the property, only to be driven out.
    • In Book Three, Mont Royale attracted the ire of the Klan itself. Seems the locals didn't take too kindly to Madeline assisting and educating the local blacks. They attacked the property in Book Three, causing a fire which reduced the property to cinders. More Klansmen were killed than Mains, so we can call this one a draw.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured this several times. There were sieges of Buffy's house, the library and the school, the Magic Box, Giles' apartment, Xander's basement, and several other sites.

  • Wait Until Dark has this as part of the premise: A group of burglars resort to increasingly desperate means to get a poor blind housewife to give up a cocaine-laden doll that was mistakenly delivered to her house.

    Video Games 
  • Mercenaries 2: World in Flames has this as a story-required mission, where you have to protect the villa you've been using as a base since you took it from the local Big Bad. Overlaps with All Your Base Are Belong to Us.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: It's up to the garden plants to protect the house and its inhabitants from the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • With expansions, the same thing can happen in The Sims 3.
  • The Castle Doctrine (website here) is an MMO based on this premise: each player character is a man building a Death Course into his house to protect his family and his safe ... and simultaneously a thief, invading his neighbors' houses to steal the money from their safes (or families).
  • One of the last ordeals Leon goes through in the Village section of Resident Evil 4 involves him and Luis fending off a massive horde of Ganados trying to force their way into the large cabin the two have taken shelter in along with Ashley. No matter how good you are, you can't keep them all out of the house, and it becomes a matter of surviving long enough for the Ganados to fall back on their own.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 4: instead of the action happening at the world's most Dangerous Workplace, this time you're being stalked in your own home by "Nightmare" versions of the mascots. The real kicker is that you're playing as a kid. This is subverted, as it's All Just a Dream, with implications that said dreams are from comatose.
  • Silent Hill 4 isn't really this until the second half of the game, at which point an already dark game becomes even worse. Your room, which was once a safe haven where you could restore health and be perfectly safe, is now haunted by ghosts you have to exorcise. These ghosts can even damage you in your once completely safe base. It's entirely up to you whether you want them out or not, but if you don't get 80% of them out of the way, you can't get the best ending and are at risk of getting the worst ending.

    Web Original 
  • In Red vs. Blue, the "noobs" (basically a parody of Halo players who eternally die and respawn) treat their capture-the-flag game as this.

    Western Animation 
  • In a The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" skit, Homer & family have survived a nuclear attack from France, but others in town have become mutated. The mutants attack the Simpsons in their home, but then they are moved by the love Homer & Marge show for each other.
    Flanders: You know, I don't see any reason why freaks and norms can't get along!
    Freaks: (all mutter in agreeing tones)
    Flanders: We can all work together to build a Utopian society, free of violence, hate and prejudice!
    Marge: That sounds beautiful, Ned. And let me just say my family and I share your vision for a better - NOW!
    (Marge and the kids draw shotguns, and blast the freaks a couple of feet back, leaving them in a pile.)
    Marge: Hm, friends with mutants. Rrright!
    • In the episode "Halloween of Horror" (one of the rare "canon" episodes that happen in Halloween), Homer's stupidity exposes the crooked deals of three teenage temps that were working for Apu, who fires them as a result, and the teens end up besieging the Simpson home with Homer and Lisa inside as they attempt to get revenge.

    Real Life 
  • A heated topic of discussion in the United States is the concept of "Castle Doctrine", from the phrase "a man's home is his castle", a legal argument that an individual has the right to use deadly force to protect his home and property within, as opposed to only being allowed to protect life and limbnote . (Non-Castle Doctrine laws generally require you to show that you are unable to escape your house before considering the use of lethal force to be justified.) Laws regarding this vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as do personal opinions. Not to Be Confused with "Stand Your Ground", a legal doctrine that states that an individual can use deadly force to protect themselves anywhere, even when retreat is arguably an option, which is an even more heated topic of discussion.