Films like Panic Room and Kidnapped owe everything to director Terence Young’s masterful suspense flick Wait Until Dark, which is easily the most prestigious “home invasion movie” of all time. How so? Two words: Audrey Hepburn. How about three more words: Academy Award nomination.
The elegant Hollywood legend contributed a knockout performance as a blind woman battling criminals who’ve broken into her apartment under the assumption that she has a heroin-filled doll they so desperately need. Wait Until Dark is notorious for its tense climax, in which Hepburn defends herself against a cold-blooded Alan Arkin (playing the head bad guy); with the apartment’s lights shut off, the heroine’s blindness is no longer a factor.
Young, however, uses the sequence’s lack of illumination more against the audience than Arkin. He manipulates the setting with his delicately positioned camera, misdirecting the viewer’s eyes to conceal one of cinema’s all-time great “Oh shit!” jump scares. You’ll never see it coming.