‘Get In’ Twists the Home Invasion Genre Into Knots

March 13th, 2023 | By Paul Doro

Get In Netflix

French home invasion flick Get In (2019), released on Netflix in 2020, chronicles a man’s effort to reclaim his home, but not in the way audiences have come to expect. In this instance, the home invasion occurs while its occupants are far away, resulting in a quest for justice that deviates from the norm before settling into more familiar though still highly effective territory (there will be blood). It is a captivating and challenging examination of male behavior that feels fresh, even as it calls to mind other movies featuring men behaving badly as they navigate how to protect those they love and the place they call home.

It is often the case that masculinity is, if not a central theme, at least tangentially addressed in a home invasion movie. How do men, husbands and fathers, respond to having their residence attacked and loved ones endangered? Are they rendered helpless by a heavily armed group? Are they forced to watch as unspeakable things are done to a family member? Do they work tirelessly to free themselves and fight back? Is the only solution to become violent and inflict vigilante justice upon the evildoers? If a man’s home is his castle, and the place those most dear to him reside, what is he willing to do to make it safe again?  

Get In’s interrogation of masculinity and justice revolves around Paul (Adama Niane). Paul is a mild-mannered teacher and family man living what appears to be an ordinary suburban life. As the movie begins, a family vacation is coming to an end. Paul, his wife Chloe (Stephane Caillard), and son Louis (Matthieu Kacou) load up their RV after two months on the road and drive back to their house. Unfortunately, they are unable to get back inside as the residence has new occupants. The couple now occupying the home is the family’s pregnant nanny, Sabrina (Marie Bourin), and her partner, Eric (Hubert Delattre). Eric aggressively makes it clear that they are not going anywhere and considers the house their property now. 

French bureaucracy is depicted as being excruciatingly slow and problematic. Since Paul and Chloe signed some sort of document outlining that Sabrina and Eric could live in the house while the family was away as long as they paid the utilities, which they did, there is confusion about who can rightfully live in the home. Even after demonstrating that the house belongs to them, Sabrina and Eric can stay because of a law that forbids evictions during colder months of the year. So Paul, Chloe, and Louis are stuck in a holding pattern and live in their RV while Sabrina and Eric remain in their house, refusing to communicate in any manner with the homeowners. 

Paul is a decent man caught up in a nightmarish situation. He loves his family, but he is livid about being unable to reside in his own home. Paul is also somewhat meek. A student he throws out of class for unruly behavior mocks him for being soft, and the rest of the class doesn’t appear to disagree. Later, when witnessing two students fight, he stays back and uncomfortably observes until another adult puts an end to the fisticuffs. Enter Mickey (Paul Hamy) and the beginning of Paul’s evolution into a man he likely never envisioned himself becoming – a man capable of violence, infidelity, and all manner of boorish behavior that ultimately places his family in grave danger. 

Mickey is one of those guys who brings out the worst in everyone. Mickey is miserable, managing and living in a trailer park where Paul and family park their RV. He sees Paul as an opportunity to distract himself and at least temporarily cure his boredom and dissatisfaction. Mickey’s life consists of drinking heavily at a local bar, sleeping around, shooting wild pigs, and looking for trouble. He eagerly brings Paul into his circle, not because he cares about the man or his predicament but because he sees the chance to exploit someone else’s struggle for his own amusement. Mickey represents a toxic masculinity that does great harm to anyone in his orbit. Paul makes the mistake of giving Mickey an opening, and the latter is all too happy to take it.

Paul reluctantly agrees to go out drinking with Mickey and his friends one evening, commencing his transformation. Mickey convinces Paul that what is being done to him is a great injustice that cannot stand. His castle has been invaded and occupied, leaving him on the outside. That simply cannot stand. He should be willing to do anything and everything to get back what is rightfully his. Soon, Paul is spending more and more time away from his family, neglecting Chloe and Louis while also engaging in behavior that would have been unthinkable to him before meeting Mickey. He hooks up with a woman at the bar, belligerently confronts Eric, and accompanies Mickey and his friends on a pig hunt. Paul’s masculinity is being infected by Mickey’s, and his trouble is only beginning.

Bad behavior starts to have serious consequences. Paul knows Mickey is bad news and dislikes the man, but he goes along because he lets Mickey convince him that he is aggrieved. Paul sees himself as a victim and lashes out, with guidance from a bad man. Chloe becomes increasingly frustrated then disgusted with Paul and threatens to end the marriage. The school puts him on leave. Nothing he has done is productive or has gotten him any closer to getting the house back. The more he is influenced by and acts like Mickey, the worse his life gets, jeopardizing far more than where he calls home. 

A man like Mickey isn’t going to go away quietly, letting bygones be bygones. He wants to watch things burn. For a while, that was Paul and his housing issue. But Mickey grows bored of that, and violence is inevitable. In the absolutely chilling finale, Paul and Chloe finally get back into their house, but not in a way they expected. Mickey and his posse, wearing frightening pig masks, violently attack Paul’s house, breaking in and wreaking havoc. They vacuum seal Sabrina and Eric, killing the latter, and destroy the first floor. Paul fights back, using the RV to crash into the home and dispose of the friends, and burns Mickey. The entire sequence is brutal, chaotic, and terrifying, and when it’s over, the family is alive, but the house is in ruins. The inside is hardly ever glimpsed, only briefly at the conclusion as it’s being smashed up, rendering it a space given more meaning by Paul than it actually has. 

Get In savagely condemns male behavior and toxic masculinity by portraying the destructive consequences of Paul, Eric, and Mickey’s actions. Mickey is killed by a man he could have left alone (or genuinely befriended). Paul and Eric ignore pleas from their partner. Chloe insists that as long as the family is together, that’s all that matters. Sabrina lurks in the background and is scared of Eric, and her attempts to reason with him fail. As a result, Eric loses his life, while Paul loses the house and very nearly loses his family (his job status is murky). The trauma of being terrorized by Mickey and his friends and seeing Eric die, not to mention violently fighting back, will surely linger. Louis is going to be messed up. Men resorting to traditional masculinity only bring harm to themselves and those around them. Get In makes a potent case for that.

A gray area does exist, and the overall message becomes muddled in the closing moments. Paul, convinced he has intimacy problems with Chloe, finally overcomes his fears and has sex with her. Violently defending his family and vanquishing Mickey has restored his virility, an endorsement of traditional masculinity. A man just needs to act manly to get what he wants. Still, it is hard to read things as triumphant. The scene takes place in the RV, as if Paul finally acknowledges that home is his family. It also does not excuse Paul’s behavior or erase the deaths of several people and the destruction of the home. Lives have been ruined, and all of the calamities are a direct result of what Paul, Eric, and Mickey do (and their refusal to listen to the women in their lives). Get In is riveting, provocative, suspenseful, and leaves a lot to chew on when the credits roll — a welcome twist on the home invasion subgenre. 

Paul Doro

Paul Doro's writing has appeared in the books Gender, Sexuality, and Queerness in American Horror Story and American Revenge Narratives: A Collection of Critical Essays. He has also written for Shock Till You Drop, Wicked Horror, Creative Screenwriting, and Frames Cinema Journal.

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