Home Security Myths Movies Taught Us

Written by | Updated October 16, 2014

If you ever find yourself preparing to fend off a horde of hungry zombies, you probably don’t want to get security tips from “Resident Evil.” That’s because, like a lot of home alarm systems in movies, the film gives a false impression of what actual home alarm systems are capable of doing.

There isn’t a system on the market that will automatically lock down your windows and doors with fortified steel when it detects a biological threat (at least not yet, anyway). Plus, I’m not sure there’s anything that can stop a hybrid dog-monster with a giant tongue from ripping through your walls.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great products out there. Before we get to that, here are some examples that are a bit off from reality.

“Resident Evil”

One of the most exciting scenes in the film involves a room that locks on both ends when an intruder steps into it, igniting a wall of lasers that will cut through anything in its path. Aside from the literal overkill of the situation, a home security system producing lasers that do anything more than trigger an alarm doesn’t exist. And it probably shouldn’t.

The home security system is also run by an artificial intelligence known as The Hive, which becomes murderous. In the real world, alarm systems haven’t reached this autonomous level quite yet.

what movies like resident evil taught us about home security systems

“The Purge”

In “The Purge,” the family in the film lives in a supposedly impenetrable fortress, where walls and fortified windows fall into place with the touch of a button. Though the concept of a house that could lock down in such a way is a bit unrealistic, there are some aspects that were spot on.

The family watches the world outside through the use of a remote camera system. This is entirely plausible, as there are a number of products on the market that enable you to place security cameras all around your property.

What the Purge and other movies taught us about home security systems

“Panic Room”

One thing the writers of the “Panic Room” did well was to research the capabilities of actual panic rooms. The one found in the Jodie Foster-led film is surprisingly accurate in scope. There are rooms on the market that include things like reinforced doors, video banks and air-cleaning systems. What the movie could’ve portrayed better is that there are also some that protect against things like fires and explosions with features like “isolators,” which enable the panic room to hold together by tying into steel girders.

They also come equipped with refrigerators for food, as well as phones, back-up generators and oxygen scrubbers to clean the air. Some even come with controls that will allow you to manually lock doors throughout the house in order to trap an intruder. That would’ve certainly come in handy in the film.

Home security system in Panic room movie is realistic

“The Pacifier”

Fans of the movie will remember a burly Vin Diesel hopping from one floor panel to another in order to beat the family’s basement security system. Unfortunately, you won’t be doing the Panda Dance to disable your home security system anytime soon. As fun and effective as it may be to create a special dance to trigger your home security, the technology offered for home use isn’t quite there, yet. Realistically, it probably wouldn’t be the most efficient way to protect your home, either.

what movies like The Pacifier starring Vin Diesel taught us about home security systems

“The Resident”

ADT monitoring partnered with the filmmakers to help advertise their product and portray a more accurate display of how home security works for “The Resident.” They even have a friendly installer there to walk Hilary Swank’s character through the process. It’s probably one of the most accurate films out there at the moment, and a great example as to why filmmakers should collaborate with security companies more often.

Though they won’t yet be useful in fighting off mutated zombies or nefarious government agencies, alarm systems are still a great investment. The systems provided by ADT monitoring and Vivint do a great deal to help protect your from more realistic threats, like home invasions and theft.

These security systems allow you to record video of your home and its surroundings, as well as automatically notify police of a threat. They also provide wireless home automation, technology that allows you to protect your home from anywhere you are. Most importantly, home security systems help to give you peace of mind.

Hilary Swank in The Resident gets a home secutiry system

Written by Holly King

Holly is a regular safety and security contributor for Safewise. In her spare time she enjoys cycling, cooking and re-organizing her home. Learn more

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