While recent releases like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness take viewers on epic adventures across different landscapes and universes, there are many films out there that also highlight the vast possibilities of what can happen in one place.
Whether it be the harrowing enclosed spaces in Saw, the infamous Snakes on a Plane, or escape films like Speed, there are many cinematic ventures that thrive from mainly occurring in one singular setting. Luckily, Redditors have narrowed down that giant list to some of their favorites.
Tower Block (2012)
Tower Block narrates the tale of several characters stuck in their flat tower as they are targetted by a sniper seemingly out for revenge. Redditor Archamasse shared that “Tower Block was great. Lean and mean and the bit where one of the first characters is very graphically shot stopped me in my tracks a bit. Yikes.”
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Although the British thriller sees the tenants fleeing through many different parts of their apartment building, they remain trapped in the tower for the majority of the film, hence fitting the criteria to a tee.
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
Assault on Precinct 13 epitomizes what wonders can be done with a low budget and gripping narrative. When a soon-to-be-closed precinct gets ambushed by a local gang, the limited staff members must band together to survive the attack and escape the precinct.
Reddit user Usuallysad82 raved about the film, stating “I saw this for the first time last summer and boy was I into it. Favorite movie of the year. Made me realize I love siege movies… This is exciting and scary. Carpenter rules.”
Splinter follows a couple and their hijackers while they are stuck in a gas station and trying desperately to avoid a viral, fungus-like creature that can control parts of the body that it infects.
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The horror film is adored by fans like Reddit user SwayzeCrayze, who thinks the film’s monster is “really cool because it actually moves like it’s a mold that doesn’t understand the idea of a “body” and is just moving the meat around as best as it can. It’s a fun little flick with some tense scenes and a bit of body horror.”
Cube’s premise is a familiar one for horror film buffs: a group of strangers wakes up in an unfamiliar room, with no recollection of how they got there or why. The film follows their journey as they try to escape from the array of nearly identical rooms, inevitably losing members along the way and, surprisingly, relying on the importance of mathematics.
Although Cube is regarded as one of the best independent horror films of the 1990s and is mentioned by many Reddit users, it is also contested by some, such as Redditor coolcool23 who explains that the film “definitely fits the bill, definitely interesting, but definitely [is] not first rate entertainment.”
Redditor zanza19 aptly summed up Locke as “a movie all about Tom Hardy driving and talking to people. Great movie.” This short and succinct description perfectly summarizes the minimalist yet memorable feature.
The Tom Hardy starring film follows his character, Ivan Locke, as he navigates his tumultuous life happenings through a series of phone calls during a long drive. Despite the sole focus being on his titular character driving a car for the entire runtime, Hardy still exceeded expectations for his stressful role, garnering favorable reviews from critics.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
When it comes to movies about being stuck in one place, Redditor cwilbur22 stated that they “liked Gerald’s Game a lot… Pretty much the whole movie takes place in a bedroom.”
One of the thriller hidden gems on Netflix, Gerald’s Game is an adaptation of Stephen King’s haunting novel and depicts the events of a woman, Jessie, trapped in a lake house after her partner passes away during their getaway. Confined to the bed, Jessie soon begins to see visions as she struggles to stay alive and simultaneously cope with her traumas.
Redditor InsertShortName shared that when it comes to being trapped in one place, the film they’ve enjoyed “more recently, The Outfit! It’s a great movie and it all takes place in a Tailor’s shop.” There are also many great Rotten Tomatoes reviews that aptly define the film.
The Outfit features a star-studded cast and depicts the story of a tailor, Leonard, as he attempts to survive a night with dangerous mob encounters. With intriguing characters, old-school thriller vibes, and a fairly unique setting, the film is a must-watch for lovers of single-location stories.
Redditor SuperAlloyBerserker described the film as “where a gamer living alone gets stuck in his apartment, while a zombie apocalypse happens outside,” an apt summary of the 2020 South Korean feature that showcases the possibility of creative stuck-in-one-place tales.
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#Alive garnered much critical and commercial fame upon release, gaining further popularity through Netflix streaming. By taking the concept of being trapped and raising the stakes with the sci-fi element of zombies, the film’s success was inevitable.
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
A sequel to the 2008 Cloverfield, the second installment of the series follows the protagonist, Michelle, as finds herself trapped in a foreign room, being told that she is protected from an alien attack above ground. Despite being one of many movies that induce claustrophobia, the film is praised for its pacing, use of concept, and minimal setting.
Reddit user Ledairyman commented on how the film is suspenseful “from the start to the end,” while user SuicideSquadFan96 enjoyed that “at least there are aliens not just words from some” creep in a bunker. Plus its short run time makes 10 Cloverfield Lane perfect for a quick and gritty watch.
Maximizing a lower-scale budget, Buried tells the story of Ryan Reynolds’ Paul being trapped in a coffin for the majority of the film. Audiences partake in the painstaking journey of watching Paul attempt to survive his circumstances while dealing with his complicated events outside of the coffin.
Redditor SuperAlloyBerserker stated that they “love that movie, it’s gotta be the movie with the most emphasis on the word stuck,” earning it a top spot for flicks about being stuck in one place.
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About The Author
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Recently having completed a BA in Comparative Literature, Ashvaria is a literature and media nerd – particularly when it comes to anything pop culture! Being an advocate for diversity & inclusion, she is especially interested in how works depict and treat minority characters.
Her personal favorite topics include anything pertaining to Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga, Glee, the MCU and, of course, the original cinematic masterpiece: Shrek.
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