Hi, this is Barry and welcome to my site. While it is hard enough to produce a gripping movie shot in a variety of locations, a few films add a level of complexity to themselves by restricting the majority plot to precisely one spot. While this might drop the production budget, it really ups the game for the story and screenplay. Shots are usually up close, and the acting needs to be bang on. Here is my pick of amazing movies filmed in a single location.
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Nine Dead (2009)
Nine people are kidnapped and put in a room by a masked man. While they all appear to be strangers at first, the kidnapper tells the group to identify how they are connected. The masked man also declares that he will return once every hour to check if the right connection has been established, else he will kill one person and continue so until all nine are dead. The whole of the film, Nine Dead, takes place in the confines of this room and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The Man From Earth (2007)
A group of friends throw a party for their colleague who is suddenly packing up and moving. Through the course of his send-off, he reveals his mysterious origins. This information fascinates a few but upsets others. They question him in every possible way and over the course of the day they learn things that shake the very foundation of their lives. The entire length of The Man From Earth is shot in the living room and sometimes in the area just outside the house, and the ending leaves you in awe.
This is probably the smallest space that I’ve seen a movie filmed in. Ryan Reynolds’ character wakes up to find himself inside a coffin buried six feet under. He has been left with a cell phone and a few other items and is contacted by terrorists demanding 5 million from him. Yes, it is as claustrophobic as it sounds because all we are offered in the movie is the in-coffin view. It’s an excellent film and leaves you wondering what happened at the end. Read more about it here – Buried Explained.
12 Angry Men (1957)
One man in an otherwise unanimous jury tries to convince the group to consider the possibility that the accused may not be guilty despite how incriminating the evidence might be. The case is that of an 18-year-old boy who has allegedly killed his own father, who will be given the death penalty if found to be guilty. The film is set in a single room where the jury members debate the situation at hand, and the script of 12 Angry Men keeps the audience hooked right to the end.
A successful construction manager, a loving father and husband, receives a call which shatters this otherwise perfect life. He decides to do the right thing and drives over to be with a woman who is otherwise alone and about to deliver a child. The entire film sees Tom Hardy driving this car as he converses over the phone with every other character in the movie as a voice on the other side of the line. Locke relies entirely on dialogues, and the screenplay keeps you bolted to your seats.
Den Skyldige (2018) / The Guilty (2021)
Den Skyldige is a Danish film that was remade in Hollywood as The Guilty. The film follows an officer who is waiting on a court hearing and therefore handling calls as part of the 911 call centre. On his final night, he gets a call from a woman who says she’s being kidnapped by her husband and the officer springs to action using all his contacts and recourses to help the lady. The entire film happens through conversations the officer is having over various phone calls and is an amazing movie filmed in a single location. The story unfolds wonderfully and the acting is amazing in both versions. This is a detailed discussion about the film – The Guilty Explained.
A group of 50 people find themselves standing in a circular room in pre-designated spots. When a few try to leave their positions, they get zapped to death by an unearthly device placed in the middle of the room. The group soon realizes that they get to vote for the next person who will die. Once every 2 minutes, the death ray fries and kills one person in the room. The film proceedings continue to happen only within this circular chamber, and it’s incredible to watch the dynamics of self-preservation, prejudice, and groupism that kicks in.
A random set of strangers wake up in a room in the shape of a cuboid. Each of the faces of the cube has a door. They have no recollection of how they got there. Each of the doors open to a seemingly identical cubical room with doors on each of its faces. They horror soon dawns upon them when they realize that some of the rooms are rigged with deadly traps, and it’s not going to be an easy quest to navigate through this apparently infinite maze. Though the movie Cube shows us that there is a multitude of stacked rooms, the film was shot in a single cuboid which earns it a spot in this list of movies filmed in a single location. Cube is a brilliant thriller and sports a phenomenal ending.
A set of 8 people enter a room to appear for an employment assessment exam. While the test has only one seemingly simple question, the ambiguity causes hell to break loose in that room. Exam’s intriguing plot is set within these four walls and keeps you engaged right through.
A bunch of people enter a highrise building lift which gets stuck between floors. Every time there is a power outage, things go dark, and when the power returns, one person is found dead in the lift. All the thrilling scenes of Devil are shot within this lift, and the film keeps the audience wondering who the killer is all the way up to the end.
A group of friends meet on a quiet evening for dinner and drinks as a mysterious comet passes over Earth. Soon the group realizes that their house and evening has become part of an inexplicable cosmic event that will alter their understanding of reality. The vast majority of Coherence is shot in this house’s living room with only a few scenes shot outside. Despite this, the film throws a fantastic concept at you and comes to a close beautifully, although raising plenty of questions. This article will help bring all your doubts to a close – Coherence Explained.
The Platform (2019)
A man is put in a vertical prison which has multiple levels. Each level has two residents. There is a central hole through which a platform with food is lowered. The catch is that the higher up you are, the more food there is. Lower levels rely entirely on how much food is left for them by the people above. The other catch is that every month, the inmates are shuffled, and anybody could be sent to any level. While The Platform shows us that there are multiple levels, the film was shot in one location as all floors are identical and hence finds a comfortable spot in this list of movies filmed in a single location. The movie is gripping and offers a glimpse of what it takes to create a change when your primal needs are not met. Here’s an article that discusses the themes and the ending – The Platform Explained.
There you have it, a list of amazing movies filmed in a single location. I know there are so many more and if your favourite movie is not on this list, please do drop a comment.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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