Room. A place which is defined as a secluded manifestation of all the life and non-life forms contained within it. A room, with respect to the film-vernacular, somehow terrifies us, makes us feel unsafe or incarcerated and at times, mundane. It gives us the hope that some day, we could successfully evade the adversities therein. A room could be a place that boils down to a tinier, heavier and concentrated form of all our inner insecurities. Here’s a list of top movies ever shot in one room or one location. These movies are about being tapped in a room. You can watch some of these best movies shot in one room on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
12. Buried (2010)
Though not “exactly” set in a room, ‘Buried’ makes me feel nauseated whenever I tend to think about it. It’s a story of a truck driver (Ryan Reynolds) who wakes up inside a coffin with only a lighter, a dying cell phone and a little air to breathe. A movie that promises a dose of panic, anxiety, and disorientation combined, without a pill.
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11. Phone Booth (2002)
Again, not exactly a room-based movie per se, but ‘Phone Booth’ is the answer to “Why we should mind our own business?”. A media consultant (Colin Farrell) answers a ringing phone at a public phone booth, gets stuck between a seemingly everlasting conversation whilst a sniper aims at him and a menacing death knocking his door if he intends to hang up. A noteworthy effort for the lovers of in-capacious spaces.
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10. The Interview (1998)
Primarily set in an interrogation room. A besmirched Detective Sergeant John Steele (Tony Martin) and his partner Wayne (Aaron Jeffery) arrest a talkative, skittish yet lonely Eddie Fleming (Hugo Weaving) from his house for questioning about a stolen car, a probing that swells manifold as the movie progresses. A thirsty and famished Mr Fleming hides beneath multiple layers of truth and beats around the bush amid the denials and affirmations on the allegations against him. And he walks out with a smug smile in the end. So does the movie.
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9. 1408 (2007)
An evil freaking room. And nothing more. Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a writer who has quashed several myths associated with paranormal activities, who travel places and is a non-believer. After venturing into several haunted places and demystifying several fallacies, he decides to check into the Dolphin Hotel’s infamous room number ‘1408’, which is said to have caused several deaths under uncanny circumstances. Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), the hotel manager, denies him the ‘1408’ at first, in exchange for another similar room and a premium booze, but ends up consenting to his request. What follows is Mike’s experience of hallucinations (or so it seems), his repenting and the repercussions. Throughout, the very idea of an imminent threat is chilling.
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8. Fermat’s Room (2007)
Originally a Spanish thriller, an old man named ‘Fermat’ connives to bring four mathematicians together into a room. All four, with their aliases being Galois, Hilbert, Pascal and Oliva arrive at a remotely located room where they are supposed to solve “the greatest enigma”. The movie becomes increasingly claustrophobic as the walls of the room close in for every instance the time limit is crossed. Soon, the four realise they’ve been victims of a sinister plot as they run out of time, space and resources to keep the walls from closing in together. The answer’s behind the question, something that they realise eventually, of course when it’s too late.
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7. The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009)
A rich man’s only daughter Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton) is kidnapped by her boyfriend Danny (Martin Compston) and his crime cohort Vic (Eddie Marsan), in exchange for a ransom. The entire sequence of her kidnapping and the way she’s gagged and cuffed to a bed, naked, in an abandoned room is outright graphic and brutal. Her realisation about the betrayal by her boyfriend further adds to the trauma. Mostly set inside the room where’s she’s held, her agony and anger lasts until her escape from the dire circumstances, after inflicting considerable damage. Serious stuff that’s going to get you on the edge and make you grind your teeth at times.
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6. Panic Room (2002)
It’s called a ‘Panic Room’, says a reassuring voice. A movie all about a fad called the ‘Panic Room’ which is nothing more than a safe room. With a buried phone line, concrete walls and steel doors, the room has been fully equipped to “protect” the residents in case of an intrusion. And guess what happens when such a room is there in a house? Exactly, an intrusion. A group of three intruders enter the house, looking for multi-million in bearer bonds. And a divorced woman Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) are caught up inside the ‘Panic Room’ of their newly purchased four-storeyed house in NYC. As they say, technology quits being on your side when you’re in danger, so it happens.
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5. Exam (2009)
‘Exam’ is probably the only movie in this list which has been entirely set inside a room. It’s about a group of eight people, whose future is in a quandary, thanks to the exam they’re to appear for. The ingivilator leaves in the early minutes with a blank paper on everyone’s desk and three subjective instructions. ‘Exam’ portrays how greed and human instincts know no bounds and any means to the only end can be achieved, with the correct set of people, intent and resources around. Within eighty minutes, one has to come up with the correct answer, for a question that no one’s aware of.
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4. The Hateful Eight (2015)
If you can withstand violence and brilliance together, then this is just the movie for you. Another Tarantino gem with lots of bloodshed and gore. The American Civil War has ended. A group of eight strange men make a stopover at a stagecoach lodge. The movie progresses inside the lodge with mostly shootings, killings, false notions, accusations, suspicions, impositions, revenge and a pile of unrecognisable corpses towards the end. Although the whole lot of it makes sense, this is not for the faint of heart.
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3. The Man from Earth (2007)
Being the only Sci-Fi movie in this list which is set in a room, ‘The Man from Earth’ is spot on for its genre and consistency. Professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith) reveals that he’s been around the planet in disguise for more than fourteen millennia. While sitting in the living room of the professor’s house, during his farewell party, many details emerge on hows and whats and whys. Mostly comprising of monologues and dialogues, this movie explores the “what-ifs” on multiple fronts like historical, biological, anthropological, religious etc. An enduring movie about an ageless “Oldman”.
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2. Room (2015)
My personal favourite, ‘Room’ is no less than an intense emotional saga which runs through a mother’s lifetime. A five-year-old kid Jack (Jacob Tremblay) plays the central character. Though he’s never been introduced to the outside world because of the confines, yet his only friend and acquaintance is his mother and foe, Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). Joy (Brie Larson) is the epitome of motherly sacrifice, who prefers her child’s needs than to her consented rape and oppression from her captor. She fights and conquers the space where she’s been held and plays a hero to the fledgeling Jack. The story of Jack’s escape, his subsist and Joy’s perseverance forms the substance of this movie. Watching ‘Room’ will surely fetch some tears.
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1. 12 Angry Men (1957)
This is unequivocally one of the best courtroom dramas of the century having been set inside a room. A slum-dwelling youth is charged guilty of murdering his own father. The murder trial’s outcome is solely reliant upon the verdict to be proclaimed by a jury consisting of twelve jurors. All the jurors but one initially charge the ghetto youth guilty at their predisposal. The verdict ends up at an impasse between the guilty and non-guilty votes after a couple of ballots. ’12 Angry Men’ is an immortal example of how personal commitments of the jurors combined with selective perception about the ills of the society can lead to distorted judgements, upon the people who hold the courts of justice in high regards. And truth, as they say, always prevails in the end.
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