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4 great claustrophobic thrillers you can stream right now

A man looks on as a party happens behind him in The Invitation.
Drafthouse Films

Movies that focus on people or groups trapped in a single location tend to be thrillers or horror movies. The characters start in a setting they at least have some sense of comfort in – but as their reality sets in, that comfort slowly fades to panic, and their location begins to transform into a prison. It’s a setup guaranteed to racket up the tension and one used by directors as old as Alfred Hitchcock and as modern as David Fincher.

Yet there are a lot of movies like these out there that aren’t all that great. Fortunately, Digital Trends has picked four feature films showing how much depth and originality these single-location movies can have. From an awkward dinner party that devolves into violence to a deep-sea mining rig terrorized by an unknown creature, these claustrophobic thrillers are sure to entertain and frighten you.

Green Room (2015)

A man points a gun in a crowded room in Green Room.

Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room focuses on a small-time punk band desperate for a gig – anything to get themselves in front of an audience and money in their pockets. Due to issues with a local promoter, they accept a last-minute show at a secluded bar outside of Portland.  After a band member witnesses the aftermath of a crime, the band must seek refuge in the green room of the venue in an effort to survive the night. Each member of the band is uniquely relatable on a personal level, from their musical interests to how they react to their newfound hopeless situation. It’s David vs. Goliath as the band tries to escape the cramped room with a militia waiting outside.

Punctuated by an unexpected and effective lead villain performance by Star Trek veteran Patrick Stewart, the movie grabs hold and never lets go. The movie’s 95-minute run time is fast-paced, with no filler to make the experience as frightening as possible. As a warning, the movie is violent, with top-notch practical effects that will make even the most seasoned horror fan squirm. If you are looking for a true check-your-BPM experience, Green Room is the film for you.

You can stream Green Room on Hulu+Cinemax or Roku Channel.

Leviathan (1989)

Two men look at a monster in Leviathan.

George P. Cosmatos’ Leviathan focuses on deep-sea miners nearing the end of their scheduled work cycle. The group stumbles upon a sunken Russian ship that has somehow disappeared from all record and shows no signs of life. With limited information pulled from the wreckage, the team has to juggle playing detective while still sticking to the job they are assigned to finish. As a few of them grow ill, it is clear the ship may not have been as lifeless as they thought. Led by Peter Weller’s Steven Beck, the team splits up and is hunted one by one like its 80’s predecessors.

One half Alien and one half The Thing, Leviathan takes inspiration and runs with it for a familiar experience that still feels fresh. With a location as claustrophobic as Alien’s Nostromo spaceship and practical creature effects that are reminiscent of The Thing, Leviathan builds a harrowing world of its own. Assured to make you feel grossed out, fearful, and even evoke a few laughs, Leviathan has something for everyone.

You can watch Leviathan on Max.

The Invitation (2015)

People sit at a table in The Invitation.
Drafthouse Films

Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation flips the “trapped” premise on its head by ditching a physical force stopping people from leaving and swapping out traditional fear for social anxiety. The film centers around Will and his girlfriend as they attend a dinner party with old friends at his ex-wife’s house. Already burdened by the memories of his past relationship, Will goes into the night already on the outs.

The night slowly moves from a normal party into what seems like a pitch meeting by Will’s ex-wife and her new partner for a new cult. As Will’s discomfort grows, so will yours, as the other guests pressure him to quell his fears and stop being a downer. Tension and fear slowly build as you wonder whether leaving the house is an excruciating faux pas or if he really is stuck.

A true slow burn, The Invitation sits you at the table of a horrifying dinner party in more ways than one, pushing the one-place dynamic in a new direction and making the escape one that is just as emotionally focused as it is physically suffocating.

You can watch The Invitation on Peacock or Freevee.

Last Shift (2014)

Girls with masks from Last Shift
Magnolia Pictures

Anthony DiBlasi’s Last Shift does the most with the least, ultimately making it the scariest of the bunch. The film’s protagonist is a rookie police officer, Jennifer, who is tasked with working the last shift of an outdated police station. With strict orders to never leave the station under any circumstances, Jennifer’s commitment to her job and her father’s own police legacy adds additional barriers to her exit.

Alone in the station, Jennifer begins to experience both physical and spiritual scares to question whether keeping her post that night is the right thing to do. Her commitment to the job is tested as the mystery behind the station closing unravels, revealing that her family may be more involved than she could have ever thought.

Last Shift pushes its small budget to the max with plenty of jump scares and eerie build-ups to satiate any horror fan desires – a hidden gem that will ensure you won’t want to work an overnight alone any time soon.

You can watch Last Shift on Peacock or Tubi.

Editors' Recommendations

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