12 Movies Even More Locked Down Than You


So you think you’re suffocating, need to get out of your home and get away? Others have it worse in the movies. Obviously ‘Saw’ and ‘The Evil Dead’ will make you feel positively liberated by comparison but there are plenty of other Lockdown movies to choose from, if you’d care to experience some schadenfreude. This dozen came from the top of my head – there are hundreds more so-called ‘precinct’ movies with a single location.

Panic Room

Jodie Foster is locked inside her panic room in a nail-biter from David Fincher


A group awake inside a series of small cubes hiding lethal traps. Skip the sequel, go to the 3-quel, Cube Zero.

Fermat’s Room

A group find themselves in a room solving science puzzles to stay alive – Spanish thriller

Session 9

Workers clearing asbestos from a closed-down asylum start to get cabin fever

Cabin Fever

A group of friends become infected in a cabin

The Belkin Experiment

Business staff are locked in their office overnight in a dawn-to-dusk survival game

The Funhouse

From Tobe Hooper, four friends get locked in a funhouse with a carnival freak

Escape Room

A group awakes to find they’re in a lethal escape room game. Sequel on the way.

The Collector

Burglars bite off more than they can handle when an ex-vet locks them in his house


Students on a stalled ski-lift are trapped above wolves in a blizzard in freezing temperatures



Job applicants find themselves trapped in their interview room with blank question papers.


22 comments on “12 Movies Even More Locked Down Than You”

  1. Porl says:

    Just revisited Funhouse the other night, a favourite from the dodgy VHS corner shop “please can i get this even though im only 12 thanks” days!
    Also I guess all that “terrorised in your own home” genre touches on lockdown – way back with Last House On The Left / I Spit On Your Grave, thru Funny Games to The Strangers….

  2. Roger says:

    Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel is an obvious v=candidate.
    Isn’t nearly every POW or prison film a Lockdown movie?

  3. davem says:

    Some good ones there, but The Cube is excellent … don’t know about Cube Zero … thanks

  4. Kristina says:

    Session 9 (both versions) is a great creepy movie. Slow burner but the tension build is fantastic 🙂

  5. Hitchcock’s Lifeboat and Redford’s All Is Lost have people trapped on tiny boats but Buried (not seen) apparently takes place entirely in a coffin and may be the smallest setting for a film ?

    Slightly off the point : Tom Hardy isn’t trapped in Locke but the whole film takes place inside a small car at night and feels very claustrophobic.

  6. Helen Martin says:

    Not a movie but I used to feel claustrophobia while watching it is The Prisoner.I’m mildly that way anyhow but it sure brought it out. One thing about a number of these films is how the characters get into the situation in the first place. A lifeboat setting is obvious and requires almost no explanation but “…awoke to find themselves” would certainly make me wonder. You don’t “find yourself” you do something to place yourself there, although I’ll grant you the “lost in the dark forest, stumbling into a cave” where you wake to find yourself… but there has to be a cause otherwise you’re dealing with a cruel villain who sets traps and even that changes the narrative. It doesn’t stand on its own.

  7. Linda Fulcher says:

    Just wanted to thank you for your wonderful and hilarious books. They’re keeping me sane.

  8. snowy says:

    There are lots of these, depending on how flexible you allow the definition to be.

    Devil [2010] Supernatural whodunit set in a malfunctioning lift.

    Phone Booth [2003] A man is imprisoned in a phone box by a voice on the line.
    [See also El Cabina]

    Killing Room [2009] Four people apply to be part of a psychological experiment.

    Unknown [2006] Five men wake up in a locked warehouse, with no memory of who they are or how they got there.

    Inside Man [2006] Bank robbers are surrounded by the police, how can they get out?

  9. Wayne Mook says:

    I think with Frozen I’ll just let it go. Some good films there.

    Stuck I take it is about Stephen Rea stuck in a car windscreen, it’s based on a true story, just be careful crossing the road. It’s also one of the 2 films from the Amicus revival, the other wasn’t a UK film even in part so doesn’t count.

    Old Dark House, the Rene Clair version of And Then There Were None. 127 Hours is a barrel of fun. The original Saw before the series became torture porn.

    Suddenly from the 50’s where assassin’s keep a family hostage.

    Seven days to Noon shows an empty London, as does Day of the Triffids. 28 Days Later also.

    Night of the Living Dead and many other zombie films fit the bill. Shaun of the Dead for holing up in a pub, nostalgia and prescience all in one, I wonder if they get the future of retail right.

    ATM is a small group trapped by a sniper film.

    I actually watched Corman’s masque of Red Death, splendid and almost plotless film, looks wonderful with plenty of atmosphere.

    I could go on but I’ll stop now.


  10. Jan says:

    Helen are you talking about the Patrick Mcgoohan (if that’s how you spell his surname. I can ‘t remember how it gos) tv series?

    The one shot in Port Merion on the Lyn Pensinsula in N Wales. Think it would have been l8 1960s into early 1970s. If you are -and I think you must be- it’s funny there’s something in that show the way the cameras were angled for lots of the outdoor shots, and some of the perspectives used that really are claustrophobia inducing. The perspectives really throw you off balance and it seem to have been be designed to make the viewer uncomfortable. It was very cleverly done and never done better on telly except for a few episodes of “Tales of the Unexpected” maybe.

    Thing is when you actually visit Port Merion its quite strange you sort of recognise the place but instead of a true memory view its almost like when you get there you feel “Oh I had a nightmare about this place” Although the features of the place chime in your memory you realise your vision was very skewed..

    Actually is a lovely spot I visited in the mid 1970s when a group of us from Worsley Tech went on a walking/climbing weekend in Snowdonia National park. We went over to the Lyn b4 returning to Manchester. At that time it was very faded and well past its former glory but I sort of really liked it’s faded glamour. Thought it was beautiful. Now it’s been thoroughly twinked up and is very shiny new looking. Still good though.

  11. Paul Graham says:

    Good Lord Jan, are you a Walkden girl? All this time I had no idea! From Little Hilton myself, but please don’t hold that against me.

  12. Ian Luck says:

    Jan – I adore ‘The Prisoner’. I was four in 1967 when it was first broadcast, and it was, for the time, so ‘out there’, that I was not allowed to watch it. I first saw it when I was about 20, which, I realise, is the perfect age to watch it. It’s a beautiful confection, with layers like an onion – you can watch it as a superb (but competely and utterly hatstand) TV adventure, which, apart from a few episodes, can be watched in any order. Does it end? Who knows, as the hearse is waiting as he gets home, at the end of ‘Fall Out’ the last episode, which came close to big trouble for Patrick McGoohan (wisely, he was away on holiday at the time). When asked what it was about, he answered that it was about anything you wanted it to be about. Not very helpful answer, but, in the context of the show, the perfect answer.
    Be Seeing You!

  13. Jan says:

    Paul bloody hell Little Hulton! I used to walk through there late on. Small world really.

    Didn’t crazy Eric Cantona live that way on somewhere all the other United players choosing to live in some millionaires bit of Cheshire but Mr. Cantona choosing somewhere else entirely. Some quite ordinary road where he used to play football with the local youngsters? You had to like him really… …..I lived in Walkden for about a year decades back whilst I was @ the Tech and had a job round there. Lived above a greengrocers which was really handy there being always quite healthy grub availiable! Mind there was a really good chippy round the corner.

    Still got rellies living in Eccles not that far from the East Lancs Road and in Sale. I’m from Irlam originally. Not been back for a couple of years but every time I go back it’s always a right surprise all this new development on the Moss and this integrated transport system they were on about creating using the Manchester Ship this new railway being built (Or perhaps now NOT being built!)and all the warehouse capacity. Even the Trafford centre development has brought about a lot of change and Manchester itself being radically changed since I’ve been gone. Which is a long old time.

    Ian I never really got “The Prisoner” at all to be honest. I’ve read before about its being a complex allegory of something or other but this all slid past me as a kid. My dad used to really like “Dangerman” which was the show Mcgoohan was in prior to “The Prisoner” I think the P.being a reprise if the same character he played in Dangerman but dealing with the consequences of his being captured as a spy and (looking back with stuff I have realised since) it was difficult to work out whether this was his debrief organised by nutters on his own side of a wayward interrogation being organised by the other set of nutters.

    All I remember really was my mam and dad being a bit bewildered about what was going on with the show which they seemed to feel was both rubbish and interesting at the same time. I suppose it was a very interesting time in 1960s telly that this programme was made in the first place. The Avengers was similarly surreal. I think I probably preferred the Avengers cos I sort of twigged that John Steed was taking the female role traditional for that sort of a set up whilst Honor Blackmans character later to be Emma Peel took on the male role. Even as a kid you could see the gender stereotypes had been thrown off. Me dad though that Mcgoohan was a good actor he took off a good action Man type role. He went to the states didn’t he and turned up in various shows but I dunno if he ever really fronted a major series again. Wasn’t he in “Ice Station Zebra” and a few other pictures? He had a great voice Mr. M. really lovely voice.

    I always got the impression from him that he sort of disliked the sort of tv he was acting in. There was something about him that always made me feel he was rolling his eyes and subscribing to the view that this is crap. Maybe he should have just done voiceovers with his lovely voice.

  14. Jan says:

    Last night at work I ended up having a really easy last half hour or so and on itv there was a show( i think it was “The Village!”) about Port Merion on. It is very beautifully kept now spectacular. It was a strange project really that the architect (they did give his name but I forgot it ) dreamed up.

    THEN to do something even madder the locals invented that bloody awful thick pottery stuff with pictures of ‘orrible plants crawling all round it. Like triffid plants crawling round the plates, cups and bowls bloody awful things. One of my best mates from London used to collect the bloody dreadful stuff and I bought tons of it for her over the years. Wedding presents. Birthdays and Xmases. Always detested the effing stuff. Finally found a shop in Kensington Church street where they sold Port Merion pottery seconds relatively cheaply. Trust me this stuff was that dreadful you could never tell whether you were dealing with 2nds or not deliberately or accidentally awful no big difference.

    I supposed the naff awful stuff sort of subsidised the village

  15. Brian Evans says:

    Jan, I just googled it, and it doesn’t seem to me as bad as you think it is, but I don’t think I would want to give it house room.

    I went to the Port Merion some years ago. I never saw “The Prisoner” so was bit surprised about how different it was from my expectations. I didn’t realise is was so theme-parky. I though it was a proper village with a few quaint buildings mingled in.

  16. Peter Dixon says:

    Jan, McGoohan moved to America (or possibly Canada) and worked in theatre where he produced and directed.
    He guested in lots of movies to make money but he most memorably turned up in a number of Columbo episodes (as a villain) which he also directed.

  17. Jan says:

    oh Brian it’s awful …mind you what really got my goat was the terrible l price of the lurid stuff.

    Once I found the seconds shop iit l considerably lessened the blow!

  18. Jan says:

    Peter you know I CAN remember at least one of those episode of Columbo which he was in …..I never realised he was also the durector.

  19. Ian Luck says:

    The creator of Portmeirion Village was one Sir Clough Williams Ellis, who, after being in the military, spent his life creating, as he said it, “A home for retired Gentlebuildings’. All the buildings were rescued from demolition from all over the place, which is why the place looks so deliciously odd. Number 2’s residence (The green dome) was once a fire station, I believe.

  20. Jan says:

    Were the buildings actually rebuilds Ian? Removed from one location and reconstructed @ Port Merion?

    There was a church in NW9 that in the 1920s after being found surplus to requirements was actually deconstructed virtually brick by brick from Holborn close to City I think (but could have been nearer the West End) and rebuilt on the outskirts of what was then a semi rural Wembley Park. Where due to the changeover in the make up of the local population it is gradually becoming redundant once more…

  21. Helen Martin says:

    I make one casual reference to a tv series (yes, you’re correct, Jan) and look what happens! My Mother had some Portmeirion ware plates and I liked them. Looked the outfit up on google and liked the mugs, too. It says they were made in Stoke-on-Trent, though. Now I have to look up Patrick McG because there’s something familiar there.

  22. Ian Luck says:

    Jan – Sir Clough Williams-Ellis rescued buildings under threat. He was tremendously serious about it. I don’t have any books on follies in my possession at the present time, but I did have one that mentioned that when Sir CW-E got married, his old regiment asked him what he would like for a wedding present. He told them that there was a church tower somewhere that was going to be demolished, that he rather fancied… What the soon to be Lady CW-E thought of this is unrecorded. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis met Patrick McGoohan whilst filming ‘The Prisoner’, and apparently, they got on very well.
    But yes (I’ve wandered again), Sir CW-E would purchase endangered buildings, have them sympathetically dismantled, and have them re-erected on his land at Portmeirion. Some look so strange, as they are sometimes two different buildings joined together – he often bought columns, facades, cloisters, even from all over, which he put together to make a pleasing whole. I have read that some people are disturbed by the odd ‘psychetecture’ of the place. On my sole visit so far, many years ago now, I found it an utter delight. We had some of that pottery – it’s far too ‘busy’, to my mind, and it ‘accidentally on purpose’ fell into the bin, when I was getting rid of some of mum’s stuff after she died.

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