March 29, 2013 Slideshows

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Top 20 Claustrophobia Movies 

In the new film Detour, Jackson Alder (Neil Hopkins) finds himself trapped by a mudslide inside his car, alone. It takes intense mental control, as well as purposeful distraction, to escape that kind of claustrophobic, panic-inducing situation (View it in iTunes.) So should you ever be in such tight quarters, you'll need plenty of material with which to distract yourself -- such as a list of the most claustrophobic movies to ever come out of Hollywood. By Diana Clarke.
Buried (2010):

Cocky beefcake Ryan Reynolds gets taken down a peg: In Buried, he wakes up in a wooden box, six-feet underground with only 90 minutes to escape (if you were wondering, the movie is 94 minutes). As a civilian truck driver based in Iraq, Reynolds, as Paul Conroy, only has these MacGyver-y tools: a lighter, a flask, a flashlight, a knife, glowsticks, a pen and a mobile phone. You know how people react when their phone only has 20 percent battery life left? Now, imagine that happening to Reynolds in this scenario.
127 Hours (2010):

James Franco plays canyoneer Aron Ralston, whose arm is pinned under a boulder in an isolated stretch of Blue John Canyon in Utah. Desperate to escape, he first tries hacking at the boulder, and then cutting his arm, but neither works. After five days alone, dazed and panicked and seeing visions, Ralston uses torque to break his arm, ties it off with a tourniquet, and saws through it. The freakiest part of the whole thing? It really happened. Ralston wasn't really as attractive as James Franco, though.
Kill Bill Vol. I (2003):

If Ralston's body was trapped, in this Quentin Tarantino film, The Bride (Uma Thurman) is trapped in her own body. The reason she decides to kill Bill is because, at her own wedding, he shoots her in the head after she tells him that she’s pregnant with his child. Though she survives the wound, the Bride spends four comatose years in a hospital, being raped by a worker there and the other men who paid him for the privilege. When she wakes up, she’s angry as hell.
Kill Bill Vol. II (2004):

The Bride gets buried. But in one uplifting scene -- of course -- she jabs her way out of a pine box and digs her way to the surface, finally reaching her hand through fresh dirt, fingers spread apart, like a final move in the dance that is this scene.
The Great Escape (1963):

Also set during World War II, this film follows the true-ish story of a group of Allied prisoners (American, Polish, and British) who break out of an incredibly forbidding Nazi fortress by a laborious and secretive process of tunnel-digging. Despite the escape's ultimate success, a great deal of the flm is shot inside the tight tunnels themselves, full of fear and darkness
The Skin I Live In (El piel que habito) (2011):

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar conjures in Antonio Banderas a cold, calculating surgeon named Robert, on the cutting edge of his field, who holds captive the young woman Vera (Elena Anaya), whose skin he re-forms through illegal experimentation. Locked in a room in Robert's house, Vera has cameras trained on her every move, and Robert is always watching her.
Snakes on a Plane (2006):

No, it's not the inescapable media coverage from the summer of 2006, or the line -- "I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!" -- that you know whether or not you actually saw the film. It's Samuel L. Jackson and a host of other, less interesting human beings trapped on a plane full of snakes!
Das Boot (1981):

Rather than playing out the would-you-rather horror scenarios of other claustrophobic films, this one places a German war photographer on a U-Boat with an inexperienced crew, patrolling for Allied ships, confined by their own minds and fears -- and, of course, underwater.
Cube (1997):

In this surreal Canadian psychological thriller, seven strangers are placed, inexplicably, in a complicated maze of different-colored, cube-shaped rooms, with no way out. Not just explanation and backstory, but the very nature of time is effaced, leaving the characters and the viewer only with a sense of absurd, Kafkaesque entrapment.
Phone Booth (2002):

Colin Farrell plays Stu, an arrogant publicist who gets his comeuppance when he's held hostage in a telephone booth -- where, of course, he's gone to call his mistress -- by a sniper. To make matters worse, he's later accused of murdering a pimp, and becomes the subject of police interrogation. Trapped in his own lies, Stu has to come clean.
The Divide (2012):

Another New York disaster film, The Divide imagines a postapocalyptic Manhattan, and an apartment building where a group of eight residents -- the lone survivors -- are driven to the basement to avoid explosions. Trapped for days with no word from the outside, they begin to turn on one another in tortuous and inescapable ways.
Panic Room (2002):

In this thriller starring Jodie Foster, a mother and her daughter (a young Kristen Stewart) hide in the panic room of their house to escape burglars who have come after hundreds of thousands of dollars in the safe. Over the course of the night that they're hidden, Foster's diabetic daughter's health fades. and Foster must try to retrieve her daughter's medication from out in the house without being caught. Not even her own home is safe any more, and the safest place looks like it could mean death.
Blackout (2008):

Claudia (Amber Tamblyn) is in the hospital to visit her dying grandmother, when a power outage leaves her stuck in an elevator with a bunch of strangers. She's so close to losing this woman, who's terribly important to her, but the dire situation soon distracts; the doctor who's also in the elevator turns out to be psychotic, and it starts to seem likely that Claudia will meet her end before her grandmother does.
Contagion (2011):

On a tryst with an old boyfriend, Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) contracts what she thinks is a cold, only to discover, back home with her family, that it's a pathological infection of the nervous system, and it kills her. Her husband Mitch (Matt Damon) soon learns that the virus is spreading across the country, and that the entire country is quarantined -- but the most immediate threat for him and his daughter is looting and violence, the chaos ensuing from people's panic and fear. Mitch, it turns out, is immune to the virus, and it's up to him to suppress his sorrow and find a cure.
Argo (2012):

In some ways it's hard to feel sorry for the American journalists under house arrest in Tehran in 1979; their host is the suave Canadian diplomat (Victor Garber) and his house is swank. But the journalists know that if any one of them were to venture outdoors, their cover would be blown and all of them killed, and that their host is risking his life as long as they stay. But when Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), a CIA exfiltration specialist, comes to break them out with a wacky Hollywood scheme of disguise, it becomes clear that the journalists are now trapped by their own fears as much as anything else.
Apollo 13 (1995):

Tom Hanks is among the crew of the first spacecraft to land on the moon, in 1969. For all the extraterrestrial adventure, the majority of the film takes place in the tiny cabin of the Apollo 13 itself, which becomes especially terrifying on its return to earth, when it becomes clear that the spacecraft has run out of power, and that the three astronauts aboard might never come home.
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009):

The German Dr. Joseph Heiter offers to help two American tourists stranded by a flat tire -- but in a classic horror movie trope, they never leave his house. Instead, he uses them as part of a sick science experiment, in which he surgically connects them, along with a third captive, mouth-to-anus, creating one long digestive tract. Even when this perverse bodily invasion ends, the doctor has warped his captives in lasting ways.
Being John Malkovich (1999):

The ceilings are getting lower, and his friends have found a back door into John Malkovich's mind. Once inside the tunnel, his friends can control him -- and once they're inside you there's nowhere left to run.
Enter the Void (2009):

This avant-garde French film doesn't give you the room to appreciate its artistry, instead launching you into a first-person view of neon, drug-warped Tokyo. For a city so expansive, it seems to be always pressing in on the paranoid Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), who's been shot by the police. By the time the film concludes, with a first-person view from inside a vagina, during intercourse, and pulsing, seizure-inducing flickers of light and color, the film's claustrophobia will have invaded and overwhelmed the viewer's senses.
Fermat's Room (2008):

This Spanish film engages in a kind of terrifying absurdity, as the mysterious Fermay invites three mathematicians and one scientist  to a house under pretenses of an intellectual gathering, only to lock them in a room. And it does turn out to be a convergence of intellectual intensity; only by using their minds to solve the puzzles Fernet has provided will the guests escape before their brains are crushed by the slowly encroaching walls of the room.
1/20
Buried (2010):

Cocky beefcake Ryan Reynolds gets taken down a peg: In Buried, he wakes up in a wooden box, six-feet underground with only 90 minutes to escape (if you were wondering, the movie is 94 minutes). As a civilian truck driver based in Iraq, Reynolds, as Paul Conroy, only has these MacGyver-y tools: a lighter, a flask, a flashlight, a knife, glowsticks, a pen and a mobile phone. You know how people react when their phone only has 20 percent battery life left? Now, imagine that happening to Reynolds in this scenario.
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