Updated: Apr 24
This isolation has been taking a toll on us; we’ve already played enough Call of Duty and watched enough Netflix for one lifetime (I still refuse to watch Tiger King) but being stuck at home isn’t all that bad compared to the alternatives. In fact, being stuck at home has gotten me in the mood for some great '‘trapped in one place'’ films, seeing how others dealt with their own predicament (spoiler: they usually go insane, but to be fair they’re dealing with the worst kind of psychological and supernatural horrors, and I’m sitting here trying to decide which television show to watch).
Here are some of my favorite isolation-themed horror movies to watch while stuck at home.
This is a film that I skipped over when it first came out. It’s about an angsty young adult who gets sentenced to house arrest in her childhood home for eight months. She thinks her punishment can’t get any worse until she starts hearing and experiencing strange things in the house. I decided to watch this film due to the current global situation and I loved it. It’s a great little New Zealand dark comedy and I happen to love their humor unconditionally (see: Braindead and What We Do In The Shadows).
CABIN FEVER (2002)
This Eli Roth farce seems like the obvious choice here, because it is. Don’t get me wrong, this film is dated as hell and Eli Roth has some questionable movies, but this one is still a favorite of mine. Say what you want but you won’t leave this film thinking it’s that absurd. They really nail the paranoia and chaos that comes from the introduction of an unknown disease that spreads from human to human.
This is another film I recently added to my watched list from my home quarantine. The entirety of this movie takes place in one “room” or maybe we can say “rooms”. It’s about a group of people who wake up trapped inside of a cube, navigating each identical space while trying to escape without catching a booby trap. This film gave me extreme claustrophobia.
MY SOUL TO KEEP (2019)
I was actually lucky enough to catch this film at the Horror Hotel film festival in Ohio last year. Unfortunately, the audience for this film was pretty bare, but I was really happy that I got to see it. The film follows a 9 years old boy and his quest to rid his house of the monster living in his basement, as his parents refuse to believe him. It’s a very low budget indie flick, but the cinematography is very dreamlike and the ending was actually surprising! I would recommend checking this out.
REC is a Spanish found footage horror film about a television film crew that becomes quarantined in an apartment building after a virus outbreak inside. If you can get over the found footage aspect, this film is fantastic and anxiety inducing. It might even hit too close to home considering what we’re going through right now, but at least our virus doesn’t do… that (I don’t want to give too much away). If you don’t feel like reading subtitles, you could watch the astutely titled remake “Quarantine” -- but give this one a try. THE SHINING (1980)
We all feel a little bit like Jack Torrance right now, don’t we? Except if you’ve been forced to stop working like I have, it’s all play no work, and I gotta say I think I’d rather be out working right now. Either way, The Shining is one of the best ‘'cabin fever'’ films ever made. Jack Nicholson really nails what it’s like to mentally unravel and go stir crazy (or he’s just being himself, I can’t really tell). I shouldn’t have to say more about this film; give it a re-watch and see how much you actually relate to his character nowadays.
THE MIST (2007)
Speaking of Stephen King, Frank Darabont’s The Mist will go down as one of the only genuinely great King adaptations. The film follows a man and his son as they become trapped in a supermarket with strangers as their town becomes consumed by a strange mist. Swap “mist” for virus and suddenly our situations aren’t so different; except for the bloodthirsty creatures of course, but have you tried to go out there and buy toilet paper recently? Not so unfamiliar after all. If you haven’t seen it yet, I don’t want to give too much away, but this film has one of the most haunting endings of all time.
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (2016)
This is actually a movie I didn’t really enjoy when it came out. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, but I didn’t like the after-the-fact metamorphosis into a Cloverfield film. However, the premise of being involuntarily locked in a bunker under threat of the apocalypse is somehow more engaging to me nowadays. This film actually plays into that really well, making the viewer frustrated for the characters in their predicament. I’d definitely give this one a watch -- it will make you feel better about your own situation since we can at least still go outside for a walk or drive.
THE VOID (2017)
The Void is a great Canadian indie feature about a group of people who become trapped in a hospital which may or may not be a gateway to an evil dimension. This one is for you Lovecraft fans out there who have nightmares about demonic, tentacled creatures hiding in the darkest corners of your house. Thankfully, the worst I have in my house are a bunch of horror movie posters and prop replicas so I’m not too afraid… but, you never know.
THE THING (1982)
I’m going to cap this list off with The Thing because there’s no way that I, nor anyone for that matter, could make a list of isolation-themed horror flicks without including this masterpiece. The only thing worse than being helplessly trapped inside a place is being trapped with a shape-shifting evil that can take over your friends, family, or even yourself without even knowing it. Does that sound familiar? We know the incubation period for Covid-19 can be up to 2 weeks, so it could be entirely possible that you or your family has picked up the virus and you don’t even know it yet, while silently infecting those around you. How could you trust anyone?
If I missed anything or you have any recommendations, please let us know! I couldn’t include every film on this list but honourable mentions include: Alien, Night of the Living Dead, The Descent, Don’t Breathe, Man Vs., Devil, Evil Dead, and Grave Encounters. Follow us at @screechernet.