20 Most Claustrophobic Movies Ever
The Vanishing (1988)
Director George Sluizer's original 1988 Dutch version (not his inferior American remake) is a great chiller, with one of the creepiest, most disturbing endings of all time.
Taste of Cherry (1997)
Abbas Kiarostami's masterpiece takes place entirely inside a taxi, as a Tehran cabbie tries to persuade various passengers to help him violate Islamic taboo and commit suicide. Not depressing at all, though; it's a movie that actually affirms a belief in life and art.
Das Boot (1981)
Best. Submarine. Movie. Ever.
Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, imprisoned on Devil's Island. A must-see.
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
No one does claustrophobia like Edgar Allan Poe, and no one does Poe like Roger Corman and Vincent Price.
Panic Room (2002)
After this movie, you'd think Jodie Foster would have gotten the whole fighting-for-my-daughter's-life-in-a-tight-space thing out of her system...
A jetliner, no matter how jumbo, is only so big when your little girl is missing.
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Alfred Hitchcock's classic is the obvious inspiration for Flightplan's missing-child plot, except it takes place on a moving train.
It's a lesser-known Hitchcock film, but similarly compelling: Nine people from various walks of life struggling to survive in a tiny craft.
The Cube (1980)
A 25x25x25 death trap that's the end of the line for those within.
Phone Booth (2002)
Those old-school telephone booths with the accordion doors may have clear walls but try being forced to stay in there for hours with Kiefer Sutherland's voice taunting and terrorizing you.
Apollo 13 (1995)
What could be more terrifying than watching three men stuck in a tiny lunar module floating through outer space while everything goes wrong? Probably being one of the men who actually went through that.
Our critic Lisa Schwarzbaum said it all in her original review: ''In the handsome, haunting submarine thriller Below, the usual perils of deep-sea maneuvers are heightened by psychic unraveling, as the men of the USS Tiger Shark, lurking in the mid-Atlantic looking for German U-boats during World War II, lose their grip on what's real and what's hallucination.''
The Hole (2001)
Reckless teenage fun turns to terror as four kids are trapped in an underground bomb shelter.
Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and Uma Thurman are the only actors in this Richard Linklater movie, and they never leave a seedy motel room — which would be claustrophobic enough even without the heavy confessional structure.
Neil Marshall's terror-below spelunking thriller was also thoughtfully postfeminist. But that claustrophobic cave deep in the Appalachian Mountains really stole the show.
The Abyss (1989)
It may be a slow movie, but the dark, sharp corridors of the underwater submersible heading to the bottom of the ocean serve the pacing and the story well.
Watching a makeshift society breakdown around you within the confines of a mental hospital and being the only one to actually see it happening? Terrifying.
A unique vision of war, as four Israeli soldiers roll through the war-torn streets of Lebanon in their armored tank.
One room. One maniac dictating your every move. 'Nuff said.