5 movies that make you feel extremely claustrophobic

Posted June 15

Ryan Reynolds in Buried (2010) (Deseret Photo)

TIGHT SPACES — Many people have an issue with tight spaces and have to learn to live with claustrophobia.

Hollywood is well aware of this and loves to take advantage of our fears. Claustrophobia-inducing movies have been around for a long time, and this weekend, we get a movie that couples that fear with sharks in “47 Meters Down.”

With the release of the new shark/enclosed spaces flick headed to theaters, I thought it was a good time to take a look at five of the greatest claustrophobic movies of all time:

10 Cloverfield Lane”

I have used this movie in several lists and there is a reason why — it’s a fantastic movie. I don’t want to give away much plot if you haven’t seen it, but suffice it to say, the entire film takes place in a small underground bunker where three people who do not trust each other need to try and survive.

The movie somehow makes the space seem to grow and gives you a breath of fresh air only to rip it back out of your lungs as you feel the walls close in around you. This movie is a brilliant thriller that will make anyone who is uneasy about tight spaces squirm.


The movie “Devil” has its fair share of issues, but overall, it’s a solid little horror film that jams a group of people onto a stuck elevator and one of them just happens to be the devil.

The four walls of the elevator are tight to begin with and just get tighter and tighter as the space fills up with bodies and horror. Once this movie is over, you’ll look forward to stepping outside and getting a good stretch.

127 Hours

The true story of Aron Rolston is a squirmfest and a nightmare for those with a fear of small spaces. James Franco stars as Rolston who famously got his arm trapped under a boulder in southern Utah. The movie occasionally shows flashbacks and flash-forwards of better times, but the majority of the film takes place in the small slot canyon and you feel enclosed and trapped for the entire run time.

“127 Hours” is rated R for language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images. There is one scene in particular (most of you know what I’m talking about) that is not for the faint of heart.

12 Angry Men

Twelve men, one room and a man’s life in the balance — that’s what you get from “12 Angry Men.”

I absolutely love this movie despite the fact that all it is for an hour and 36 minutes is 12 men arguing in one small and hot room. The movie is brilliantly acted and you can almost feel the sweltering heat and confines of the small room while watching these men deliberate the fate of a man on trial for murder. The movie will make you physically uncomfortable as these men deal with the heat and the deliberation room, and I personally loved every minute of it.


Out of everything on the list, “Buried” undoubtedly takes the cake. The Ryan Reynolds movie is one hour and 35 minutes long and the entire thing literally takes place inside a coffin buried underground. Anyone with the slightest hint of claustrophobia might very well lose his or her mind watching this film.

Reynolds stars as a U.S. truck driver working in Iraq. Following an attack, Reynolds wakes up in a coffin buried underground with a lighter and a cellphone and no idea of where he is or why he’s there.

The movie is Hitchcockian to its core and never lets up on its theme. Every single shot takes place inside the coffin, but somehow director Rodrigo Cortes keeps the movie interesting and exciting despite the cramped space.

Once the credits rolled, I just sat and stared at the screen stunned with what I had just watched. I also made sure to open my windows when I went to bed that night. Also, if you think you can handle “Buried” make sure to watch until the end of the credits.

“Buried” is rated R for language and some violent content.

What other movies trigger your claustrophobia? Let us know in the comments.

John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. John also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome and it just so happens that these are the three things he writes about.


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