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5 Chamber Films Occurring In (Mostly) One Place (Including Glorious)

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With the recent release of Shudder’s Glorious, it seems like a good time to take a look back at the other films that take place in one place. Like their smaller screen counterparts, these so-called chamber films take place in mostly one location, saving on budget and having to find unique and interesting ways of keeping the story moving and interesting.

Prevalent in horror and to a lesser regard action films, there’s the occasional film outside these genres that take the same approach, and here we’ll have a good mixture with varying success.

Glorious (2022)

glorious movie review 2022
Ryan Kwanten as Wes.

“A heartbroken man finds himself trapped in a bathroom with a strange voice who says he may be the only hope in stopping a terrible event.”

The most recent addition to the chamber film genre, Glorious stars Ryan Kwanten of True Blood fame as Wes, a recently single man who’s on a drive with all of his possessions, who pulls into a highway rest stop. Spending the next few minutes bitter and self-pitying over his recent breakup, he passes out drunk in the parking lot, before waking the next morning and entering the rest-stop bathroom. This is where the next seventy-odd minutes of the film take place.

Related: Glorious Review: Bloody, Shocking and… GLORIOUS

With a disembodied J.K Simmons talking to him through a glory hole in the stall wall, Kwanten finds himself locked in the bathroom, with no company other than the Lovecraftian monster hidden next door. Bizarre, definitely unique, and unlike anything else you’ll watch this year, Glorious is the definition of a chamber film that’ll keep you guessing.

Saw (2004)

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Leigh Whannell (left) and Cary Elwes (right).

“Two men awaken to find themselves on the opposite sides of a dead body, each with specific instructions to kill the other or face consequences. These two are the latest victims of the Jigsaw Killer.”

One of the films that started the ‘torture porn’ craze which included the Hostel trilogy, the Saw franchise, and more, the original Saw is as much of a thriller as it is gratuitous bodily violence, unlike its successors.

Writer Leigh Whannell stars as one of the two men who wake up, finding themselves chained to a pipe by their ankles, with little to no knowledge as to who the other is, why they’re there, or how to get out. At least, that’s how the film portrays that. Throughout the film, things come to light that shows Whannell’s Adam Faulkner-Stanheight knows Cary Elwes’ Dr. Lawrence Gordon, a little more than he’s letting on.

Predominantly Saw is set in the dilapidated bathroom the two stars wake up in, but the B-plot of the film follows two cops as they investigate the Jigsaw killer, who kidnaps his victims and forces them to play his sick games under the guise of teaching them life lessons. If you somehow haven’t seen it this year and have a strong stomach, give it a watch.

Die Hard (1988)

chamber films
Bruce Willis as John McClane

“An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.”

One of the best action films to date, and a Christmas film to boot (regardless of what Bruce Willis says), Die Hard is another chamber film that features one character forced into a situation that they need to get themselves out of. In the breakout feature film for Bruce Willis, he plays the now household character of John McClane, who turns up in Los Angeles to meet up with his estranged wife, with the hope of making amends.

Related: ‘A True Blue Action Star’: Bruce Willis Returns to Nakatomi Plaza To Celebrate 34 Years of Die Hard Despite Diagnosed With Aphasia

As with any chamber film, of course, an unlikely scenario gets in the way of this, and in Die Hard, it’s German thieves led by the late Alan Rickman, who plays the enigmatic Hans Gruber. Featuring some of the most iconic action shots of the genre, and that quote from McClane, the film spawned four sequels, and soon a prequel.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

chamber films
Steve Buscemi (left) and Michael Madsen (right).

“When a simple jewelry heist goes horribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.”

Widely regarded as one of Quentin Tarantino’s best films, Reservoir Dogs stars an ensemble cast including the likes of Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, and Steve Buscemi, the film follows a group of criminals as they execute a bank heist, and then when it goes wrong, spend their time in a warehouse, some injured, some dead, and some tortured as they attempt to find out if one of them is a police informant.

One of the few modern-day directors that can write compelling dialogue true to his characters, Tarantino crafts this film with a fine line between the dialogue pushing the story, and his trademark over-the-top violence. It also changed ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ by Stealers Wheel for an entire generation.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

chamber films
The Cast of ‘The Breakfast Club’.

“Five high school students meet in Saturday detention and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.”

Set primarily in the detention room of a high school, five high school students from completely different backgrounds and social cliques, The Breakfast Club is directed by John Hughes, the go-to writer/director of the coming-of-age, fish out of water story.

Starring early performances of the likes of Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Judd Nelson, among others, it very well could have been a boring movie, however, it’s quite the opposite. Arguments, fights, romances, and an iconic dance sequence during the film bring the five strangers together, and by the end, you’ll find yourself a little melancholic, uplifted, and with wonder about how their stories continued after the credits close.

Honorable Mentions

There’s a considerable amount of films that could have gone on this list, but I’d be doing a disservice not to mention 12 Angry Men. Set during the deliberations of a jury on a murder case involving an eighteen-year-old boy, you’ll find yourself swapping sides as to guilty or not throughout the film.

The other honorable mention goes to Ryan Reynolds Buried. Typically a Hollywood funny man, this film, whilst not amazing, showcases he can in fact act, at least, more so than cracking jokes. Set entirely in a coffin buried under the ground, the race is on for Reynolds’ character to try and escape before he perishes. What other chamber films would you have added to the list?

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Written by Luke Addison

Luke Addison is a writer for Fandomwire. He's an avid consumer of all things movie, TV, comics and gaming, especially Marvel.

Insta: @callmeafilmnerd
Twitter: @callmeafilmnerd