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Movies That Will Drive Anyone With Claustrophobia To The Edge

Updated October 1, 2019 4.6k votes 639 voters 15.3k views15 items

List RulesVote up the films that spike your claustrophobia the most.

Plenty of horror films have been described as "claustrophobic" over the years, but for people who actually experience claustrophobia - the fear of enclosed or narrow spaces - some movies are unwatchable. Phobias are often used as inspiration for films that seek to incite fear, whether that's an aversion to holes or terror inspired by the open ocean. These movies to avoid if you have claustrophobia are likely to incite nightmares or worse.

If you have claustrophobia, you may find just reading about some of these flicks to be an uncomfortable experience. The best claustrophobic movies are quite terrifying for those who are genuinely unnerved by tight spaces.

  • Danny Boyle's 127 Hours takes the concept of being trapped one step further. The film, which tells Aron Ralston's impossible true story of survival, emphasizes both claustrophobia and apotemnophobia - the fear of amputation. The adventurous climber gets trapped in a small canyon when a boulder falls loose and crushes his arm. After being stuck in the canyon for several days, Ralston (James Franco) cuts off his arm with a pocketknife to escape.

    Ralston himself called the film "as close to a documentary as you can get and still be a drama." For anyone with claustrophobia, that's probably way too close.

    • Released: 2010
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  • As if being stuck in an elevator weren't claustrophobic enough, this film traps five strangers who soon come to realize one of them is the devil. While the premise of this odd, locked-room, supernatural thriller - co-written and produced by M. Night Shyamalan and directed by John Erick Dowdle (As Above, So Below) - may sound laughable, the film ekes some real chills from inside its haunted space.

    Even The New York Times pointed out that Dowdle seems to "revel in claustrophobia" when it comes to thrill-seeking cinematography, and Devil is no exception.

    • Released: 2010
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  • Nominated for six Academy Awards and considered to be a great war filmDas Boot is an unflinching look inside a German U-boat during World War II. As such, it is also a nightmare for anyone with claustrophobia.

    The New York Times described Wolfgang Petersen's direction as paying "great attention to the sights, sounds, and smells that characterize the U-boat, on which several dozen men are confined. His direction powerfully fosters the impression that you, too, are there."

    • Released: 1981
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  • Event Horizon is a spooky space flick that owes as much to John Carpenter and Hellraiser as it does to Ridley Scott and Alien. There's plenty to be afraid of in Event Horizon, including a very creepy Sam Neill slowly losing his marbles (along with his eyes) and the crushing void of deep space.

    Claustrophobia is one thing, but knowing the derelict spaceship you're trapped inside is all that's between you and the vacuum of space makes it so much worse. And there are plenty of tight passages within the ship that characters are obliged to squeeze through.

    • Released: 1997
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