10 Best Single-Location Horror Movies (That You Can Stream For Free Online)


Setting has a crucial role in the horror genre. Without the right location, a movie can seem unremarkable and devoid of tension. An airless and almost inescapable locale, however, makes a world of difference when wanting to scare the audience.

Although horror is prolific, it is also a genre where budgets are shoestring and venues are limited. This sometimes leads to movies where the characters battle terror in a confined space or at a single location. It may sound too economical for viewers to enjoy, but often, these movies have copious atmosphere and tension to spare.

10 Intruder (1989) – Pluto, Tubi

The eighties saw the rise of the slasher movie, but by 1989, the trend was essentially over with a few stragglers here and there. This would change with Scream; Wes Craven’s meta-horror whodunit reinvigorated interest in these hack-and-slash flicks.

A latecomer to the era where slashers boomed was Scott Spiegel’s Intruder. Set inside a dying supermarket, the late-night shift of employees are left to fend for themselves when a ruthless killer picks them off, one by one. The movie is notable for its gory set pieces and dark humor.

9 Frozen (2010) – IMDb TV, Tubi

Adam Green sends a chill down every viewer’s back as they watch three unsuspecting friends endure the most brutal fate. In Frozen, the main characters are enjoying their time at a ski resort when one bad decision lands them in trouble. The trio is left stranded on a ski lift after hours, and with no one coming to help them, they have no safe way of getting down.

Frozen sounds like it would drag with the characters being trapped in a ski lift chair, but the viewer’s attention never wanes. Rather, they wait with bated breath.

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8 Better Watch Out (2016) – Crackle, Pluto TV, Tubi

Horror and Christmas seem unalike, but they come together to make some of the most memorable entries in the genre. Although Better Watch Out was intended to be shot in North Carolina, director Chris Peckover was offered a more substantial budget if he filmed the movie in Sydney, Australia.

Better Watch Out follows what happens to a 17-year-old babysitter as she and her ward, a precocious 12-year-old, are attacked by an unknown threat outside. Little does the babysitter know, terror is already inside.

7 Cube (1997) – IMDb TV, Pluto TV, Tubi, Vudu

Fans of the Saw franchise likely would not have those movies if Cube did not exist. This low-budgeted Canadian offering is a classic in the “bottle” subgenre; it merges horror and science fiction with astounding results. Its cult status has led to two sequels and a Japanese remake.

In the original Cube, strangers wake up in the eponymous space without a clue as to how they got there. They have to work together if they want to escape their deadly confinements, though that proves difficult as tension grows and paranoia sinks in.

6 The Telephone (1988) – Tubi

Whoopi Goldberg leads this bizarre hidden gem and keeps everyone’s attention through her many telephone conversations. She spends most of the film gabbing away and acting like anyone else might if they thought they were alone. By the end, it becomes very clear things are not what they seem.

For most of the first and second acts of this obscure eighties movie, audiences beg the question, how is this horror? Yet the most patient of viewers will be rewarded. Director Rip Torn and star Whoopi Goldberg had disagreements over The Telephone, and the actor even sued the distributor to prevent the movie from being released. She lost, but the film also performed poorly at the box office. Until recently, it has remained a forgotten movie.

5 The Expelled (2010) – Tubi

For a brief time in the 2000s and early 2010s, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and parts of Europe exploited fears of inner-city youth. This fear of the underclass is often referred to as “hoodie horror” and can be found in movies like Cherry Tree Lane, Citadel, Eden Lake, and Them. Another less-known entry is F, later retitled The Expelled in international markets.

In the film, a teacher returns to work after being temporarily suspended for breaking the school’s cardinal rule of never failing a student. Now, he deals not only with his own personal issues but also the animosity from his teenage daughter. Unfortunately for both of them, they’re trapped in school one night when a band of hooded killers appears on campus.

4 Shakma (1990) – Tubi

Another slasher straggler was 1990’s Shakma, but instead of a human killer, the antagonist is an incensed baboon. The movie, also known as Panic in the Tower in some parts, follows what happens to a group of medical student when a baboon test subject goes on the attack; the beast becomes wildly aggressive after being injected with a drug meant to do the opposite.

While a creature feature like Shakma is fairly cheesy, it does boast tension and some vicious kills.

3 The Children (2008) – IMDb TV, Tubi, Vudu

Following Christmas and during the New Year holiday, a family returns to its secluded country house. The two younger siblings become ill, but this is more than a case of simple car sickness; Miranda and Paulie are infected with something that has turned them into depraved killers.

While this British import sounds ridiculous on paper, the execution is serious. Playing the scenario straight amounts to legitimate suspense.

2 Shut In (2015) – Pluto TV, Tubi, Vudu

Horror movies often divulge their big twist towards the end, but Shut In (also known as Intruders or Deadly Home) reveals its cards around the halfway point. Regardless, the plot pivot is clever and makes for a more interesting movie.

A woman named Anna has agoraphobia after her father died ten years ago. She hasn’t left her childhood home since then, and when her brother passes away, his friend Dan breaks in with two other men. The burglars think they’ve found a small fortune in Anna’s house, but instead, they’re now trapped.

1 The Bunker (2015) – Tubi, Vudu

This twisted German dark-comedy is eventually filled to the brim with utter dread and mystery. A nameless college student arrives at what he thinks is a scenic lakeside house but instead finds a musty bunker. Despite the misrepresentation, he stays because he still needs a quiet place to study. The renters, eccentric parents with one 8-year-old son, ask their guest to tutor their child in the meantime. When the student learns the son is really an adult man his parents dress up and treat as a child, things become very weird inside the bunker.

The Bunker is a worthy new addition to weird modern cinema. It goes far off the beaten path and turns into an abstract thriller in both appearance and narrative. Anyone who enjoys a worthwhile hidden gem is in for a pleasant surprise.

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