Media Math: More Movies Shot in a Single Location

Hitch himself labelled Rope "an experiment that didn't work out", and though it's far from his most scintillating of tales, it's more of a technical achievement than a triumph of storytelling. After a single establishing shot, Hitchcock sets up camp in a Manhattan apartment, where two fiendish intellectuals host a dinner party; unbeknownst to the guests, they've stashed a dead man in a chest in the centre of the room. Hitchcock shot in long, uninterrupted takes – sometimes as long as ten minutes without an edit – and constructed a set so complex, even the fake clouds seen out the window changed shape. All this, some 50 years before the days of 'digital stitching' – truly a work of genius.

CUBE (1997)

A pre-cursor to the Saw movies in more ways than one, this low-budget sci-fi curio saw six strangers wake up in a giant, glowing cube, with no idea how they got there, or even if there's any way out. Though they travel from room to room via the six doors on each side of each room, only one cube set was constructed, with only the lighting changed for each new scene. The budget constrictions never show, because the central conundrum is so compelling, and the tension – rooms are booby-trapped at random – is literally razor sharp. Skip the sequels thought, they're bobbins in comparison.


John Hughes never really liked to stray too far from Shermer, Illinois, but in The Breakfast Club, he purposefully locked together five students – a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal – in detention in the school library, only for them to discover that they weren't really all that different. Thinking intimately was a smart move on Hughes' part: the film went on to birth The Brat Pack and became a teen classic, influencing every almost high school movie made since. If only real detention was this eye-opening: we'd settle for a few more meaningful conversations and slightly fewer Chinese burns.

CLUE (1985)

Made back when the tagline 'Based on the popular Hasbro board game' didn't lead to mass audience vomiting, Clue remains one of the most fun whodunits in modern memory – and it's camper than a half-price sale at The Body Shop. Fleshing out Cluedo's rudimentary game mechanics into a hugely enjoyable murder mystery romp, it sees Tim Curry's beaming butler invite the usual suspects to a secluded, rain-lashed New England mansion, where they're destined to spend the night, surrounded by bodies. In keeping with the game's ever-changing finale, three alternate endings were shot and played in different cinemas upon release. Cool, huh?


If you ask director Lars von Trier, he'd probably sniff at Dogville's inclusion on this list – read the script and you'll discover that it's set in a variety of locations. Watch the film, though, and you'll understand why – the entire movie is shot on one sparse stage, with no props or set-dressing, forcing the cast to raise their game and stretch their acting skills to the very limit. Kidman has rarely been better as Grace, a woman hiding from mobsters and at the mercy of small-town mentality. Dogville is drama pared down to its purest elements: get past the gimmick and it's possible to get caught up in the raw emotion it draws upon.