30 Day Film Challenge – 19. A Movie Set in One Location

Movies are hard to make. I can only speak from my extremely limited experience, but if you do even the slightest bit of research you’ll come to the same conclusion. It’s hardly a walk in the park. There are budgetary concerns, logistical problems and all sorts to overcome. So if you can cut down on the number of variables then all the better; anything for a smoother experience.

Once way to do this is to set your film in entirely one setting. One location means less travel time, less set-building and all round less faff. The main downside is that you have to keep the film from being visually stale. To do that you need to keep the audience interested enough that they barely notice that everything looks pretty much the same.

Cube is a neat little thriller about a group of strangers who wake up in a room with no recollection of how they got there. Beyond every exit lies an almost identical room. Some of the rooms are stuffed to the gills with booby traps. How did the people get there? How will they get out? Will any of them survive?

It’s a sort of predecessor to Saw, if a bit less grisly. It’s a very entertaining film, and one that really makes the most of its limited setting. They essentially built one room and changed it in minimal ways. The only real difference is in the colour filter, so some rooms are blue and some are orange, etc. It’s a very frugal way to film if you have a story that complements it. it also has the added bonus that as the film goes on, you start to feel as trapped as the characters – a door will open and it’s just more of the same, as if there’s no end to their prison. It breeds a sense of claustrophobia.

It’s both an excellent film and an excellent lesson in minimalist filmmaking – you don’t need grand explosions and aerial dogfights to make a movie, and you don’t even need the outdoors or more than one shooting location. As long as you have a story that fits it, you can set a whole film in one place and the film won’t be any poorer for it.

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