So many of us are stuck inside right now, and that lack of socializing means we're all probably going a little bit stir crazy. An increase in downtime usually means we're desperately looking for stuff to stream, and though there's hardly a lack of content, it's tough finding the right piece of entertainment to get high and zone out to.
Here are some movies you can stream right now that put a clever twist on a formula so many of us are familiar with right now — stories set primarily in a single location with only a handful of characters, that mine isolation or claustrophobia for horror, for comedy, for mind-bending surrealism, or for all three. Hopefully they'll make you feel better about your current situation. Oh, and they'll also be a lot more interesting with a mind-altering substance.
The Lighthouse (2019)
In what is surely one of the best and strangest films of last year, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe star as a couple of 19th-century lighthouse keepers, one more grizzled than the other, left alone to go crazy and homicidal in their seaside locale. Shot in striking black and white, it's creepy, disgusting, disorienting and hysterically funny at times. Streaming on Amazon Prime.
Duncan Jones' debut feature is an ingenious, mind-bending piece of sci-fi, with Sam Rockwell as an astronaut in the home stretch of a three-year solo mission on the moon. Following an accident and a bizarre revelation, he starts to question his own sanity in this weird, darkly funny exploration of the nature of identity. Free on Crackle.
Panic Room (2002)
Spatial awareness and the claustrophobia of enclosed spaces are paramount in this uncommonly smart thriller from director David Fincher, about a mother and her adolescent daughter (Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart) sealing themselves inside a closet-sized safe room when a trio of thieves break in. Streaming on Hulu.
In this indie-horror classic, a group of seemingly unrelated strangers wake up inside a maze of boxy, color-coded rooms with no idea of how they got there. Some rooms have nothing in them, others are booby-trapped, and as they try to escape, their numbers dwindle. This is people's exhibit A for making a lot out of a little. Free on YouTube.
The Exterminating Angel (1962)
Spanish surrealist Luis Buñuel made a career out of absurdist allegories, and this one is a savage attack on the upper-class of Franco-era Spain. Following a swanky dinner party, the bourgeois guests discover that unseen force is keeping them from leaving, and they devolve into their more violent, animalistic tendencies. Streaming on the Criterion Channel.
Green Room (2015)
A just-scraping-by punk band play a gig deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, only to discover their audience is made up of Nazi skinheads. Then there's a murder, the Nazis trap everyone inside and try to eliminate the witnessess, and the punks fight back. A high-energy, gnarly, tightly structured riff on John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13, a visceral blast for those with strong stomachs. Streaming on Netflix.
Despite its title, this underseen, low-budget sci-fi gem is deliberately opaque and designed to throw you off your bearings. It's set in a single suburban dining room on the night a comet streaks across the night sky, and a group of friends have their equilibrium shifted after a mysterious power outage reveals a rift in time. Whoooooa. Free on Vudu and Crackle.
Stephen King's bestseller got a great big-screen adaptation courtesy of Rob Reiner, featuring Kathy Bates' Oscar-winning performance as a psychotic superfan who imprisons her favorite author (James Caan) and demands he rewrite the ending of his popular book series. Although primarily a one-set, two-person story, it never feels stagey. Streaming on Hulu. ♦