Most films about isolation tend to be horror films. There’s something inherently unsettling about being by yourself, cut off from the outside world. Don’t let this scare you, though. Get comfy with your roommate, significant other, family members (keeping the proper distance) or pets (snuggle right up to them), and enjoy these films.
The Thing (1982)
A John Carpenter absolute classic. A beautiful study in sociology and the human psyche. The Thing is a horror film that will have you on the edge of your seat and have you continuously guessing what you think you know. Plus, we get some amazing practical effects and Kurt Russell in that amazing hat.
Horror films not your cup of tea? Try Disney/Pixar’s Wall-E. Sure, the humans aren’t necessarily isolated from each other, but poor Wall-E is left alone on Earth. Plus, the film is a masterclass on visual storytelling.
Cast Away (2000)
This one is pretty self-explanatory, right? Tom Hanks, alone, shipwrecked on an island.
Taxi Driver (1976)
This one’s darker than anything else on this list. Travis Bickle is one of the most isolated characters in film history. The end result of his self-isolation is unnerving.
The Lighthouse (2019)
One of the more recent films on this list. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson stuck in a lighthouse on a small island together? In this film directed by Robert Eggers (The VVitch), what could go wrong?
The Witch (2015)
Speaking of Robert Eggers, The VVitch is a horror film about a family in isolation in 1630s New England, and the threat of a witch that lives in the woods.
The Shinning (1980)
The most classic isolation film there is. Jack Torrance and his family stay for the winter at the closed Overlook Hotel, as caretakers. Just before Jack takes the job, he’s told about the brutal murder that occurred there with the last caretaker. Turns out there’s more ghosts at the Overlook than that.
I Am Legend (2007)
Obviously. This film is Will Smith vs. loneliness vs. vampire-like creatures for an hour and forty-one minutes. An enjoyable time for all.
Want to watch James Caan get hobbled by Kathy Bates while she holds him hostage in her isolated cabin? Then this is the film for you.
The Evil Dead (1 and 2, 1981 & 1987)
Both the original Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 have the central theme of isolation. Plus, it’s just fun to watch Bruce Campbell’s facial expressions in both films.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)H
A classic. A group of strangers find themselves trapped in a house in the countryside, fighting off the dead who have come back to life.
Secret Window (2004)
A film based off one of my favorite Stephen King short stories. This one has Johnny Depp as Mort Rainey, a writer, staying at his lakeside cabin, in the middle of a divorce. A man turns up one day claiming that Rainey stole his story. And he is pissed.