Constructing a meaningful narrative over any period of time is an art. Where The Irishman tells a tale over decades, Spotlight over months, Psycho over days, there are films that manage to tell a story over a matter of hours contained to just one day.
To get a good insight into a character’s motivations and personality, you don’t necessarily need all the time in the world. There are plenty of great movies set on a pretty short timescale that still manage to achieve everything needed for an enjoyable viewing experience. This is true for any genre, but definitely for horror.
Plenty of much-loved horrors take place in under twenty-four hours, some of the big ones including well-known names like The Cabin in the Woods, The Mist, et cetera.
For this list, however, we’re going to try to keep things fresh with a couple of lesser known titles amongst the big ones. The one-night long massacre is such a staple in horror that we could give endless honorable mentions, but for the sake of progress let’s just skip right to it.
Here are ten great horror movies that take place all within 24 hours!
Back in the daytime now we have Devil, a film set over a couple of hours as a group of strangers find themselves trapped in a broken elevator. “That doesn’t sound particularly horror-ish,” I hear you cry; well what if I told you the twist was that the devil was in there with them?
Yes it does sound a little bit goofy, but in actuality it makes for an interesting ride. With the elevator’s occupants being picked off one by one, flickering electricity making it impossible to know when you’ll be plunged into dangerous darkness, and a race against the clock for the attending cops to figure out which of the trapped figures is playing host to Satan, the film manages to keep a good pace.
As well as having the supernatural element, the claustrophobia of being stuck in a lift gives way to a bit of extra horror, as well as allowing for some dynamics between the occupants that easily add tension to the ordeal.
With a decent twist and some interesting characters, this 80-minute wonder is an easy watch that benefits from a concise approach.