10 Must-See One-Shot Films

6. Lost in London (2017)

Following an unsuccessful appearance in a West End play and a falling out with his wife over his romantic indiscretions, Woody Harrelson has a night to kill in London and gets into a heap of unintended trouble.

Perhaps the very definition of a vanity project: an actor directing a “live” film where he plays himself moaning about how he’s not as famous as he thought he was with the camera never leaving his side. It doesn’t all work or come across as believable, but it’s still a mighty impressive undertaking.

The highlight is Harrelson and Owen Wilson laying into each other at an exclusive club (“Wes Anderson hasn’t made a good movie since Bottle Rocket, and neither have you!”). The low point is probably getting Bono on speakerphone to do a Jamaican accent.




7. One Cut of the Dead (2017)

An ambitious but neurotic director shoots a one-take zombie film, utilising real undead assailants to prompt more convincing reactions on camera unbeknownst to his long-suffering cast.

For all this film is technically accomplished, surprising and thrilling, the one-cut is actually only half the movie (still an impressive 37 minute take), the second half being more conventional filmmaking that recontextualises everything we’ve seen so far.

Seeing the film’s events from multiple angles and perspectives, and the fact that you’re left guessing director Higurashi’s true motives and who and what he’s prepared to sacrifice to get his movie made then broadcast live on TV, makes this a film that constantly defies expectation and delights in multiple layers of meta commentary on the movie business and horror genre tropes.

Recommended for you: 10 Great Japanese Horror Movies


8. Utøya: July 22 (2018)

On July 22 2011, a terrorist murdered 77 young people by gunfire on a Norwegian island youth camp, shortly after setting off bombs in the government quarter of Oslo. This film chillingly recounts the experiences of those unlucky enough to find themselves on that island when the atrocity took place.

A film like this lives or dies on its central performance, and what a special central performance this has, the camera never leaving Andrea Berntzen’s Katja and the turmoil her and her teenage campmates endure until the closing minutes.

One of two films about the attacks released in 2018 (the other being Paul Greengrass’ 22 July) Utøya is a primal fight-or-flight experience and a really tough watch, using the one-shot technique to ground us in the experiences of the victims and keep the perpetrator in the distance as an unknowable, faceless threat.

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