10 Movies to Check Out If You Like a Minimalist Cast

There’s just something I really love about watching a movie with a small cast especially when the movie itself is actually really good. So, this post has 10 movies that feature a minimalist cast and all of them are incredibly good in their own right.

With every title, I mention roughly how many cast members there are but often this only takes into account main characters and for some, other characters may show up but for spoiler reasons, I’m avoiding mentioning them.

Note: This list is in no particular order.

I Think We’re Alone Now (2018)

[Elle Fanning as Grace, and Peter Dinklage as Del | Momentum Pictures]

— Plot: During the apocalypse, after everyone drops dead, Del (Peter Dinklage) is living alone in a small town until one day Grace (Elle Fanning) shows up.

— How Many Cast Members? Two.

I Think We’re Alone Now is a pretty recent watch for me and one of the things I found I enjoyed the most was the limited cast. Seeing these two incredibly different characters share time together was really entertaining and I found myself caring about both of them and wanting to know more. It’s also a visually stunning movie as well.

I wrote a spoiler-free review for it if you’re curious to find out more.

Hard Candy (2005)

[Ellen Page as Hayley | Lionsgate]

— Plot: Teenager Hayley (Ellen Page) and thirty-something year old Jeff (Patrick Wilson) decide to meet up after talking online. As their encounter leads back to his place things aren’t so straight forward as Hayley has other intentions.

— How Many Cast Members? Two. Seven when including those with little to no lines and limited screen time.

I honestly don’t know how to describe this movie without giving away some interesting plot points but trust me, Hard Candy is a phenomenal movie. It’s simplistic in the best way possible while still being one of the most intense thrillers I’ve ever seen. Both Page and Wilson do a fantastic job at keeping the entire thing alive.

Gravity (2013)

[Sandra Bullock as Dr Ryan Stone | Warner Bros. Pictures]

— Plot: Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Lieutenant Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are left stranded in space and have to fight to survive.

— How Many Cast Members? Two.

Gravity has to be one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. It’s visually stunning but it’s also incredible how the entire thing is carried with such a small cast. I have been a huge fan of Sandra Bullock for as long as I can remember and she’s absolutely breathtaking in this.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

[John Goodman as Howard, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle, and John Gallagher Jr. | Paramount Pictures]

— Plot: After waking up from a car crash Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up in a bunker with two men (Howard played by John Goodman, and Emmett played by John Gallagher Jr.) who both claim that the world is uninhabitable after a chemical attack.

— How Many Cast Members? Three.

I’m a huge fan of the first movie Cloverfield so when I heard they were expanding the franchise I knew I had to check this one. That being said, 10 Cloverfield Lane is incredibly different. We only focus on three characters and the majority of the movie takes place in an underground bunker. There’s also very little given to us so even we don’t know what’s true and what’s false.

Moon (2009)

[Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell | Sony Picture Classics]

— Plot: Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is coming to the end of a three-year stint on the moon when mysterious things begin to happen.

— How Many Cast Members? One (if you count voice actors then two).

Just a note, this movie stars Kevin Spacey as the voice of robot GERTY.

That being said, Sam Rockwell is definitely the reason to watch Moon. He is absolutely phenomenal. Every second of screen time is interesting and more so considering he acts alone. Moon is entertaining, short, and visually quite beautiful but I would definitely recommend it for Rockwell’s talent.

I wrote a spoiler-free review for it if you’re curious to find out more.

The Boy (2016)

[Lauren Cohan as Greta Evans | STXfilms]

— Plot: Greta (Lauren Cohan), a young nanny, arrives to find that the little boy she’ll be looking after is actually a life-size doll.

— How Many Cast Members? Seven when including those with little to no lines and limited screen time.

I remember my parents and I put this on one night out of curiosity and also because of Lauren Cohan considering my mum and I had seen her in other things before. That being said, the Boy was actually surprisingly good. It was quite a refreshing movie and Cohan carries it, although Rupert Evans is also a fantastic addition. Most of the movie is actually centered around those two and the life-size doll that Greta is supposed to look after. It’s spooky, a little intense, and not very long at all.

Life (2017)

[Sony Pictures Releasing]

— Plot: A group of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover an evolving life form that proves a threat to those back on Earth.

— How Many Cast Members? Six

I remember when this first came out that everyone was saying that it would be a fantastic prequel to Venom which wasn’t released yet. As far as I’m aware that was never confirmed but after watching Life I can certainly see why people thought so. Maybe it’s just because I love movies set in space but this one was really interesting and worked so well with the fact that it only has six cast members. While some things could have been done a little better I had an incredibly good time watching this.

The Strangers (2008)

[Liv Tyler as Kristen McKay, and Kip Weeks as the Man in the Mask | Rogue Pictures]

— Plot: While staying at their vacation home James (Scott Speedman) and Kristen (Liv Tyler) are terrorised by three masked figures.

— How Many Cast Members? Seven.

A long-time favourite for me. If you like home invasion horrors this one is a definite must watch. Its creep factor is subtle and the plot, while being fairly basic, is still incredibly interesting to watch. It also works quite well that we’re given very little detail about the masked figures.

Hush (2016)

[Kate Siegel as Maddie Young, and John Gallagher Jr. as The Man | Netflix]

— Plot: Maddie (Kate Siegel) is a deaf writer living a solitary life in the woods when she finds herself fighting for her life against a masked killer (John Gallagher Jr.).

— How Many Cast Members? Two (five total).

I would say this one is a little similar to The Strangers but there are some important differences. In Hush, it would seem that Gallagher’s character would have the upper hand considering Siegel’s character Maddie is deaf but that’s not the case at all. This makes for an interesting dynamic which turns a typical home-invasion style movie into something that feels really refreshing and new.

127 Hours (2010)

[James Franco as Aron Ralston | Fox Searchlight Pictures + Warner Bros. UK]

— Plot: True story about American outdoorsman Aron Ralston who while canyoneering has to fight to survive when his arm becomes trapped between a boulder and the canyon wall.

— How Many Cast Members? Seven but it primarily focuses on one character.

I remember when I saw this on the big screen back in 2011 and it was one of my favourite cinema experiences to date. When I first found out what this was about I did some minimal research but mostly went into the movie not really knowing much of anything. The character we mostly focus on is Aron Ralston played James Franco and oh boy, does Franco do a fantastic job in this. After I saw the movie, I actually listened to the audiobook (titled: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Ralston’s autobiography) and I found that the movie does follow the key details while making a couple of minor changes. Whether you’re interested in Ralston’s story or not, this is definitely worth the watch. It’s intense and emotional and there are so many times where you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next.

And there we have it, 10 movies with minimalist casts.

If you’ve seen any of these before, or decide to watch them now, I would love to know what you think! I’m also always happy to hear any recommendations as well.

And for anyone who is curious, the header image on this post is a shot of Peter Dinklage in I Think We’re Alone Now.

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4 thoughts on “10 Movies to Check Out If You Like a Minimalist Cast

  1. Great list! My favorite movies on here are “Hush” and “Moon”; I’d also recommend that you try out “Buried” with Ryan Reynolds if you haven’t already. That one has the epitome of a limited cast. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! They are amazing movies. And I have seen that, it was a long time ago though so perhaps I should re-watch it. I remember it being so intense and Reynolds did a fantastic job at making things captivating considering it’s basically just him 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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