Skip to content

You may think it takes gobs of time to shoot a film – and most of the time, you’d be right. It’s a complicated process. However, some of the best, most innovative films out there have been shot at a breakneck schedule for one reason or another – be it budget or format. Here’s our list of 10 films that were shot in twenty days or less.

The Blair Witch Project (above, 1999)– The total time it took to shoot this terrifying and groundbreaking 1999 horror film? Eight days. Think about that the next time you’re venting about your work week.

The Thin Man (1934) – The first installment in the Nick and Nora Charles murder mysteries only took twelve days to shoot and cost around $231,000 to make.


Halloween (1978) – John Carpenter’s horror masterpiece (making a star out of Jamie Lee Curtis) took only twenty days to shoot and had a massive profit margin, making $47 million against a budget of only $300,000.

Locke (2013) – This unique film, told through a series of phone calls during the two-hour drive of harried construction foreman Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) was shot over the span of six nights.

The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) – Not the amusing musical adaptation from the 1980s, but the original Roger Corman creation (featuring a very young Jack Nicholson) was shot over two and a half days for a budget just over $20,000. Amazing, right?

Duel (1971) – Steven Spielberg’s intense directorial debut matched up an unsuspecting driver (Dennis Weaver) against a truck driver hell-bent on roadside revenge. The filming of the movie (filmed as a TV movie but eventually released in theaters) took 16 days

Saw (2004) – This franchise-starting, limb-slicing, Jigsaw-creeping horror film from James Wan was shot in 18 days … and ended up grossing over $100 million. It also spawned 7 sequels, with the latest in the series scheduled for a Halloween release. 

Whiplash (2014) – Damien Chazelle’s captivating second feature won J.K. Simmons an Oscar for his brutal, terrifying performance as a demanding music teacher, and elevated Miles Teller to the list of the top young actors working today. Total time it took to shoot? All of 19 days.

Phone Booth (2002) – This underrated early 2000s thriller starred Colin Farrell as a man trapped in – well, a phone booth – and threatened by a mysterious sniper (Keifer Sutherland). An exciting little film that’s a nice reminder of the phone booth era – and it was shot in all of ten days.

Much Ado About Nothing (2012) – Joss Whedon used a vacation from his Avengers shooting to make this passion project, Shakespearean adaptation with a group of friends. Total time to shoot it? Twelve days.

2 thoughts on “20 Days or Less: 10 Films with Quick Shoots Leave a comment

Make yourself heard!