Many people find the best post-apocalyptic films fascinating, in the same way that exploring abandoned locales fascinates many others.. Watching the vastness of nothing and the scattered people within it is intriguing, whether it’s because of the uneasiness or desolation.
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When it comes to movies, I’m a fan of the post-apocalyptic ones more than anything else. For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to postapocalyptic films, and it all goes back to my love of zombie flicks. In spite of how frightening it is to type this out now, I often imagine what civilization might look like if it collapsed and how humans would respond.
Additionally, I’m well aware that, no matter how much training movies have given me, I would not be able to survive long in the post-apocalyptic world. There’s a good chance that’s why I enjoy watching other people suffer and toil. However, I’m fortunate to have video games like The Last of Us and Fallout to fall back on in the event that these films are no longer popular. Prepping for a film disaster has never been easier.
As a result, I’ve chosen to compile a list of the best post-apocalyptic films you should see. It is customary to only include one post-apocalyptic film from a single series. There are other movies that take place after the world has ended and not during it, therefore Day of the Dead has a better shot at winning against Dawn of the Dead in this category.
25. Bird Box (2018)
A Netflix original that has sparked a lot of debate and memes since its release, Bird Box is more polarizing than the North Pole using inverted controls while inside a magnet. Despite its drawbacks, this one has a lot to offer, and no one seems to be able to agree on it.
There can be no hope for humanity if it can’t even look away from something that makes individuals want to murder themselves with a simply glance.
Sandra Bullock leads a talented cast that includes John Malkovich at his most sleazy. Try not to let the hype for this film give you excessive expectations. There are some memorable setpieces (the flaming automobile, anyone?).
If you’re looking for a good, but not groundbreaking, thriller, this is the one for you.
24. The Day (2011)
Even if The Day isn’t the best post-apocalyptic film ever made, or even one of the best on this list, it deserves to be talked about. The Day, on the other hand, merits praise for joining the exclusive group of WWE Studios films that aren’t completely terrible.
The Day has a harsh and dirty tone that is basically “all hope is lost,” despite the film’s appearance as a low-budget production. Zombies aren’t in this one; instead, it’s filled with unethical characters doing unethical things. It also features a compelling villain, even if he comes from the Far Cry school of villains..
23. The Book of Eli (2010)
The Book of Eli presents a post-apocalyptic world in which there is very little goodness left. In the absence of violence, individuals often turn to eating one another, or even both.
Denzel Washington’s character, Eli, takes it upon himself to trek across a desolate America to deliver a book thirty years after the world was devastated by a nuclear bombing. If you can get past the religious overtones, The Book of Eli is one of the most underappreciated films of the decade thanks to its many unexpected twists and turns.
22. Carriers (2009)
Pre-fame Chris Pine is at his most unsettling in Carriers, in which he forms a band with other survivors to cross the desolate United States. When Pine’s whole company is decimated by a highly contagious sickness, distrust develops amongst the survivors until it becomes almost terrible to watch.
Because there are no zombies, Carriers is the perfect zombie movie, which may explain why so many people were disappointed. If only to observe how fast bonds may fray when every breath could mean the difference between life and death, Carriers is nevertheless worth watching despite its numerous flaws and the fact that it often feels rushed.
21. The Divide (2011)
Director Xavier Gens doesn’t seem to have much faith in humanity. It doesn’t take long for an unusual gang of nuclear survivors to destroy what little life they have left in the subterranean of an apartment complex in his The Divide.
As the radiation spreads, the group fragments into disparate factions, and by the time the credits roll, you won’t recognize many of the characters you once knew. Bring a bucket to the theater if you plan to see The Divide since it is both horrifying and moving.
It’s so dismal, I’m thinking of taking citalopram.
20. Cargo (2017)
Instead of Cargo’s gore and showmanship, Martin Freeman chooses Cargo, an intriguing zombie film with a touching human story. Cargo, starring Morgan Freeman, has Freeman’s character searching for a safe haven for his young daughter in an infested outback in Australia, similar to The Dead.
Aside from the magnificent visuals, Cargo boasts a stellar ensemble, with the exception of the cast’s young daughter, who is utterly endearing. No matter how prepared you are for the conclusion of Cargo, you’re going to be shocked and saddened still.
There are many excellent Netflix original films to be found on the streaming service, but Cargo is one of the greatest.
According to our Cargo evaluation:
“Cargo is a zombie movie you shouldn’t neglect on Netflix since it’s a basic yet effective drama about parenting and sacrifice.”
19. Escape from L.A. (1996)
This sequel to John Carpenter’s New York is not quite as wonderful as its predecessor, Escape from L.A., but it is bolder and more bombastic than its predecessor was.
Snake Plissken (the inspiration for Metal Gear Solid’s Solid Snake) returns on the big screen as he finds himself at odds with a dictatorial US President following natural disasters in LA.
I would recommend going back to relive the “out there” feeling because it has turned out to be fairly prophetic.
18. Night of the Comet (1984)
Even though this list is chock with of cult favorites, Night of the Comet stands out as the quintessential example. It wouldn’t be appropriate to see it on anything other than a VHS cassette. Neon and all, it embodies the spirit of the 1980s.
In spite of its lack of artistic brilliance, The Night of the Comet manages to have a lot of fun in its dystopian world. There are a few survivors who band together after a comet wipes out much of humanity and transforms the unlucky few into zombies.
To put it another way, Night of the Comet is the “B” movie.
17. Turbo Kid (2015)
Francois Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell, and Anouk Whissell are among the film’s directors.
Turbo Kid is a more lighthearted take on the post-apocalypse, but that doesn’t mean it cuts back on the gore. As the titular character scavenges for comic books and other necessities in an alternate 1997, Turbo Kid chases him.
As a result, Turbo Kid has an endearing blend of romance and naivete that feels like it was inspired by films like Stand By Me, but with an extra dose of heart. Certainly, the post-apocalypse has an air of whimsy to it.
It’s visually stunning, and the fact that it was done on a shoestring makes it even more astounding. Most studios spend a fortune on having a movie look and feel this fantastic.
16. Stake Land (2010)
At the very least, the strict Stake Land demonstrated that vampires are far more successful when they don’t sparkle to anybody who would listen. An earlier film called 30 Days of Night shown how terrifying a more graphic portrayal of vampires could be.
To pursue a better life in New Eden, a young kid teams up with a vampire hunter and discovers how to live life again along the way after the death of his parents
Stake Land is a gloomy and grim trip that is beautifully shot despite the cruelty at its core, but it contains moments of authenticity. There’s a follow-up, but this is the one you need to see.
15. I Am Legend (2007)
I Am Legend’s first two-thirds are visually stunning, regardless of what you think of the rest of the film (and most people do). The American version of 28 Days Later is, in a nutshell, this.
Will Smith’s portrayal of a lone survivor in The Hurt Locker remains one of his most memorable roles to date. As he struggles to find a cure for the cancer cure that killed most of the world and transformed the remaining into aggressive, bald lunatics, he has only his faithful dog for companionship.
The Omega Man may be preferred by some, but here, I Am Legend takes the prize for pure spectacle and the adorable dog.
14. The Battery (2012)
The Battery, a low-budget post-apocalyptic slow burn about two men who have nothing but each other, is one of the most distinctive zombie movies of the last decade.
The Battery, which is more of a character study than a gory horror film, looks at how lonely you may feel even when you’re surrounded by people you care about, as well as what life would be like after the end of the world.
The Battery is a wickedly funny film with two excellent actors and an outstanding score, even if it isn’t always visually pleasing.
13. Zombieland (2009)
Zombieland is how you represent the post-apocalypse with a smile, moving from one type of zombie movie to something much more joyful. All-Time Low’s music video is filled with more graphics than this, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.
“Zombieland” follows a motley crew of survivor characters as they struggle to stay alive in a zombie-infested America while exchanging witty one-liners like it’s 1999.
With a cameo by one of the most memorable characters in movie history, it’s the perfect choice for someone who isn’t even a fan of the dead. There isn’t quite the same magic in Zombieland 2 as there was in the original, but it’s still an enjoyable experience.
12. Snowpiercer (2013)
On a train full of humanity’s last remaining survivors, Snowpiercer explores socioeconomic and class concerns in a unique way. When everything else fails, how about Chris Evans as Captain America’s polar opposite?
For everyone who enjoys a good thriller, Snowpiercer is a must-see. It’s gory, bloody, and just a tad ridiculous. Bong Joon-ho, who directed The Host, is the director of this film, which is a cult favorite.
Aside from it, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the film Parasite. Despite the show’s existence, the story of Snowpiercer remains unchanged.
11. A Quiet Place (2018)
A Quiet Place, the most recent addition to this list, follows a family as they attempt to live a normal existence in a strange new world where any noise could mean death. If it seems like it’s going to be tense, it is, thanks to some of the best soundtrack design seen in a long time.
As much as it’s a horror picture, it’s a family drama that’s as much about the characters at its core as it is about the scares. It’s possible that A Quiet Place may be the Get Out of 2018’s horror films; it’s that terrific.
To summarize, here’s what we think:
With a camera and microphone, “A Quiet Place” shows what can be achieved. Each and every detail and technical flash is meticulously constructed, and not a single flash of light or deafening crash is wasted. For all we know, John Krasinski could be a modern horror legend. However, we’ll still be satisfied with his future contributions to the art.”
10. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Twelve Monkeys is one of the more “offbeat” entries on this list, but it was one of the final movies Bruce Willis cared about starring in. Twelve Monkeys, starring Brad Pitt and featuring some of Terry Gilliam’s most unusual graphics, was so outstanding that they decided to make it into a television series for no reason.
In order to save humanity, Cole (Willis) is sent back in time to prevent the virus from being produced in the first place. You can think of it like Terminator 2, but in a much better way.
Twelve Monkeys, even though its effects look a little dated now, it has a wonderful vibe to it.
9. Dawn Of The Planet of the Apes (2014)
Because the original films don’t hold up well, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is awarded the top spot. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, on the other hand, is a fascinating story about both people and apes that’s as much about the apes as it is the humans.
Humanity is exterminated by the simian virus, which also makes apes smarter, and the two “factions” frequently clash. For all of its commercial success, Dawn is also a film that leaves spectators reflecting on their own lives long after the credits have rolled.
Is it right for us to be the rulers of the world?
8. Day of the Dead (1985)
Despite being one of Romero’s most unappreciated creations, Day of the Dead may have merely come out at the wrong moment. Everyone and their parents had had their fill of zombies by the time Day of the Dead came out in 1985. Even though it isn’t flawless (the timing is a little wrong), this is one of the better illustrations of the ambiguity that can result from the end of the world.
A bunker in the middle of a desolate wasteland is as close to post-apocalyptic as it gets. A melancholy but important look at how fast humans turn on each other is delivered by Day of the Dead, which takes part of the focus away from zombies. And Bub? He’s the best.
Aunt Alicia, on the other hand, may say goodbye to all of its remakes and sequels.
7. Delicatessen (1991)
A mad landlord rules the roost after the end of the world in an apartment complex. After all, it is post-apocalyptic, so you can obviously see where this one is going: the butcher.
Irreverent candor and a lighthearted approach to what could have been weighty material are what made this French production so appealing. This cult favorite features comedic comedy and renegade vegetarians, making it worth the hunt.
6. The Matrix (1999)
It’s true: The Matrix is, in fact, an apocalyptic film. A one-sided conflict between humans and machines resulted in humanity’s annihilation, with the remaining humans being utilized as Energizer batteries.
I don’t know how the Wachowskis made it through the pitch stage, but I’m delighted they did.
However, The Matrix was a major effect on action movies for the next decade, even though it was released at the end of that decade. No one will ever be able to replicate the success and weirdness of The Matrix, no matter how many sequels they think they can make.
5. Wall-E (2008)
What better way to round up our top postapocalyptic films than with one of the most uplifting? ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ It’s hard to imagine a movie more removed from the bloodshed and zombies of the headlines than Pixar’s WALL-E.
A mega-corporation leaves behind automated robots to clean up the mess as the remnants of humanity eat their way through space when humanity collapses. We meet WALL-E right away as he goes about his daily routine in search of life on a shattered Earth.
Even though WALL-E is one of the most joyful and uplifting post-apocalyptic films ever made, it is perhaps its greatest when it is at its quietest.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
While the first Mad Max films have influenced decades of post-apocalyptic movies and even video games, the most recent installment is one that you can just sit down and watch over and over until you memorize Max’s six lines. It’s just so engrossing that I’m considering watching it right now.
For those who aren’t familiar with the apocalypse, “Fury Road” is a fast-paced chase through desolate landscapes accompanied by some unique cinematography.
Fury Road is an experience that can only be fully appreciated by sitting down and watching it, so get your chrome on and buckle up for a crazy journey.
3. The Road (2009)
To sum up The Road in one word, “bleak,” would be an accurate description. If you’re looking for anything to lift your spirits, this authentic Cormac McCarthy adaptation isn’t the finest option. However, if you’re in the correct frame of mind, this could be the best post-apocalyptic movie ever made.
Walking (or crawling) across a desolate America, a father and son search for something to keep them going. Despite the superb performances from both performers, it was Viggo Mortensen’s portrayal of the patriarch that was too swiftly overlooked by honors committees.
If you’re looking for the most bleak depiction of the post-apocalyptic world, this is it.
2. 28 Days Later (2002)
It is true that the post-apocalypse only occurs in Britain, but it does a good job of depicting the post-apocalyptic world anyway. When Cillian Murphy was seen trudging along Westminster Bridge, it was a picture that would forever be associated with the film. The simple fact that the film’s creators were able to temporarily shut down the city of London makes 28 Days Later well worth seeing.
For a variety of reasons, 28 Days Later is a seminal film. Even though The Infected aren’t zombies, they were a part of the “new wave” of running zombies in films, even if they aren’t actually members of the undead army.
Because of this, it’s also one of the best horror films ever made and its sequel is the only one of its kind.
1. Stalker (1979)
On this list, which film by Andrei Tarkovsky is the most significant? It’s possible, but the closest thing to Stalker would be Alex Garland’s Annihilation, which would be saying something. When you’re in the midst of it, you just have to let it consume you, patient by patient.
Stalker follows three men on a voyage to a secret location known only as “The Zone,” where it is said that your wildest fantasies will come true if you go there. When it comes to the supernatural, there are no zombies or other well-known monsters in Stalker. Instead, it’s a period of reflection and difficulty that will linger with you for years to come.
You will find it difficult to get out of The Zone once you’ve been captured by Stalker’s post-apocalyptic world in a subtle, effortless cool (and mind-melding) way.