You can read part 1 here.
This is part 2 of a list of movies and TV shows that (in my humble opinion are the best) in the apocalyptic and post apocalyptic genres. This is based on personal preference and nothing more.
A word of warning: like in part 1, some of the movies here include gore and splatter. Where applicable, and depending on how I perceive something as containing extensive gore or not (very subjective), I’ll note it, but understand that this is based on how I see things. If you’re sensitive about this, read some of the reviews first or watch the trailer to get an idea of the feel and mood before you start watching it.
As always, the movies are in no particular order other than the way they came to my mind.
This is the second movie of the entire list that depicts desolation and bleakness in the best way possible. Children of Men is based on the novel with the same title by P. D. James written in 1992. I’ve read the book while researching for my own post apocalyptic novel, The Darkening, and even though I am a writer and I loved P. D. James’s book, I have to admit that I absolutely adored the movie and prefer it to the book.
Much like the book, the movie takes place in the not too distant future and deals with the aftermath of an epidemic that has rendered the human race infertile and about to be extinct. The movie explores the bleakness and the finality of a doomed species, and how hard it is to maintain a semblance of order as the entire societal structure collapses along with the will to live and carry on. Just so we’re clear, this is an apocalyptic movie, not a post apocalyptic. The hero is tasked with helping a refugee reach a safe place, and is only told that the refugee must survive no matter what. Watch it because Clive Owen plays wonderfully here. Watch it because, as a post apocalypse fan, you like the bleakness and hopelessness that this movie shows. Expect mild violence and an overall feeling of depression to overwhelm you. This is my all time favourite post apocalyptic movie!
Blindness is an apocalyptic movie that deals with how humans will most likely act once civilisation crumbles, or when placed in a confined space with no set rules or laws to regulate life and every day activities.
A strange epidemic causes people to lose their sight, which consequently brings the collapse of civilisation. The movie follows a group of people placed in quarantine in an old mental institution and their struggle for power and dominance. One of those quarantined still has her sight and witnesses everything that’s been happening to them. It’s up to her to lead a group of survivors outside and keep them safe from a second group who have turned violent against those who can’t defend themselves. It doesn’t take long for their jail to descend into chaos. Expect some violence.
Expect some gore with this one. This movie has gone unnoticed by a lot of people. Maybe this was due to a low budget. It’s a post apocalyptic movie that takes place primarily in a farmhouse (low budget, remember?) and the surrounding area, where a group of five people seek shelter, food, and some rest, since one of their own is sick. As they search the house for food, they activate a trap set by the cannibals who control the region. This is when things really start to worsen. Like many movies before, it also focuses on the question of how far humans would go to survive and how much that survival would come at a cost of their humanity. The setting is exactly as it should be (bleak and grey) and helps the viewer experience the aftermath of the apocalypse. Expect violence and some gore. I wish people had paid more attention to this movie, despite its low budget and the lack of big movie stars (though I’m sure a lot of you will recognise at least two of the actors).
I’m going to say it right out: expect excessive amounts of violence and gore. This is a very graphic movie not meant for kids or even teens. You will need to have a rather strong stomach for this one.
Having said that, it is probably one of the best apocalyptic movies, not because of the stellar script (it’s anything but stellar or original, since it has a few cliches here and there, some plot points feel as if they were rushed, and a few plot holes), but for the very strong performances. If only it wasn’t as graphic, then people might appreciate it more.
The movie takes place immediately after a nuclear strike on a major city. A few residents of one of the buildings make it to the basement where they seal themselves and supposedly wait the whole thing out. But, as is expected when a lot of people are gathered in a small space and there are hardly enough supplies to go around, things get out of control pretty fast. In this case, a little too fast. “Hell is other people,” one reviewer said about this movie and they were right! Like many other movies of the genre, The Divide also shows the viewer how far humans could go to survive and how easy it is to lose ourselves and become savage.
Again, this is not a movie for the faint of heart or for young viewers.
Hidden is a post apocalyptic horror film that, for the most part, takes place in a basement (anyone who has read my own The Darkening should be able to see a pattern here as well as with The Divide and other movies in this list).
The world has been ravaged by a viral outbreak that has turned humans into monsters. A family of three (father, mother, and daughter) have taken refuge in a basement from those they call the Breathers, and have turned the cramped basement into home. They have set several rules to make their life easier and to help as much as possible with the situation. Up to that point, the monsters outside (the Breathers) have been actively hunting the family but have never managed to find them. However, accidents happen and things turn ugly after a while. The movie starts slowly, and it may even bore you at first, but don’t judge it hastily. It will pay you off later when we learn more about what has happened.
Expect some violence, some heightened heartbeats (after all, this is a thriller/horror movie), and yes some depressing feelings.
You’d be surprised at how much this film can affect and move you in the end. This is an apocalyptic movie, though to be honest, it takes place a few hours before the apocalypse strikes the area where the protagonists are. I wonder if there’s a term for something that happens moments before the apocalypse strikes, like pre-apocalypse? Prepocalypse…?
Anyway, an asteroid has hit the Earth, giving twelve hours of life for the heroes before the coming firestorm reaches them at the other side of the planet. Unlike the previous films, there are no confined spaces here. The hero wants to go to the party-to-end-all-parties but on the way there, he encounters a little girl, who is about to be raped. The hero saves the girl, and she tells him that she wants to find her father. Throughout the movie the two form a strong bond that will help the hero understand a few things about himself. There’s some violence, some nudity, a lot of feelings of redemption, and you can’t help but cheer for the two main characters. Don’t let that fool you, it’s still a depressing movie that borrows bitter-sweet elements from movies like The Road (just borrows though, and only a couple of elements–you’ll know once you make it all the way to the end).
Ah, my favourite post apocalyptic show. Cancelled, unfortunately 🙁 but still a great show to watch. Oh, and for the record, technically speaking, though the show was cancelled, the creators have given an end to the events with two more seasons of comic book series.
As a TV show without the time constraints found on movies (I’m sick and tired of movies lasting only 90-100 minutes!), Jericho deals more with the social dynamics of a community (the town of Jericho) in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, rather than dealing with hardcore survival and going to the extreme to accomplish that. As such, it is much milder with hardly any violent scenes that you haven’t already seen in nearly every TV show out there.
Nuclear explosions have devastated several of the major US cities, leaving the inhabitants of Jericho cut off from the outside world. When they manage to establish communications and an economy system with a neighbouring town, they end up in a bloody conflict with them. As is expected with TV shows, we learn bits and pieces of each character’s background and how they all tie in with the situation at hand. And we also start getting glimpses of what has actually happened and who was behind the attacks.
Buy it from Amazon
You thought I had forgotten this one, didn’t you? Well, my personal dislike for most anything zombie related, this show has a massive following. So I couldn’t help but include it. After all, it is a good show.
The Walking Dead is based on a comic book series, if I’m not mistaken. The show starts off with a sheriff waking up from a coma, after being shot in the line of duty, and finding himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. After the shock of waking up surrounded by walking corpses passes, he sets off to find his family. Eventually he ends up leading a group of survivors and with them he travels the country in search of food and safety. However, living in a world overrun by zombies takes its toll, not only to the number of survivors that make it alive after each episode, but also to what those survivors are willing to do to carry on living. You can expect a great deal of interpersonal conflict (as is the case with most TV shows of this kind) that sometimes may end up being just as bad as facing the zombie horde. Constant exposure to death and danger changes everyone and the same is true for the heroes of this show. Expect mild horror scenes and some chilling encounters with zombies early on. Nothing over the top, nothing you won’t get used to over the course of the show, and certainly nothing that should deter you from watching it.
Buy it from Amazon
I saved the best for the end. The last entry of this two-part list is a comedy. Yes, a comedy, and I left it for the end in an attempt to cheer you up a bit. Shaun of the Dead is a British movie set in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The movie follows Shaun, who is having a rather bad day. His girlfriend has left him and he is sharing his place with his best friend. So he decides to turn his life around. The only problem is, he decided to do it at the worst time possible: when zombies are running (or shuffling) rampant in the streets.
Expect a lot of laughter from two very talented British actors caught up in some pretty comical situations. A must-see movie!
And that’s it. I hope you enjoyed reading this list. Naturally, the movies and TV shows mentioned here are some of my personal favourites. I’m sure there are other movies and shows out there that I either forgot to mention or haven’t seen. Feel free to comment with your choices.