Last week we talked about the best zombie movies, as we are in the midst of Spooky-Season, and with the lack of parties to go to, it seems like our best option for celebrating is watching some great scary movies.
The end of the world is always a great backdrop for scariness, because everything you’ve ever taken for granted, every piece of comfort you hold dear, has been ripped away from you, and you have to see if you are truly strong enough to survive.
I always love a good apocalypse movie, and these are my favorite six.
I Am Legend
You might have noticed that this very popular movie wasn’t on the zombie list from last week; in fact I specifically mentioned that I was avoiding it. That’s because the monsters in this movie aren’t zombies, they are *technically* vampires, and I’m a zombie-purist. However, it is worth noting that the book that this movie is based on, also inspired George A. Romero to create the first modern zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead. When Richard Matheson created Dr. Robert Neville and his race to cure this disease that turns humans into bloodthirsty monstrosities, the only vampires in storytelling were your classic Dracula-esque ones. Vampires that were smart, and a little sexy. Matheson took the intelligence away, and just left the desire to consume human flesh, and reinvented the undead. This movie is incredibly well done, has a good balance between jump-scares and deep dread, that even though it doesn’t play out like a traditional horror film, this possibly the best apocalypse horror movie ever.
A Quiet Place
John Krasinski, our favorite lovable goof-ball turned badass (sorry Chris Pratt), stars and directs in this amazing movie about alien monsters who hunt via-sound. Between an inventive monster design, themes on parenting and raising a family, or the inclusion of the deaf/hard-of-hearing community, this movie knocks it out of the park. You can see that this world has been lived in, as there are silent ways of communicating between the family members, that goes beyond the use of American Sign Language (ASL). The suspense/payoff system in this movie delivers every single time, and it’s an absolute joy to watch. Just make sure you don’t watch it with anyone that likes to talk during a movie, because you are going to need absolute silence throughout.
Fun fact: the sequel comes out April 23, 2021 (unless it gets delayed again).
The Book of Eli
This nuclear apocalypse movie stands out, as the only other successful nuke-themed apocalypses are either Mad Max or Fallout. However, this movie doesn’t really take much from either of those sources, and adds in a great commentary on the value of faith when you have no hope. Denzel Washington leads this film with a level of gravitas and confidence that he has perfected, and Gary Oldman completely disappears into his character in ways that only he can. This western-inspired apocalypse has plenty of style, but never places it above substance, as there is a clear story that they want to tell, and tell it brilliantly.
The Day After Tomorrow
This movie sometimes hits a little close to home. In a world that is slowly falling apart due to the people on it, those people can sometimes feel like it’s not our responsibility to save this world, our only home. This movie fast-forwards the inevitable result of our climate-based apathy as a society. In fact, one of the first scenes follows a scientist who notices a similarity between our current climate change, and the climate right before the Ice Age. Of course in the back half of the movie, once the end of the world has arrived, it becomes a big rescue mission movie, which is also fun. This movie is essentially everything that the movie 2012 wanted to be.
War for the Planet of the Apes
This movie is interesting, because humans are clearly the villains. As the final prequel to the original Planet of the Apes movie (which is a *spoiler* post-apocalypse movie), we see the final descent into how that 1968 world came to be. While there have now been *checks notes* nine movies in this franchise, as far as ones that focus on the post-apocalypse of it all, this movie really hits it well. Also, who doesn’t love seeing a bit of evil Woody Harrelson?
While certainly not the most popular on this list (or even the best) this movie has always really stuck with me for some reason. This Nic Cage movie follows an MIT astrophysics professor who finds himself with a piece of paper, written by a 9 year old girl 50 years ago. As he is perplexed, he begins to find a pattern in these numbers, and realize that each number corresponds to the time and location of a tragedy over the last 50 years. Can he figure out what the last numbers mean before the final predictions come to pass? Again, don’t watch this movie for a fantastic viewing experience, but it’s certainly a really interesting apocalypse theme that hasn’t been replicated any better since it came out in 2009.