When blockbuster hits and high-profile releases dominate a movie genre, there are some hidden gems that often go unnoticed. These 15 completely underrated apocalyptic movies offer a fresh perspective on the impending doom that haunts our collective consciousness. From gripping tales of survival to thought-provoking visions of a post-apocalyptic world, these films delve deep into the human condition and leave a lasting impact.
1. Zombieland (2009)
Zombieland may seem like a basic pick for an apocalyptic movie, but if you love a good comedy that makes light of intense situations, you will certainly love this film.
2. Planet of the Apes (1968)
Planet of the Apes started a phenomenon, and as a result, has curated an apocalyptic world that almost seems somewhat realistic in the sense that it could happen.
3. A Boy and His Dog (1975)
Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, this darkly humorous film follows a young man named Vic and his telepathic dog, Blood. Together, they navigate the desolate landscape in search of food and females. As they encounter various dangers and eccentric characters, Vic's loyalty to Blood is tested, leading to unexpected twists and a startling revelation about the true nature of their world.
4. The Mist (2007)
Based on a Stephen King novella, The Mist takes place in a small town engulfed by an otherworldly mist, trapping its residents in a grocery store. As the terrifying creatures lurking in the mist grow bolder, tensions rise among the trapped group. The film explores the fragility of human nature, showcasing the desperation, paranoia, and moral dilemmas the survivors face as they confront the horrifying truth outside.
5. Night of the Comet (1984)
After a comet passes close to Earth, most of humanity is turned into dust, leaving only a few survivors. Among them are two sisters, Regina and Samantha, targeted by zombie-like mutants and a shadowy government organization. Combining horror, sci-fi, and dark comedy elements, Night of the Comet delivers a quirky and entertaining take on the post-apocalyptic genre.
6. Love and Monsters (2020)
In a world overrun by giant creatures, Joel ventures out of his underground bunker to find his high school sweetheart. Along the way, he encounters various eccentric survivors and forms unexpected friendships. This adventure-filled film combines romance, humor, and thrilling monster encounters, offering a unique and heartwarming twist on the apocalypse.
7. Delicatessen (1991)
Set in post-apocalyptic France, Delicatessen follows the residents of an apartment building who resort to cannibalism due to food scarcity. When a former clown named Louison arrives and falls in love with the butcher's daughter, the delicate balance of this macabre ecosystem is disrupted. This darkly comedic and visually stunning film explores themes of love, humanity, and the absurdities of survival.
8. Threads (1984)
A chilling depiction of nuclear war and its aftermath, Threads presents a realistic and harrowing portrayal of the devastation caused by nuclear weapons. Set in Sheffield, England, the film follows the lives of multiple characters before, during, and after the attack, illustrating the catastrophic effects on society, infrastructure, and the human psyche. Threads is a stark reminder of the horrors of nuclear warfare.
9. The Rover (2014)
In the Australian Outback, a loner named Eric teams up with a wounded gang member, Rey, to track down Rey's brother, who stole Eric's car. Set in a bleak future where society has collapsed, the film explores people's desperation, revenge, and the search for meaning amidst chaos. Guy Pearce's intense performance and the desolate landscapes create a gripping atmosphere throughout the film.
10. Miracle Mile (1988)
Set in Los Angeles, Miracle Mile follows a man named Harry who accidentally answers a payphone and receives a distressing call warning of an imminent nuclear attack. As chaos ensues, Harry embarks on a frantic quest to find his new love interest and escape the city before it's too late.
This suspenseful and intense film keeps viewers on the edge of their seats until its unforgettable conclusion.
11. The Road (2009)
Based on Cormac McCarthy's novel, The Road tells the story of a father and son traversing a post-apocalyptic landscape devastated by an unspecified catastrophe. Their bond and will to survive are tested as they face scarcity, harsh weather, and encounters with desperate survivors.
The Road is a bleak and emotionally charged film that explores themes of love, hope, and the lengths one would go to protect their family in a menacing, desolate world. Viggo Mortensen's gripping performance as the father and Kodi Smit-McPhee's portrayal of the vulnerable yet resilient son bring depth and vulnerability to the narrative.
12. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
In the face of an impending asteroid collision set to wipe out humanity, Dodge Petersen, played by Steve Carell, embarks on a journey to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Along the way, he encounters a free-spirited neighbor, Penny, portrayed by Keira Knightley.
This unconventional romantic comedy explores imminent doom's profound impact on relationships and the search for meaning in life's final moments.
13. The Survivalist (2015)
The Survivalist unfolds in a post-collapse world, where a lone survivalist, portrayed by Martin McCann, ekes out an isolated existence in a remote woodland. His carefully balanced routine is disrupted when two women seek refuge on his land, challenging his trust and stirring his desires.
This gritty and atmospheric film explores human nature, survival instincts, and the complexities of trust in a world stripped down to its most basic elements.
14. 9 (2009)
Set in a post-apocalyptic world where machines have taken over, 9 follows a group of animated, sentient rag dolls who are the last hope for humanity. As they navigate a dangerous and decimated landscape, they uncover the secrets of their existence and fight to preserve what remains of life.
With stunning animation and a poignant story, 9 is a visually captivating and thought-provoking tale of resilience and determination.
15. These Final Hours (2013)
In the final hours before a global apocalypse, a self-centered young man named James finds himself on a journey of redemption and self-discovery. As chaos and hedonism engulf the world, he crosses paths with a young girl searching for her father.
Together, they navigate a lawless and destructive society, ultimately facing the question of how they choose to spend their final moments. These Final Hours present a raw and emotionally charged exploration of humanity's darkest hour and the potential for redemption amidst the chaos.
Jaimee Marshall is a culture writer, avid movie buff, and political junkie. She spends the bulk of her time watching and critiquing films, writing political op-eds, and dabbling in philosophy. She has a Communication Studies degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she flirted with several different majors before deciding to pursue writing. As a result, she has a diverse educational background, having studied economics, political science, psychology, business admin, rhetoric, and debate.
At Wealth of Geeks, Jaimee places an emphasis on film and television analysis, ranking the best [and worst] in media so you can find more diamonds in the rough and waste less time on box-office duds. You can find her articles on politics and culture in Evie Magazine, Katie Couric Media, Lotus Eaters, and Her Campus. You can also find her find her episode of Popcorned Planet, where she analyzes the Johnny Depp & Amber Heard trial. She has written extensively about due process, free speech, and pop culture.