With the craziness that’s going on with the world at the moment, thanks to the virus known as COVID-19 (coronavirus), it’s led many of us to isolate in our homes. As bad as the situation may be, these movies paint a far darker picture.
Now is the time, more than ever, to catch up on all the films you’ve missed, and what better selection of movies than this list of post-apocalyptic nightmares. So raid whatever you have in your snack draw, grab the booze you’ve likely been stockpiling for the last few years, let the bigwigs of the World decide our fate as a human race (oh, boy) and wait for all this to blow over. How’s that for a slice of fried gold?
Mad Max: Fury Road:
No film has managed to encapsulate derelict, wasteland living quite like George Miller’s reboot of the Mad Max franchise. Thirty years after being laid to rest, Miller brings his golden acheivement back to the big screen, this time with Tom Hardy as the hardened hero.
In a world ravaged by war, greed and control, Max finds himself right in the thick of it. Fighting back against a tyrannical leader, who lives in his own desert fortress. Aiding a group of females (known as the wives), Max looks to outrun and overthrow the warlord known as Immortal Joe. What ensues is an adrenaline fuelled, car chase through the badlands. Fast paced action, ludicrous characterisations and unforgettably stunning cinematography. Fury Road maintains its wonderfully bizarre aesthetic with each rewatch.
Mad Max: Fury Road sets itself far apart from my other picks, and that is why it continues to be held in such high regard. There really is nothing else like it.
Train to Busan:
Just when I was ready to give up on the Zombie sub-genre altogether, this frantic piece of South Korean cinema, blissfully reawakened my love for it.
Train to Busan is set during an outbreak that occurs in the heart of South Korea’s capital. We follow a workaholic father escorting his young daughter to Busan (at her request), to spend her birthday with her mother. Whilst on their travels from Seoul station, they find themselves initially removed from the quick collapse of the outside world. When one of the infected find their way onto the claustrophobic carriages of the Busan bound train however, the pair, along with fellow passengers on their daily commute, are left scrambling for their lives.
Relentlessly brutal from the moment our commuters come to terms with the chaos they were previously unaware of. Director Yeon Sang-ho, plunges you into a gorified nightmare as it offers one nail biting set piece to the next with such fluidity. In the decades that has seen such an influx in zombie movie culture, Train to Busan is the breath of fresh air the genre has been desperately crying out for. It keeps you invested in its story, the characters, and most importantly its consistently heart pulsing energy.
A movie so emotionally dark, it manages to make the DC universe look like uplifting entertainment.
John Hillcoat’s adaptation of the novel of the same name, is a bleak representation of an America left in ruins after catastrophe. It centres around a father and son traversing through all the rubble, caused by the aftermath. It’s every man for himself in this new way of life and demonstrates human selfishness and sacrifice at its highest form.
The pairing of Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee paint a painfully realistic picture, of a father desperately trying to keep his son alive. Their raw and powerful performances make for a tough viewing experience. You may only be able to put yourself through it once, but you’d be glad you did, even if it makes you want to crawl into a ball and cry, or be furious at humanity.
Shaun of the Dead:
The light-hearted entertainment piece of the bunch. Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy opener, Shaun of the Dead, adds a much more comical spin on a national disaster.
In the wake of a zombie outbreak, underachiever Shaun, accompanied by his absent-minded best friend Ed, navigate their way through the streets of London, which are now hoarded by the undead. Their goal? To reach The Winchester pub, and wait for the events of the catastrophe to blow over.
This was Edgar Wright’s first major success as a director, and has since remained one of the most exciting creators in cinema. His impeccable talent for comedic timing, sharp wit and keen eye for detail show off emphatically. Led by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the pair’s collective charm propels the film’s simple narrative to such distinctive heights.
Both a mockery and an ode to a genre that needed changing up, and rest assured, Edgar Wright does exactly that. Whilst most of the films on this list will be hard to stomach, Shaun of the Dead will break that mould. Making light of an otherwise disastrous situation.
10 Cloverfield Lane:
With social distancing and isolation now temporarily becoming common place in our day to day lives, no film on this list (or perhaps ever) demonstrates that concept more profoundly than 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Moving away from the action orientated, found-footage style of its predescessor, this Cloverfield sequel takes a very different approach. By allowing the Worldly destruction that was focused upon in its first outing to take a back seat, director Dan Trachenberg creates a more suspenseful thriller. A social character study set in the confines of an underground bunker.
Tensions quickly arise between the group. Lies, deceit and manipulation of power heightens the suspense, that would have already been set-up in the franchise’ opener. It’s a nail-biting endeavour that allows the actors to fully make the most of its well thought through material.