Hello fellow Coronavirus survivors. Has there been a better time to talk about the end of the world? In my life, I doubt it. So, as I figure many of you are home-locked and likely couch-locked, this is a great opportunity to share some of the more well- done and wonderfully created doomsday scenarios that have been portrayed in film. I’m not trying to play into the fear, just trying to show everyone how benign our situation is comparative to these movies. Not that COVID-19 is not incredibly serious. It’s just not a zombie apocalypse – yet. Fortunately, I don’t think the human race will meet the same fates as the characters in these movies.
These in particular did an incredible job creating the apocalyptic-style atmosphere – one of depravity, hopelessness, darkness, cold, and intensity. I think atmosphere and environment are the most important elements in building a proper doomsday setting. And while there have been plenty of films that touched on world-altering phenomenon (I think of Independence Day and 2012) – these films are actually of incredibly high quality from a viewing and rating perspective, for their emphasis on character development, ability to create genuine excitement and fear, and plot designs which bring you into their worlds and do not let go until the ending credits. These are less popcorn movies and more movies you will want to pay attention to, and will continue coming back to years later. At least, I do! Here is my list:
28 Days & 28 Weeks Later: These are the epitome of quality zombie movies for me, and they genuinely gave me nightmares for months. The idea of Rage zombies running at you at full speed constantly is frightening. But not only this, the film captures the feeling of hopelessness and desolation of the UK perfectly during a zombie apocalypse. Cillian Murphy (Inception, Peaky Blinders) stars brilliantly here, as do the supporting cast members. A differentiator for this film is you actually care about these characters throughout the movie. At times, you genuinely get fearful that you are going to catch the Rage disease portrayed in the film, almost in an ethereal way that transcends the screen. The fear of the characters is shown as true, uncompromising fear – and I think that made me connect strongly to the movie. As in, the reactions of the characters are exactly what I would have done (probably) in their situations. No cheesey lines, absurd action scenes – just genuine fear and a fight for survival. It is gritty, intense, eye-opening and actually intelligent – a deep look into the dangers of man and the lengths people will go to when depraved. 28 Days = 9/10, 28 weeks = 8/10
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015): Without a doubt, one of the finest action films of the past decade. The plot focuses on Max, a wasteland drifter in a post nuclear-fallout world (very much Fallout:NV vibes here). It follows his exploits as he attempts to bring a group of maidens to safety while avoiding capture and certain death. The movie is filmed in such a fast-paced, energetic way that it is difficult to look away for even a moment. My friends and I are always glued to the film when it comes on. Tom Hardy’s character, Max, a man of few words, is a triumph of strength and perseverance. His counterpart, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is a bad-ass protagonist who is equally as skilled and cunning. Even with very limited backstories, you are addicted to the plight of these characters and those around them. The villains are creepy and evil looking (looking at you, Papa Joe) and genuinely frightening at times. This is non stop action in a post-apocalyptic wasteland nightmare, and it is one of my favorite films of the 2010s. 10/10
Children of Men: A different take on the end of days – this film brilliantly focuses on a future with rampant infertility. The idea: women cannot give birth anymore, and newborns are incredibly rare. Society is collapsing as the population grows older and older, seemingly unable to procreate any longer. The sense of impending doom and devastation is palpable in this film, and the post-modern society it creates is one not drastically technologically different from our own, which hits home for me when I see it. It is a realistic look at how society reacts under intense pressure, particularly the mob mentality and ability for humans to both be incredibly resilient and incredibly evil. Clive Owen stars as the story’s protagonist, and is a fantastic casting in the setting of the UK. Through all this devastation, it grips you hard and makes you think – and ultimately leaves you with a strange sense of peace and hopefulness. Such a great range of emotions. Very underrated film – definitely check this one out. 9.25/10