ByKarina Thyra, writer at
a Truebie, X-Men Fan, a fangirl of sorts, stalker. Twitter:@ArianaGsparks
Karina Thyra

Although it wasn't as widely reported as the famed 2012 phenomenon, another new "end of the world" prediction recently stated that Earth would cease to exist (or something to that effect) on September 23, 2017. Conspiracy theorist David Meade claimed that the solar eclipse was only the beginning of the end, meaning that we would all face perdition 23 days after that event. He also stated that our planet would collide with a large planetary object called Niburu and wipe out over a billion people. However, he has now conveniently moved the date to October 15.

As I'm sure you'll agree, the apocalypse is best kept on the big screen, where we can endure the impending rapture within the safety of our theater seats. But Hollywood has such an obsession with the end of the world that it's sometimes hard to know which apocalyptic features are worth watching. So, below you'll find a selection of dystopian movies that have been a critical and financial success.

8. '28 Days Later'

  • Release Date: 2002
  • Director: Danny Boyle
  • Who's in it: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Blendan Gleeson
  • IMDB score: 7.6/10

28 Days Later is on many lists as one of the best zombie movies of all time. The story begins when three misguided animal liberation activists break into a medical research facility and free a chimpanzee, despite the scientist desperately warning them not to. Within a month, the 'rage virus' has nearly wiped out the population of Great Britain. So, it's up to a recently awoken comma patient, a chemist, a taxi driver, and his daughter to find sanctuary.

7. '2012'

  • Release Date: 2009
  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Who's in it: John Cussack, Morgan Lily, Thandie Newton
  • IMDB score: 5.8/10

Director Roland Emmerich is widely known for writing and directing disaster blockbusters, and 2012 is no exception. The film depicts the end of the world through a great flood based on the misinterpretation of the Maya Long Count. 2012 became one of the highest-grossing films of 2009, mostly due to our romantic nihilism of what was supposedly going to happen three years later as foretold by the Mayan calendar.

6. '28 Weeks Later'

  • Release Date: 2007
  • Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
  • Who's in it: Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Renner, Imogen Poots, Rose Byrne
  • IMDB score: 7/10

The second installment of the 28 days Later franchise follows the events of the first film wherein NATO forces take over Great Britain and established a safe zone for survivors once all of the infected have died of starvation. However, when two siblings go back to their former home to take mementos they find their mother – who is surprisingly still alive. As a result, the safe zone established for some of the few remaining humans of earth are compromised once again.

Aside from this sequel, the franchise has also spawned a graphic novel and a comic book series called 28 Days Later: The Aftermath and 28 Days Later, respectively. There have also been talks of a possible third film, which will likely be called 28 Months Later.

5. 'The Day After Tomorrow'

  • Release Date: 2004
  • Adapted from: The Coming Global Superstorm by Art Bell and Whitley Streiber
  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Who's in it: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum
  • IMDB score: 6.4/10

Before 2012, the world had already been thrown into an arctic chaos by director Roland Emmerich in the 2004 blockbuster, The Day After Tomorrow. Due to climate change, numerous worldwide catastrophes occur in a matter of days, which in turn plummeted the world into a new ice age.

The Day After Tomorrow may have received mixed reviews and criticism for its scientific inaccuracy, but it did become commercially successful and was the sixth highest-grossing film of 2004.

4. 'City of Ember'

  • Release Date: 2008
  • Adapted from: City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  • Director: Gil Kenan
  • Who's in it: Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, Harry Treadaway
  • IMDB score: 6.5/10

While we never discover what compelled humanity to live underground and live almost literally in the dark, the city of Ember is powered by a massive generator which has been running for 200 years. The city of Ember is an idyllic steampunk town, despite being terrorized by a giant mole and frequent power outage. However, the future of Ember’s citizens is ultimately up to a piece of paper left to Lina Mayfleet, who must find out how to escape the elaborate maze beyond the Ember that they know, and out into the world above.

3. 'Wall-E'

  • Release Date: 2008
  • Director: Andrew Stanton
  • Who's in it: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
  • IMDB score: 8.4/10

Wall-E depicts what Earth would be like should humanity finally succumb to the pits of irresponsibility and laziness. Seven hundred years into the future, Earth has been abandoned as a wasteland, without any greenery or water source. Only one robot and his cockroach companion are left to clean up the mess, until 'Eve robots' are sent to Earth to scour any trace of greenery, which would ultimately save the godforsaken place.

Wall-E is one of the most well-received films on this list, both financially and critically. Nobody will ever forget Wall-E thanks to its cute love story and all-important message: take. care. of. the. friggin’. planet.

2. 'The Road'

  • Release Date: 2009
  • Adapted from: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Director: John Hillcoat
  • Who's in it: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-Mcphee
  • IMDB score: 7.3/10

This is another post-apocalyptic movie where we don’t know exactly what happened to the planet. Those who didn’t die would unfortunately have to live day-by-day in a fate far worse than annihilation itself. The planet was left a dystopia and nothing appears to be edible, aside from canned goods and fellow humans. Despite these traumatic events, however, a man (Mortensen) and his son (Smit-Mcphee) struggle to survive and find a warm place to stay for the upcoming winter. If there’s anything we can learn from this movie, it's the sheer will of a human being to survive, and that there are genuinely good people out there, despite the death and destruction surrounding them.

1. I Am Legend

  • Release Date: 2007
  • Adapted from: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • Director: Francis Lawrence
  • Who's in it: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Dash Mihok
  • IMDB score: 7.2/10

Out of the three adaptations of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (the first two being The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man) the adaptation starring Will Smith is the most memorable.

When a genetically reengineered measles virus used as a cure for cancer turns into a lethal strain, it wipes away most of humanity and turns survivors into “Darkseekers.” So, only a military virologist (Smith) and his dog are left in New York to try and find other survivors and research a cure for the damning infection.

The ending is bittersweet for the legend that is Will Smith, but the film's popular alternate ending also gives us insight into the Darkseekers, who apparently retain a part of their humanity.

Humans have always been obsessed with the apocalypse. It doesn’t matter if it’s due to pandemics, natural disasters, alien invasions or the quest for world domination, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic films are more than the CGI popcorn fest that we all love to see on the big screen. From The Hunger Games to The Handmaid's Tale, dystopian settings are all the rage and it looks like they're here to stay. In some way, they also mirror our desire for survival by somewhat obsessing over our deaths through world annihilation. Still, if apocalyptic movies can teach us anything, it's that Earth is currently our habitable home; biblical apocalypse or not, we must ensure its survival by making necessary changes and decisions that will positively impact its future.

[Credit: Comedy Central]
[Credit: Comedy Central]

What's your favorite dystopian film? Let us know in the comments!


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