Post-apocalyptic films fit into its own category of cinema. Per CBR, the post-apocalyptic movie typically takes place in a dystopian future that usually shows how society has collapsed. Whether it’s through extraterrestrial forces landing on Earth like in A Quiet Place or its simply greed and hubris like in Mad Max: Fury Road, the concept of living in a dystopian future, post-apocalypse, has become a common thread that soothes the souls of many. All things considered, the post-apocalyptic genre has seen a great surge in the past decade, with people preferring to tell stories set in dystopias rather than utopias.
Dystopian futures have become a popular setting in cinema as many feel that they are the inevitable future of humanity, as outlined by Wired. Especially since the release of Mad Max: Fury Roadits popularity has even spawned parodies, as seen in, for instance, Rick and Morty. That being said, not all post-apocalyptic films are created equal. While you have the classics like Mad Max and 28 Days Later, there are quite a few that have fallen through the cracks, getting lost to time due to the sheer volume of films being thrown our way. Here are the best post-apocalyptic movies of the 2010s, ranked.
8 The Bad Batch
Starring Jason Momoa, Jim Carrey, and Keanu Reeves, this underrated post-apocalyptic thriller has everything you’d want in a dystopian film. From having a main character who loses a limb at the beginning of the film to the crew of cannibals that hunt down their prey in order to stay alive, The Bad Batch is a truly unique piece of cinema. Though the film was subject to exceedingly mixed reviews with many critiquing the narrative for being too weak, it still managed to take home the Special Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival during the year of its release.
7 world War Z
Despite the fun that South Park made of world War Z, it is truly a sight to behold. The film follows Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) who, while stuck in traffic, makes the horrifying discovery that a lethal virus is spreading throughout the city, turning healthy individuals into feral monsters. As the pandemic drones on, Gerry leads a global search to find the source of the infection and find a way to stop the zombie pandemic before it consumes what remains of humanity. The film was a staggering commercial success and revived the genre of zombie films, becoming the highest-grossing zombie film of all time. world War Z‘s popularity led to the announcement that a sequel was to be made, but those plans were canceled in 2019 due to budgeting issues.
6 bird box
bird box was a brand new film that caught the attention of everyone everywhere. A mysterious force arrives on the planet and, if you look at it, you are compelled to kill yourself. This force destroys the population and civilization as a whole, and the only way to survive in the world is to blindfold yourself. The film follows Malorie (played by Sandra Bullock) and her two children, Girl and Boy, as they go on a journey through the woods to try to find a place that may offer them sanctuary. The film is told non-linearly, with the past brought-up in between current movements of Malorie and her children. Between meeting people whom she thought she could trust and encountering mentally ill people who don’t kill themselves when looking at the force, but instead just wish to bask upon it, bringing other people down, bird box is a one-of-a-kind ride that you can watch on Netflix.
Based on the unpublished graphic novel of the same name, Oblivion also pays homage to Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Set in 2077, Earth has been destroyed by war with extraterrestrial beings and now humanity has relocated to Titan. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a tech sent back to Earth to fight off the rest of the remaining ETs, referred to as “scavengers.” On Earth, Jack sees a spacecraft crash and rescues the survivor Julia Harper (Olga Kurylenko). Harper is later taken by scavengers and must fight against a new alien threat. Oblivion was subject to mixed reviews; nevertheless, with a high production value and an outstanding performance from Cruise, the film was highly praised for its revival of science fiction, bringing back many of the beloved aspects of classic sci-fi films.
4 The Book of Eli
Denzel Washington is an astounding actor who brings every film he stars in to life, and his performance in The Book of Eli is no exception. The film takes place three decades after a war turned the surface of the Earth into a barren wasteland. A lone survivor, Eli (Washington), wanders the ruined landscape, carrying hope for humanity with him in the form of a book. Trouble stirs when another man, Carnegie (Gary Oldman), discovers Eli’s book and the power it holds, wishing to take it for himself. The film was subject to average reviews, dividing both critics and viewers alike. That being said, many have stated that the performances from Washington and Oldman make up for many of the film’s flaws.
3 snow piercer
snow piercer is a unique addition to the post-apocalyptic genre. Based on the French graphic climate fiction novel Le Transperceneige, the film is a South Korean-Czech co-production with 85% of the film’s dialogue being in English. Starring a mixed cast of A-list Americans like Chris Evans to South Korean stars like Song Kang-ho, the film takes place on the Snowpiercer train, which is traveling along the global track and carrying what remains of humanity after a failed attempt to stop global warming has brought on a new sort of Ice Age. The main character, Curtis Everett (Evans), takes it upon himself to lead the lower-class tail section of the train in a rebellion against the elite front of the train. The film was subject to critical acclaim and earned director Bong Joon-ho the award for Best Director at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival.
2 A Quiet Place
Starring real-life couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place is a fantastic film that revolves around a family who struggles to survive in a world where making any noise will attract horrifying monsters with no ability to see but with an acute sense of hearing. The film was subject to a great deal of praise and received critical acclaim for its uniqueness. A Quiet Place was nominated for dozens of awards, including the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing and the Golden Globe for Best Original Score. The film’s acclaim and popularity saw a sequel made in 2021, which was just as well-received as the original film and has spawned the announcement of a prequel, which has been delayed until 2024.
1 Mad Max: Fury Road
Topping our list is Mad Max: Fury Road. The Quintessential Post-Apocalyptic Movie, Fury Road revolves around Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) who teams up with Imperator Furiosa (Chalize Theron) to flee from Immortan Joe and save his wives from enslavement. The movie features everything; from the exploitation of water to the forced breeding of the beautiful women from Joe, Fury Road shows that in a barren wasteland where resources are slim, those with the resources hold all the power. A reboot of the original Mad Max franchise, Fury Road underperformed at the box-office but was critically praised, earning a total of ten nominations at the Academy Awards. needless to say, Mad Max: Fury Road deserves the top spot on this list.