15 Apocalypse Movies to Add to Your Watch List

Sometimes, you just want the world to end. We’ve all thought about it. Just one bad day to take you back from the absurd existence that is you and sometimes realize, maybe everything should just end. Best way to process this dire existential crisis? Watching apocalyptic movies!


Of course, there is a scientific explanation for why people would want to watch movies about the world ending or facing an extinction level event, but I’m not here to fix you. That’s a whole different article. I’m here to tell you doomsday movies are awesome, and here are a couple of movies that we think would scratch your end of the world itch. If you’re looking into something more of cyberpunkish dystopia, check out these movies in this article.

One would think apocalypse movies are just straight up about the world ending. However, movie connoisseurs who’ve watched movies around this movie genre know that there are sub-genres under this particular. So, we’ll be splitting up the list into a couple of sub-genres. We’ll have Natural Disaster Apocalypse, Monster Apocalypse, Post Apocalyptic, and Indirect Apocalypse. By the way, these subgenres are entirely made up for a fun way to categorize the quite sizable list of movies in this category.

Let’s break it down.

Natural Disaster Apocalypse – Let’s face it, Mother Nature hates us as a species. She’s been trying to get rid of us since we came into being. What better way to accelerate global warming than a giant flaming space rock hitting dead on the planet?

2012 - mother nature apocalypse

Monster Apocalypse – Pretty self-explanatory. Monsters the size of skyscrapers threatening to end everything that’s breathing on Planet Earth. Movie mostly focuses on how humans battle these behemoths.

godzilla - monster apocalypse

Post Apocalypse – Apocalypse came and left. Now all that’s left is society in the aftermath of all the indiscriminate destruction. The timeline spans 28 days to 50 years after the apocalypse. Movie revolves around this new post apocalyptic world with new rules and way of living. Humans get weird.

dsytopian apocalypyse

Indirect Apocalypse – An apocalypse is taking place, but you don’t get to see it really happening. These movies tend to focus on a couple of characters and their relationships or how they cope with the whole situation. The apocalypse is still taking place but around them. Preferred subgenre for artistic endeavors, or movies with a lower budget.

Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s move on to our first list!

Natural Disaster Apocalypse

The Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow - global warming apocalypse
Typical Tuesday for New Yorkers.

What if the fine-tuned ecosystem of the planet comes to a cascading failure? Remember Al Gore’s shocking documentary about global warming and its impact? Yeah, this movie is about that. The whole world gets plunged into a series of events that end up raising the ocean levels, and producing super storms that are capable of freezing everything in existence. Basically throwing the entire planet into an Ice Age. If you enjoy the Indiana Jones-esque scientist / adventure that brings the audience around the world as these catastrophic events start wiping out major cities, then this movie is the right choice for you. Also, young Jake Gyllenhaal is in the movie, so expect the angst levels to be high.

Deep Impact

Deep Impact - spac apocalypse

Something about threats from outer space leaves us so helpless. Asteroids in particular is something that we’ve learned has wiped out dominant species in the past (suck it, dinosaurs). Deep Impact is a more subtle approach to the whole asteroid doomsday scenario compared to Armageddon (below) A reporter stumbles into a scandal, not knowing what it actually is, and the government finally unveils the looming threat as well as their plans to fix it. Well, it didn’t work, so we got to see the marvels of CGI from 1998 bringing life to the moments of impact. You’ll find notable actors in this show, including a young Frodo Baggins.


2012- earth apocalypse
Screw this part of the US in particular.

Ah yes, remember the days when the end of 2012 was supposed to be the end of us all? The Mayans predicted it! Their calendar ends in 2012, and it’s all over. And they made a movie about it. The science gets fuzzy when introducing the factor that starts the catalyst of the end of the world, but the subsequent events of catastrophe are just beautiful. You have the Yellowstone super volcano finally erupting. The US East Coast breaks off after a major earthquake and starts sinking into the ocean. And let’s not forget the megatsunamis sweeping the globe, taking everything with it. I’m not going to lie, the script and acting are pretty meh. But the plot is a meaty one to compensate for the whole experience. The movie follows the adventure of a guy and his family throughout the chaos and survives by sheer luck and circumstance, leading the family to the savior of humanity, the arks built as a mega submersible boats to hold people and wait out for a less hostile environment to restart civilization.


Armageddon - space apocalypse
Didn’t know you could bring Pocky to spaec.

The whole gives out a “Yee Haw” vibe throughout. It’s about cowboys getting into space and saving humanity from an impending asteroid strike. Send a bunch of oil drillers into space with weeks of astronaut training to drill holes into the asteroid and place nuclear bombs to break it to pieces, which in hindsight feels like a terrible idea. Armed with everything needed to make the mission possible, the crew sets off to undertake the daring mission. Bruce Willis plays the overprotective father role, and he’s forced to work together with his daughter’s fiance-to-be, Ben Affleck, whom he loathes. A pretty straightforward apocalypse action movie, Armageddon is something you can enjoy for its simplicity and the singalong with Steve Tyler at the end of the movie.

Monster Apocalypse

Independence Day

Independence Day - alien apocalypse

Perhaps one of the movies in this list with the best speech lines written. Well, it gives a huge patriotic boner no matter where you come from. The 4th of July is now the entire Earth’s Independence Day after fighting off an alien invasion. With massive ships that seemingly came out of nowhere made their way to all the major cities in the globe, with the intention of obliterating everything. The movie features classic actors such as Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum who played different roles in the movies that ultimately bring down the alien force. The action and special effects are perfectly balanced with CGI and practical effects, giving the movie its substance. There is a lot of destruction and lasers, an action packed movie that has made it into the hearts of millions.

Godzilla (1998 Blockbuster)

Godzilla 1998 - monster apocalypse
Broderick’s charm extends to mutated giant lizards too.

The 1998 Blockbuster Movie, Godzilla is a masterpiece in its time. And I will address it as the 1998 Blockbuster Movie, Godzilla throughout this entry. Sure, it’s not actually Godzilla per se, deviating from the whole Godzilla original lore, but the movie brought the audience a perspective of unparalleled sense of action. Weaving through the city of New York in tight corners to avoid missiles and gunfire, the action sequence is a cinematic marvel. It brought a sense of scale that felt truly terrifying. Although Matthew Broderick seems like a bit of a weird choice for a lead in a monster movie, his boyish charms somehow made it work. The CGI is probably a bit dated considering it came out in 1998, but it still holds up in its story telling and how the characters slowly unveiled the gigantic menace that is terrorizing the city of New York. And yes, let’s not forget the random French Special Forces sprinkled throughout the movie.


Cloverfield - monster apocalypse
Seriously, can’t New York catch a break?

We’re not going to lie and say the first viewing of this movie is an easy one. The whole shaky camera motion has some of us throwing up or feeling nauseous. Probably Cloverfield is one of the first big budget flicks to employ found footage perspective in the apocalypse genre. We have a monster of unknown origin appearing in New York (again) and starting its rampage by committing hate crime against the Statue of Liberty. While this movie might be more suitable in the sub-lists below, we felt that the heart of the movie has been the monster terrorizing humans. There’s nothing much to be said about this movie except that it’s an experience. The terror, panic and desperation are all painted through the characters and the people around them, including the most ambitious cameraman in the world. The movie also inspired other movies such as 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox.

War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds -alien apocalypse
Brought to you by Wrangler Jeans.

Inspired by H. G Wells’ novel, War of the Worlds is a movie about an alien invasion. The novel is perhaps one of the earliest stories that depicted humankind’s interaction with extraterrestrial beings. It was such a convincing story that when a radio program in the 1930s that was produced by Orson Welles aired and caused panic among people. Some of them ended up shooting at water towers out of fear that it might be the aliens. The movie however has a lackluster reception among movie goers. But it is still a solid movie that people should watch, although there are a couple of dull moments. Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning’s screams carried the movie in its entirety, but ultimately, the movie is about a broken family coming together in a time of crisis. And alien robots zapping humans and leaving their clothes behind.

Post Apocalypse

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
The face of a guy captured by the Drama Society.

Witness me! We’re just guessing here, but is Mad Max basically the outlands of Australia? If it is, we would like some of those spray paint cans to go. To Valhalla! Now with the obvious bias out of the way, Mad Max: Fury Road is the latest installation in the Mad Max franchise. Originally starred by Mel Gibson, Mad Max is about a post apocalypse world that was slowly descending into madness due to resource shortage and plunging into a diesel punk nightmare. The latest addition to the franchise, Fury Road, has expanded the lore and universe so much so that even the language used in the movie has evolved to suit the skinhead, spray paint inhaling mutants that are racing through the deserts to fight other clans. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron play the main characters, but the show is absolutely carried by the myriad of fascinating diesel punk inspired characters with quirky names and outfits. Nothing is as awesome as winning the approval of Immortan Joe.


It’s still weird to see Chris Evans acting outside the Marvel Universe.

I remember discovering this movie by accident, as the hype wasn’t really there in the country I’m from. But what a jewel of a movie this was. The world ends up freezing itself to a new Ice Age, and humanity’s last pocket of survivable habitat is now confined in the carriages of a long train that travels around the world without ever stopping. Built by an eccentric who had the foresight to prepare before the temperatures dropped, the train features an intricate balance between various systems and ecosystems. The train was built to have a sustainable environment that allows plants and animals to grow, feeding the privileged onboard the train. Things however changed when a band of people slipped through in the back of the train, clinging on to their life. However, their new life on board the train is nowhere close to humane. Chris Evans (surprisingly), takes on the role of the rebel leader, with a dark past but still hopes for a better future for the rest of his people.


One latte with an extra shot of B+ blood to go please.

What if the world was ruled by vampires? What if Helsing dropped the ball, and now vampires are chilling in every corner of the world? Daybreaker is about an apocalypse that turned out to be an alright thing, sort of. Humans in Daybreaker are turned into vampires and when everyone is a vampire, is that really a problem? Remaining humans, however, are turned into blood farms to be harvested to be fed to the rest of the vampire population. There is a significant reduction in blood supply, leaving this new civilized vampire society at the brink of collapse. The movie is subtle in its approach to vampirism. No over the top Nosferatu type character terrorizing nearby Romanian villages. More of, how many shots of blood would you like in your coffee. Daybreaker explores an interesting universe that sheds light into humanity and whether it is completely extinguished once you’ve consumed the blood of your former brethren.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Look at me, I’m the superior species now.

The Planet of the Apes franchise is one of those that I did not know that I needed a reboot and two more movies to watch. Sure, I enjoyed Del Toro’s version, but this tells a different story. The beginning of the simian domination. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (DOTPOTA) takes place 10 years after the Simian Flu outbreak that wiped out most of the human population. We have pockets of human civilization trying to establish order while the apes have started building impressive jungle themed resort. The ape’s leader, Caesar, will finally know what it means to actually acquire intelligence, and not all apes share the same peaceful lifestyle that he desired for his newly formed clan. The movie looks into the fragile alliance between humans and apes, and things go sideways when you have characters who are out for revenge from both sides.

Indirect Apocalypse

World War Z

World War Z
If you want grade A acting from Brad Pitt, never make him the lead.

When World War Z came out, the world was pretty much done with the zombie genre. Or so I thought. World War Z follows the journey of a man, a former UN Investigator who finds himself in a flash infection in the middle of the city. And in the midst of the chaos, he has to get his family to safety. The film looks at a micro lens through the main character and how he is forced back into his old post, trying to figure out a way to contain the mass spread of the zombie virus. Unlike most zombie moves which tend to be a localized experience, World War Z brings us around the globe, tracking down the infection in Korea, and then moving to the next piece of clue in a different country. It introduces new scenarios to the stale zombie genre. And there is a scene where a zombie infection starts in an airplane. Holding back a zombie attack in a metal tube 30,000 feet in the sky is perhaps one of the craziest things I’ve seen in a zombie flick.

Don’t Look Up

Don't Look Up
Casual grocery shopping during an imminent asteroid strike.

A curious little film, released by Netflix, Don’t Look Up is an interesting movie about a group of scientists discovering an asteroid in a direct collision with Earth. The problem was no one in positions of authority was paying attention to their warnings. We have the US President who only thinks about the advancement of her political career and her coked up son as the Chief of Staff. We have a billionaire who diverts the Earth’s only hope to destroy the asteroid for monetary gains. We also have a scientist who became the puppet to become the face of the government’s efforts in thwarting the end of the world. The movie features a ludicrous plot, a greedy billionaire but as you slowly get into it, the laughter slowly dies when you realize that this is not far off from the reality that we’re living in. Political agendas, propaganda, capitalism and idiots. And no one listens to the scientists till it’s too late. The movie also features an impressive list of star-studded actors. Good job on this one, Netflix.


Chris Evans, aka Human Torch’s origin story.

The Earth is dying, again. What did we do this time? This time, the Sun dropped the ball. Sunshine is about the sun that’s dying. The dimming of the Sun created a large enough on Earth to disrupt the ecosystem, causing the globe to start freezing, and the crops to start failing. We have a group of scientists and engineers on route to the Sun with a massive nuclear bomb to jumpstart the Sun. The mission follows the crew of Icarus 2, following the failed attempt of the lost crew of Icarus 1. Seriously, no one’s going to address the irony of the names? Anyway, Sunshine introduces an interesting experience where the spacecraft is designed to sustain life using a closed loop ecosystem. And let’s not forget the gold-plated spacesuits, specially designed to withstand a certain level of heat and radiation from the Sun. Sunshine brings philosophical arguments about our place in the universe as well as action packed sequences that put you on your seat’s edge. And would you look that, Icarus 1 is still operational. I wonder what happened to them? Let’s find out!

And we’ve reached the end of the list! If you feel humanity has let you down in any sense recently, and boy has it been a difficult year for everyone, maybe a dose of apocalypse movie night will put a smile on your face. Life’s short, and our existence pretty much has no meaning at this point, so go out there and find your own meaning. And if you end up being one of the astronauts that’s going to save us from asteroids in the future, let me be the first one ever to thank you for your service.



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