The years following 2000 are fraught with post-apocalyptic films. Perhaps this is reactionary to the promised catastrophe of Y2K that never surfaced. Perhaps the Great Eastern Blackout of 2003 inspired filmmakers. Here are 5 unique examples of the genre:
28 Days Later… (2002) – A deadly and incurable virus spreads throughout Britain. The movie begins with the same story as The Walking Dead, with an individual waking up in a hospital bed after the apocalypse has happened. Since the comic debuted in 2003, it is unclear whether one was inspired by the other. Like The Walking Dead, the infected feed on the uninfected, and can spread the virus through their fluids. The movie was so successful that a sequel, 28 Weeks Later came out in 2007, wherein we learn that the virus had not spread outside of Britain.
Tooth and Nail (2007) – In this story, the world as we know it ends when the world’s oil supply runs out. Resources are scarce, which fuels groups of cannibalistic groups that prey on those clinging to survival. One group of survivors has to learn to fight back as they start to disappear one by one.
I Am Legend (2007) – The Will Smith blockbuster of 2007 features a plague that kills much of humanity, and creates monsters of those it does not kill. Smith is a sole survivor living in the heart of New York City amongst the encroaching and escaped wildlife. Smith is a scientist that works tirelessly to find a cure for the plague, and to keep what sanity he was left with.
The Road (2009) – Charlize Theron and Viggo Mortensen star in this tale of environmental collapse. The story of the end of the world is vague in this tale; however, from what detail is given the environment is getting colder after a meteor impact or massive volcanic explosion. Featuring more cannibalism like Tooth and Nail, The Road paints a more terrifying tale of isolation while fighting for subsistence.
Stake Land (2010) – An epidemic of vampires has spread across the world. In Stake Land, pockets of individuals still remain in small well guarded cities, cult communes or wandering the countryside. Had the epidemic in this movie not been vampirism, it may be held as the most realistic portrayal of how humanity may adapt to an apocalyptic event. Horror favourite and Roseanne alumnist Danielle Harris stars in this movie.
Many filmmakers have imagined the end of the world. In each case some survive to preserve the human race. The world seems to hunger for an end to civilization. Perhaps the survivors in these movies represent an opportunity for humanity to redeem itself after the mess it has created thus far.