10 Of The Most Terrifying Dystopian And Apocalypse Movies


There’s just something about dystopian and apocalypse films that get you right in the gut. 

They’re terrifying not only because they could actually happen, but also because this realisation forces us to ponder upon what we would do in those situations.

If, say, a super-storm were to suddenly sweep the nation – what would you do? who would you call? would you be selfish? would you be kind? and, most importantly, would you survive?

Such morbid thoughts are best left uncovered, we say.

Unless, of course, it’s 2am in the morning and you’re lying in bed having an existential crisis. In that case – why not watch these films for some pensive inspiration?

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)


Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum somehow manage to find the time for romance whilst being holed up inside an abandoned library in the midst of an apocolyptic super-storm in New York.

Their only hope is Jake’s climatologist father (played by Dennis Quaid) but, seeing as he has to go through the snow storm to get to them, it’s understandable that quite a bit of romance takes place whilst they’re waiting. #YOLO, right?

V For Vendetta (2005)

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Natalie Portman may have a terrible English accent in this flick but if you can just force yourself to cope with it, then the whole film is basically perfect.

Based on a popular graphic novel, this film envisions London as a corrupt police state occupied by a fascist government.

A masked vigilante rises up to fight the corrupt oppressors and decides to take Natalie Portman under his wing. His methods of bonding are a bit brutal, but still, it can’t be denied that this film is an instant classic.

Legion (2010)


Paul Bettany plays the archangel Michael in this horror flick, which sees an isolated roadside diner take the brunt of several plagues sent by God to wipe out humanity.

An innocent (and very pregnant) waitress is trapped inside the diner whilst the world comes under attack, but things get even stranger when the archangel Michael arrives to tell her that she must survive – as her unborn child is humanity’s last hope.

War of the Worlds (2005)


Tom Cruise plays Ray Ferrier – a divorced father facing a truly impossible mission in this chilling flick, which sees his small town invaded by a host of blood-harvesting aliens.

With his two children to look after (played by a young Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin), Ray attempts to find them refuge until they can stay with their mother.

But things prove difficult when the aliens start popping up all over the world.

Snow Piercer (2013)


This film takes place in a post-apocolyptic world, which has been swept over by a deadly snow storm. The only surviving humans take residence on a long train that travels around the world on a loop all year.

The train is arranged by class, which means that the poor are forced to live in completely poverty at the back of the train, whilst the rich live in luxury at the front.

When children from the back of the train start to go missing, however, Chris Evan’s character gathers together a search party with his friends and fights his way through to the front of the train to find them.

Little does he know that he’s set to find a lot more than he bargained for.

The Matrix Trilogy (1999 – 2003)


Keanu Reeves plays Neo, a man who suddenly finds himself swept into an underground world of violence when he learns the world that he lives in is actually just a simulation created to keep humans subdued and sedated whilst evil robots harvest them for energy. Lovely.

Once Neo wakes up, he realises that he’s the only who can save humanity from the deadly clutches of these robots – but how can he do that when he can’t even access his true powers?

Thankfully, his new friend, Morpheus, is more than happy to help him in that aspect.

Children of Men (2006)


In this dystopian thriller, humanity faces extinction when infertility sweeps the human race.

Clive Owens plays a cynical government worker who becomes an unlikely hero when he’s suddenly tasked with escorting the last pregnant woman in the world to safety before she gives birth.

Gattaca (1997)


In the future, parents can genetically design their babies whilst they’re still in the womb, to make them disease-free and highly-skilled when they’re eventually born.

In a world filled with perfect, genetically-modified people, Ethan Hawke plays a man named Vincent Freeman, who is one of the few humans who was born naturally.

Since he was a child, all Vincent wanted to do was become an astronaut, but the Gattaca space programme doesn’t allow anyone to work for them unless they’ve been genetically modified.

So, he borrows the genes of a genetically modified man (played by Jude Law) and assumes his identity. However, it’s only a matter of time before someone discovers the truth of who he really is.

Battle Royale (2000)


This Japanese classic focuses on a grim and violently brutal future, in which school-children are forced to fight eachother to the death.

Many have made comparisons between The Hunger Games and this film, but – in our opinion – this gripping flick is way better.

Never Let Me Go (2010)


Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s best-selling novel, this dark dystopian tale is probably the most heart-breaking on this list.

It tells the story of three friends – Kathy, Tommy and Ruth (played by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley) who grow up in a deceptively perfect boarding school together.

However, things are not all that they seem. The students at this school have been bred specifically to become organ donors for the rest of the nation, which means that, by the time they reach adulthood, they’ll be forced to donate all the vital parts that are keeping them alive, and die.


Kathy, Tommy and Ruth are forced to live with this fact as they get older, but things grow much more difficult to deal with when two of them realise that they hold deep, romantic feelings for one another.

If only they had a little bit more time together …

And if you’re a fan of this book and film – why not try watching the Japanese TV adaptation as well? Titled Watashi wo Hanasanaide, the show tells the story of the three protagonists in an intricate detail that surpasses the big screen version by far.

If you’d like a better understanding of the novel as well, this show is certainly one binge-able way of getting to know how each of the characters felt about their fate. The romance hurts all the more too. 


Have you seen any of these? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Images via Giphy /Film 4 /AM Associates / Columbia Pictures Corporation / Universal Pictures / Warner Bros. / Opus Pictures / Paramount Pictures / Bold Films / Twentieth Century Fox 

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