With the majority of the planet in lockdown, everyday life now feels more like you’re on a movie set rather than this new reality. But we need an escape from the COVID-19 induced madness, and people seem to be finding comfort watching apocalyptic movies … so here’s our list of top movies to watch while waiting for normality to return!
28 Days Later
So, one minute you’re riding your bike along a London street, and next you wake up in hospital and there is NO ONE, like, NO ONE around. This is what happens when everyday bloke Jim wakes up after a bike accident, and has to piece together what’s happened to the world while he’s been in a coma. It’s brilliant stuff from British director Danny Boyle and a strong cast led by Cillian Murphy and including Naomie Harris and Brendan Gleeson. And it has zombies.
OK, so this is a glimpse of what could happen if the world does go under, and in spectacular fashion at that. First, a warning; do not be under any illusion that this film is anything other than a downer. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Robert Duvall, The Road is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a father must protect his son from a group of cannibals who have menaced the streets. It is as dreary as it sounds, but is still tender and beautiful, showing that even in the worst circumstances, some humans will choose to be good.
I Am Legend
Will Smith jokes he has a lot to answer for misinformation surrounding COVID-19 thanks to this 2007 film. In it, Smith plays scientist Robert Neville, the last human survivor of a plague in the whole of New York. And we are right there with him as he attempts to find a way to reverse the effects of the man-made virus by using his own immune blood. While it’s a bit cheesy and sentimental in parts (the dog scene will break you), it’s a top-shelf apocalypse film.
Speaking of top shelf, this terrifying thriller from Parasite director Bong Joon-ho is right up there with the very best. Set on a train in a post apocalyptic world, it highlights the lengths people will go for social status … First Class is obviously fabulous and Economy is like stepping into hell. Intelligent, insightful and a good reminder of how easy it is to allow the distance between the classes to widen, this one stars a top-shelf cast too – Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris.
Who can we depend on for a laugh in times of crisis? Sandy Bullock. That’s who. She’s got an incredible sense of comedic timing and is one of the best in the biz for physical comedy. And then there’s Sandy Bullock in Bird Box. Love or hate the fact they went with a very Hollywoodised ending for the film version of Josh Malerman’s 2014 book, the one thing you can’t deny is how good Sandy is in it. The premise is simple too – a mysterious force has decimated the population; if you look at it, you go mad and die. With two small kiddies left in her care, Sandy takes it upon herself to flee to a safe community where they can live without the constant threat of imminent death. Sure, it’s full of holes and is a bit clumsy in parts, but this is a solid, butt-clenching end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it film.
Shaun of the Dead
This Edgar Wright-directed classic starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is one of the best “lighter” zombie/apocalyptic films out there. Following the exploits of Shaun and Ed – best mates who take on an entire community of zombies – it’s whip-smart, cool and clever. Now, if only we could go to the pub and wait this out like these guys plan to, we’d probably all be fine!
War of the Worlds
If you can stand to watch Tom Cruise, download thyself this little gem from some bloke named Steven Spielberg who adequately tells H.G. Wells’ classic tale. And it got pretty good reviews too. With fab special effects and a fast pace, it’s certainly well worth 118 minutes of your time. Cruise plays Ray Ferrier, a dad whose plans to spend a weekend with his kids are thrown into disarray when an alien tripod descends on earth, threatening to wipe out humanity. And guess who is in the firing line? Yup.
– Andrea Beattie