Great Post-Apocalyptic Movies

We take a look at the best movies set after the world has changed forever…

This week, David Michod’s latest film, THE ROVER, is released in Irish cinemas. Set after the worldwide economic collapse, THE ROVER examines life, and the priorities of those who have survived a devastating change in the world. OK, an economic collapse is not quite the end of the world, but it is sure to have far reaching consequences. With this in mind, we decided to take a look at the best movies set in a world completely changed.


Let’s start off with a relatively gentle look at the world in the future! WALL-E is the tale of a trash compacting robot, who has become enamoured with the remnants of life humans left behind, when they fled the planet. WALL-E cobbles together pieces of popular culture, trinkets and toys as he goes on his mission of cleaning up Earth. All of this changes however, when he meets EVA – a robot sent to earth to discover whether it is habitable again.
WALL-E, as well as being a film that celebrates the best of human culture and emotion, is a film about the impact we are having on the world we live in, and what could happen to us as a species if we decide to run away, rather than face our problems. Of course, being a Pixar film, WALL-E ends on a happy note, but the film’s initial view of the world after humans have left is a bleak one.


In a post-apocalyptic future, humans are subdued, and used as ‘batteries’ for the artificial intelligence that defeated the human race. Neo (Keanu Reeves) is a computer programmer who wakes up from the simulated reality that the robots have placed him – and much of the human race – in, and vows to rebel.
The two sequels to THE MATRIX may have been fairly terrible, but the original film still stands up as a great action flick with tons of thrill rides and emotion. The world outside The Matrix is dark, dangerous and certainly uncomfortable, so who could have blamed Neo if he decided to stay in the blissful ignorance of the simulated reality?! The film seems to be inspired by Descartes’ idea that the perceived world is a comprehensive illusion, designed to deceive the human race, and it plays with this idea incredibly well.


Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in a London hospital, 28 days after a virus named ‘Rage’ has been passed from monkeys to humans, and decimated much of the world. The world that Jim awakens to looks and feels like the one he knew, but with signs of a catastrophe everywhere, it’s clear that everything is fundamentally different.
28 DAYS LATER is not only a great post-apocalyptic film, but it’s a terrifying ‘zombie’ film; those suckers are FAST! As well as this, the shots of deserted London, and the changes that take place in the survivors make us worry about the break down of law and order.


Another zombie movie, and another one that captures the creepy essence of a world without people. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is trying to make his way home to find his parents, and joins forces with a drifter in search of Twinkies, and two sisters who are just trying to stay alive. The group eventually takes refuge at Bill Murray’s mansion, but their safe haven falls apart when a prank goes wrong. It is up to this small group of survivors to learn to trust one another, and realise that the haven they seek may not be a place, but in one another.
ZOMBIELAND is a darkly comic look at the world after the zombie apocalypse, with Woody Harrelson’s character seeming fine with the way the world has turned, if only he could find some Twinkies. Bill Murray’s cameo is an absolute delight and the ending is rather sweet. The zombie plague, however, and its transmission to humans may make you rethink your love of cheeseburgers.


Based on the 1962 short film LA JETÉE, TWELVE MONKEYS is the middle film in Gilliam’s dystopian satire trilogy, which began with BRAZIL and ended with THE ZERO THEOREM.
in the year 2035, the human race has been forced underground since the release of a deadly virus in the late 1990s. James Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to gather information about the virus, and stop its release.
Of course, being a Terry Gilliam time travel movie – and based on the hauntingly beautiful LA JETÉE – the path of TWELVE MONKEYS rarely runs smooth, and the world of the past that Cole finds himself in is almost more confusing and deadly than the one he left behind. That said, Cole manages to redeem himself in the film, but he may have been too late to save the human race.


Do you have a favourite movie set after the fall of humanity? Is TOTAL RECALL is your thing? Or perhaps DIVERGENT? Let us know in the comments below.

THE ROVER is released in Irish cinemas on August 8th.

Words: Brogen Hayes