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The Best Post-Apocalyptic Movies You Can Watch On Netflix Right Now

It can be easy to feel like the world is ending if you pay attention to the... well, everything that's going on in it. Partisan politics, global pandemics, dogs and cats living together. We understand that it's a lot. It's rarely consolation to say this, but things could certainly be worse.

"How could things possibly be worse?" you may ask (go ahead and say it out loud; it will help you picture it) in this figurative scenario. Well, we've got just the answer for you.

If you want to take comfort in the idea of "at least our end of the world isn't that bad," you should probably feast your eyes on some post-apocalyptic movies. Luckily, Netflix has got plenty of solid options available if you want to watch people banding together to survive after the world has fallen to pieces. 

Bird Box

Remember the Bird Box Challenge? We would say it's one of the stupider viral challenges that has come along, but there are just so many. The challenge involved blindfolding yourself and trying to do things — from simple things like navigating your backyard to extremely bad ideas like trying to drive a car.

The challenge came from the Netflix-produced film Bird Box, based on the novel of the same name by Josh Malerman. It shows some of the world before civilization fell, but the movie mostly takes place after a vast majority of the world's population has died out. Monsters have invaded our world — monsters that drive people insane if they catch even a glimpse of them. The last few survivors live in homes with blacked-out windows, strapping blindfolds on whenever they need to venture out for supplies.

The movie stars Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich and Sarah Paulson, and features some really intense scenes and fun set pieces. There are some logical leaps, but Bird Box is a darn entertaining romp — especially considering that it deals with such dreary subject matter.

It Comes at Night

Is there any other Joel Edgerton as good as tragically downbeat Joel Edgerton? It Comes at Night relishes in putting the veteran actor through the ringer, and the film does a great job of making you question what is really going on and who you can actually trust. It makes the most of its tiny cast and minimalist setting, and allows the viewer's imagination to run wild and fill in the scariest blanks.

It Comes at Night focuses on a family of three — Paul, Sarah and Travis — living in a remote cabin. A horrible and extremely contagious illness has wiped out much of the world population, and the family has a strict set of rules in order to avoid contact with the infected and stay alive. Unfortunately, their strict rules are overturned when another family stumbles across the cabin and asks for their help.

Edgerton is great as Paul, and the rest of the cast has some heavy lifting to do to keep the tension high in It Comes at Night. This is one of those films where you just know everything is going to go wrong, and anticipation of the hammer dropping is almost as thrilling as when it all goes sideways.

How It Ends

How It Ends probably qualifies more as a disaster movie than a post-apocalyptic one, but it ticks a lot of the same boxes. This Netflix original is something of a grounded, more "real world" type of Mad Max, as the movie at its core is essentially a roadtrip through an apocalyptic Earth. It's a post-apocalyptic buddy road trip with Forest Whitaker and the guy from Divergent! What more could you want?

How It Ends follows a man named Will (Theo James), who sets out on a cross-country road trip to rescue the woman he loves after a series of cataclysmic events. He teams up with Tom (Whitaker), his girlfriend's dad, and the duo try to make it from Chicago to Seattle. In their way is a host of outlaws and panicked people, trying to make sense of what has happened to the world.


If you'd like some stylish animation with your post-apocalypse, you should give Blame! a shot. It's a Netflix-produced film based on the manga of the same name (pronounced "blam," not "blame"), and it gives off some of the same vibes as Terminator and The Matrix — in the best ways.

The story goes like this: the AI system that humanity has used to reach its zenith has gone rogue, and started replicating itself and exterminating humanity. A few small groups of survivors exist. Many of them are just trying to eke out an existence, but a few are actively trying to fight back against the technology that is hunting them. The action centers on a man named Killy, who may just be the weapon humanity needs to retake the world.

Blame! actually has a decent dub, but rest assured that Netflix also offers the original Japanese language track with English subtitles.

The Worthy

Post-apocalyptic movies may be a dime a dozen in the United States, but they're a rarer breed in Middle Eastern cinema. In fact, The Worthy attracted a lot of attention upon its release for this very reason. It does an awful lot with a relatively small budget, and it's a good way to get a fresh perspective on a well-trodden genre.

In The Worthy, the world's water supply has been almost entirely contaminated, killing most of the population. It was poisoned by a political group to silence their enemies, but things got out of hand and nearly everyone died because of it. The plot centers on a small group of survivors who have found a clean source of water in an abandoned factory. As word gets out that the group has access to clean water, all sorts of raiders come knocking.

The Worthy deals with themes similar to many post apocalyptic films, but seeing it from the perspective of a culture that rarely touches the genre is fascinating. Go in open minded and we think you'll find a lot to like.


Snowpiercer has got a lot of good going for it. There's the phenomenal cast, headed up by names like Chris Evans, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, and Parasite's Kang-ho Song. Speaking of Parasite, it's director Bong Joon-ho's first ever English-language film. It's also extremely slick, based on the classic French graphic novel. That's a lot to like right there.

Snowpiercer is dense and determined to get its audience thinking; like Parasite, it deals in symbols of the class structure and social constructs of our own world. The basic premise is this: the world has entered another ice age, and the last remnants of humanity are on a massive train that continually travels the globe. The train is segregated by class — the rich are in the lavish front cars, while poorer residents are pushed towards the back. Eventually, a few of the people in the back of the train lead a revolt, and their push towards the engine sets off some wild revelations.

Like many of Bong Joon-ho's films, Snowpiercer gets absolutely bonkers by the end. Check it out.


Cargo is a fascinating beast. It's a zombie movie, but the zombies don't play a big part in the overall proceedings. It's a fairly low-budget affair, featuring several unknown actors and two first-time directors. On the other hand, the project is anchored by a lead performance from Bilbo Baggins himself, Martin Freeman. It's an Australian film about the end of the world and just what people can do to survive as everything comes crashing down.

Cargo focuses on a family — Andy (Freeman), Kay (Susie Porter), and their baby Rosie — who live on a houseboat off the coast of mainland Australia. The rest of the country has been overrun by a virus that transforms its victims into zombies, so Andy and Kay only venture off the boat when they need supplies. When something goes wrong on one of their expeditions, it becomes a race against time as they try to find somewhere safe for their baby to have a chance.

Cargo is based on the directors' previous short film of the same name, and Freeman, Porter and newcomer Simone Landers really bring it as the emotional linchpin of the film. It's a brutal but ultimately uplifting watch.

Into the Forest

Into the Forest is a movie that was destined to sink or swim on its two lead performances — there are other actors in it, but the two sisters at the film's center are the driving forces behind nearly every scene. Luckily, they're two of the best actors in the business: Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood, each delivering dynamic performances in this creepy and thoughtful end-of-the-world film.

Without giving too much away, here's the basic premise: Wood and Page play Eva and Nell, two sisters who live in a remote cabin with their father, a widower named Robert (Callum Keith Rennie). They aren't totally off the grid, however, until the power goes out and doesn't come back on. Soon, they start hearing rumors that power is out for the entire country, and possibly the world.

There's a lot of mystery in Into the Forest, but it's a movie that's less concerned with what has happened than it is with characters responding to it. It's quiet, thoughtful, and anchored by two powerhouse performances. Give it a go if you want something a little different from your standard post-apocalyptic fare.

Sound & Fury

You'll probably know just from hearing the description if Sound & Fury is up your alley. It's an anime film from Japanese director Junpei Mizusaki made in collaboration with country musician Sturgill Simpson. Simpson's album of the same name is brought to life on screen as a wild, Mad Max-esque anime about a masked samurai seeking revenge. Maybe. There's no dialogue, just a samurai driving a car through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, battling all those in his way.

If you think this sounds up your alley, but are confused by the conjunction of anime and country music into an extended, post-apocalyptic fight scene, don't fret. Simpson is known as a country musician, but Sound & Fury is much more psychedelic, distorted rock than twangy strumming. It's fairly short, and you'll have a good idea almost immediately if this is right for you. The animation is really impressive, and it's kind of surprising there's no word on Sound & Fury being transformed into something more.

Sound & Fury is worth a look just based on what it is – a fusion of influences that absolutely should not work together and actually mesh really well. Regardless of your feelings going in, give it a watch and you may just come away as a fan of both Sturgill Simpson and anime.

Mad Max

You're forgiven if you didn't realize Mad Max: Fury Road was actually the fourth film of a franchise — the world hadn't seen Max Rockatansky for 30 years when Fury Road was released in 2015. If you want to go all the way back to the franchise's roots, take a look at the original Mad Max on Netflix. Released in 1979, Mad Max long held the record for "Most Profitable Film Ever." It reportedly cost under $400,000 to make, and took in over $100 million internationally. Not bad for a little Australian film.

Mad Max, like the other films in the series, is the brainchild of director George Miller. He imagined a dystopian world where oil had become the primary resource, and this original film tells of how the remnants of society coped with that development. It may lack the sheen of Fury Road, but it still features plenty of death-defying driving and insane stunt work.

Fury Road star Tom Hardy would have only been two years old at the time of this first outing. The title character here (and in the next two films) is played by the then-unknown and practically unrecognizable Mel Gibson. Don't miss this one.

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl With All the Gifts is essentially a zombie movie, but it has enough elements of more traditional post-apocalyptic stories that it's worth a go, even if you think you're all zombied out. It's based on the 2014 novel of the same name, and features an impressive cast of relatively unknown actors trying to cope with a society ravaged by a horrible disease.

There are more than a few similarities between this film and other apocalyptic hits. Notably, it holds a lot in common with 28 Days Later and the video game The Last of Us. The Girl with All the Gifts is about a fungal infection that turns humans into "hungries." Where the twist comes in is with the second generation hungries: children who had infected mothers. These hybrids (which still crave human flesh but can think and reason) are seen as a potential source of a cure, and are raised in a school under tight military guard so they can be studied.

The Girl with All the Gifts has some impressive sequences, and the lead actress, Sennia Nanua, does a terrific job of keeping you both sympathetic and terrified.

I Am Mother

I Am Mother is one of those movies that plays with cliches in order to subvert your expectations. Every time you think you've figured things out, another wrinkle is thrown in to make you question everything you know. By the end of the film, you'll be questioning what you've seen, wondering if it's following the pattern of similar films or just making you believe it is.

The film is about a young girl named Daughter who is raised by robots in a bunker. Her caretaker, a robot named Mother, tells her that humanity has been destroyed and the world contaminated. Their purpose in the bunker is to raise enough humans to repopulate the world. All that is thrown into question when a woman comes knocking on the door of the bunker and informs Daughter that she's being lied to.

A big part of I Am Mother's success comes from its tiny ensemble of talented performers. Hilary Swank plays the woman who comes to the bunker, and she's always impressive. Newcomer Clara Rugaard plays Daughter and does an impressive job with the material. Luke Hawker does the motion capture for Mother, and Rose Byrne voices her with chilling detachment.


In 2005, director Shane Acker created a computer animated short film called 9 that wound up being nominated for an Academy Award. It caught the eye of several producers, including Tim Burton, and it wasn't long before Acker's concept received the feature film treatment. The resulting film (also called 9) doesn't have the most original plot in the world, but the all-star voice cast and impressive visualization make it more than worth a watch.

9 is set in an alternative 1930s, when an evil dictator orders a machine to be built that can destroy his enemies without direction. The machine determines that all of humanity are the dictator's enemies, and exterminates all of mankind. The scientist who created the machine then creates nine creatures called Stitchpunks and infuses each with elements of his own soul. One of those Stitchpunks decides it is their job to help bring life back to the planet.

How's this for a cast? Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, Fred Tatasciore, Alan Oppenheimer, and Tom Kane all lend their voices. Give it a go; 9 is a stylish and atmospheric animated adventure.