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23 Terrifying Apocalyptic Thrillers That Are Now Streaming on Netflix

May 19 2020 - 7:07pm

Although it might feel like it's the end of the world every time you read the news [1], technically our planet is still spinning as usual. But for the characters in the following films, the apocalypse has actually come to pass. There are zombie outbreaks, invisible suicide monsters [2], cannibals, and toxic gas out the wazoo, so I hope you're not easily scared. (If so, I suggest checking out a horror-comedy movie [3], instead.) If you think you're ready to face an even bleaker, more uncertain time than the one we're currently living in, then by all means, take your pick of Netflix's top dystopian films, ahead.

Additional reporting by Lauren Harano

Singularity

This 2017 sci-fi thriller follows two people who are left on Earth a century after a supercomputer wiped out most of mankind. They venture out to find a place where they can live without the fear of robots, but does a place like that even exist?

Watch Singularity on Netflix now. [5]

Anon

Amanda Seyfried [6] in a Netflix film? Sign us up! Seyfried stars alongside Clive Owen [7] in the sci-fi thriller Anon, and based on Netflix's description alone it sounds thrilling indeed. This movie takes place in a future where technology has made privacy a thing of the past. The story follows a detective as they investigate a serial assassin who somehow has been deleted from all visual records.

Watch Anon on Netflix now. [8]

Snowpiercer

Chris Evans stars in this underrated sleeper hit that's set in a dystopian future wrecked by severe climate change. There are a handful of people that made it out alive who live on a train that travels around the globe. As the time ticks on, a new class system emerges and things start to get messy.

Watch Snowpiercer on Netflix now. [9]

Equals

The world may have had its fill of postapocalyptic movies, which could explain why Equals, starring Kristen Stewart [10] and Nicholas Hoult, seemed to come and go without much buzz. This futuristic drama imagines a world where love is outlawed, and Hoult and Stewart become outlaws because of it. It's a little contrived, but the chemistry between the leads is so strong that it's a romantic must see.

Watch Equals on Netflix now. [11]

I Am Mother

Starring Hilary Swank [12] and Rose Byrne, this sci-fi thriller tells the story of a teenage girl raised by a robot designed to repopulate the earth, but an unexpected encounter with a gravely wounded human woman forces the teen to question everything she was told by her robot Mother about the outside world.

Watch I Am Mother on Netflix now [13].

Freaks

In Freaks, a young girl steps outside for the very first time in her life after being kept inside by her paranoid father. In discovering the outside world, she soon learns dangerous secrets about her family.

Watch Freaks on Netflix now [14].

TAU

TAU is about a woman who is kidnapped by an inventor and used as a test subject to perfect his robotic AI. She tries to escape her prison, even though it's high-tech and not going to be easy to break out of.

Watch TAU now. [15]

The Girl With All the Gifts

Starring Glenn Close, The Girl With All the Gifts is a post-apocalyptic horror about a world overcome by a fungal disease that turns people into zombies. The only hope for the future is a group of children who get flesh cravings but are able to think for themselves.

Watch The Girl With All the Gifts on Netflix now [16].

Here Alone

"Zombie drama" is now a film genre that exists, and Here Alone is a perfect example. The movie stars Lucy Walters as a woman who's been living alone in the wilderness for years after the death of her husband and child, both of whom passed due to a brutal, inexplicable zombie virus. That makes her extremely wary upon encountering two uninfected people passing through. Will she learn to open up to them and rebuild her capacity for human connection, or live out the rest of her days in solitude?

Watch Here Alone on Netflix now. [17]

How It Ends

As usual, the apocalypse strikes at the most inopportune time for Will (Theo James), who finds himself extremely far from home and his vulnerable, pregnant fiancée when chaos strikes. As he travels thousands of miles to reach her with the help of her father, Tom (Forest Whitaker [18]), both men are forced to fight for their lives. Without spoiling anything, I'll also note that the ending of this movie is WILD.

Watch How It Ends on Netflix now. [19]

Bird Box

In this suspenseful movie, Malorie (Sandra Bullock [20]) fights for her life, as well as the lives of her two young children, in a world plagued by invisible monsters that cause anyone who lays eyes on them to immediately kill themselves. The only way Malorie and her fellow survivors are able to escape the suicidal impulses is by making their way through the world blindfolded.

Watch Bird Box on Netflix now. [21]

Bokeh

Like everyone you follow on Instagram, Bokeh's Jenai (Maika Monroe) and Riley (Matt O'Leary) go on a romantic vacation to Iceland. However, they wake up one morning and discover that every other person on Earth has suddenly disappeared. As they struggle to survive in unfamiliar surroundings and deal with the grief of losing their loved ones and old lives in an instant, the pair begin questioning everything they've ever known about the world.

Watch Bokeh on Netflix now. [22]

Into the Forest

Evan Rachel Wood and Ellen Page play two sisters who decide to wait out an apocalyptic blackout in their remote, sprawling home in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, despite having barely any gas or water. Matters become even more complicated when threatening strangers discover where they are.

Watch Into the Forest on Netflix now. [23]

Extinction

Michael Peña is a source of nonstop laughs [24] in Ant-Man and the Wasp [25], but he dramatically changes course in Netflix's original sci-fi film Extinction. He plays Peter, a working-class father who keeps having recurring nightmares of his city being decimated by an unknown alien force. Just when his wife (Lizzy Caplan) and boss (Mike Colter) start to think Peter's dreams are a sign of a serious mental issue, a brutal alien assault begins on Earth; it turns out Peter has been seeing the future all along and could be the key to saving humanity.

Watch Extinction on Netflix now. [26]

The Bad Batch

Essentially an acid trip in movie form, Ana Lily Amirpour's The Bad Batch stars Suki Waterhouse and Jason Momoa [27] as survivors drifting through a Texas wasteland, forced to fend off cannibals and other threats.

Watch The Bad Batch on Netflix now. [28]

Cargo

This Australian horror film is a slow burn, but it's worth the watch. When his wife succumbs to a zombie bite and he realizes he's not long behind her, a father begins a desperate search for a safe place to leave his infant daughter in the outback before he dies.

Watch Cargo on Netflix now. [29]

Bushwick

First things first: no, this isn't a movie about zombie hipsters, although . . . is it wrong I would totally still watch that? Bushwick stars Brittany Snow [30] and Dave Bautista as people trapped in the NY neighborhood, which is taken over by militia forces when Texas attempts to secede from the Union and claim the city as its East Coast base. A total bloodbath erupts, leaving the two strangers to lean on each other if they want any chance of surviving their strange, murderous new reality.

Watch Bushwick on Netflix now. [31]

Terminator Salvation

I can watch Christian Bale [32] in practically anything (except for Vice, I'm not a masochist), so naturally Terminator Salvation found its way onto this list. The 2009 take on the Terminator franchise stars Bale as John Connor, who crosses paths with Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington [33]), a stranger who could decide who wins the battle between humans and machines.

Watch Terminator Salvation on Netflix now. [34]

The Titan

Sam Worthington [35] stars in Netflix's original film set in 2048, when Earth's natural resources are all but gone and violent crimes are at an all-time high. The only hope for humanity's salvation is the possibility of living on Saturn's moon Titan. To remain on the distant planet, though, the human body will have to evolve, so one soldier and his family are relocated so he can take part in genetic experiments to kick-start the process. Because this is a sci-fi thriller, obviously things end up going horribly awry.

Watch The Titan on Netflix now. [36]

What Happened to Monday

For any Orphan Black fans mourning the sci-fi drama's final season, Noomi Rapace's What Happened to Monday should help. She stars as identical septuplets — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — who must live in hiding in a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation. Their father (Willem Dafoe) allows them out of the house only on the day corresponding with their name, so they maintain only one public identity. The government picks up on the scam, however, and when Monday doesn't return home after her day out, her sisters have to band together to save her.

Watch What Happened to Monday on Netflix now. [37]

The Rover

In this apocalyptic crime drama starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson [38], society is in decline and laws have all but disintegrated. When Eric (Pearce) realizes his car has been stolen by a gang, he forces an injured member of the crew to help him track it down.

Watch The Rover on Netflix now. [39]

Ravenous

This is actually a pretty introspective and beautiful film, as far as movies in the zombie genre are concerned. That being said, watching a small group of desperate survivors attempt to navigate the aftermath of a zombie-like outbreak in rural Quebec still delivers plenty of nauseating scares. Its unique, out-of-the-box ending, however — which, for the record, I still haven't fully wrapped my head around months later — is what really solidified it as one of my under-the-radar horror favorites.

Watch Ravenous on Netflix now. [40]

IO

The sci-fi flick takes place decades in the future, when the air on Earth has become ravaged with toxic gas and the population is forced to flee to one of Jupiter's moons. A young scientist named Sam (Death Note's Margaret Qualley) finds herself as one of the postcataclysmic planet's last remaining survivors, living alone in a mountaintop lab, safe from the air outside. Following in her father's footsteps, she's dedicated her life to finding a way for humans to adapt and survive Earth's harsh new surroundings, rather than abandoning it for the moon, IO. However, when another survivor (Avengers: Infinity War's Anthony Mackie [41]) crash lands outside, Sam must decide if she wants to board the final shuttle scheduled to leave for the distant colony with the rest of humanity, or fight for the planet she grew up on.

Watch IO on Netflix now [42].


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