TV and Movies·Posted on Feb 8, 202321 Post-Apocalyptic Movies For Fans Of HBO's "The Last Of Us"Fans of HBO's latest hit series should seek out these memorable end-of-the-world films...by Ken W. HanleyBuzzFeed ContributorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink Video game adaptations rarely strike a chord on the big or small screen, but The Last of Us has become the latest HBO sensation, bringing forth the popular game's emotional core story with enough differences to keep things unpredictable. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF HBO But The Last of Us has had good company over the years, as the post-apocalyptic thriller genre has produced many compelling films. With this in mind, I've assembled more than 20 post-apocalyptic thrillers that fans of The Last of Us will absolutely appreciate. 1. The Road Dimension Films / 2929 Productions / Maximum Film / Alamy Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, and Robert DuvallDirector: John HillcoatRuntime: 110 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesAdapted from the notoriously bleak Cormac McCarthy novel, The Road follows an ailing father who must raise and defend his son against the dangerous, post-apocalyptic world around them, including roaming gangs of cannibals and desperate scavengers. A haunting and very intense film at times, The Road remains one of the most respected and mature end-of-the-world films ever produced, with Mortensen and Smit-McPhee's performances particularly praised for their raw depiction of hope amid unyielding hopelessness. 2. The Day Anchor Bay Films / Cinematic Collection / Alamy Cast: Shawn Ashmore, Ashley Bell, Dominic Monaghan, and Michael EklundDirector: Douglas AarniokoskiRuntime: 90 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesA rare blend of post-apocalyptic thriller and hard-hitting siege film, The Day surrounds a band of five survivors who attempt to find food and shelter, only to be trapped by a cannibal gang, whose attacks uncover secrets and sew distrust among the group. The film prioritizes action over emotion, but the film is definitely an entertaining watch that introduces interpersonal dynamics and narrative turns that keep things relatively unpredictable. 3. The Girl with All the Gifts Saban Films / Atlaspix / Alamy Cast: Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Sennia Nanua, and Glenn CloseDirector: Colm McCarthyRuntime: 111 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesBased on the sci-fi horror novel from M.R. Carey (who wrote the screenplay as well), The Girl with All the Gifts bares many similarities to The Last of Us, as it centers on a future in which a parasitic fungus has turned most of humanity into voracious, mindless zombies. However, the story goes even further, diving into the next generation of children, who crave flesh but can think and learn, and the bond between a group of those children and a group of researchers hoping to find a cure to save mankind. 4. Children of Men Universal Pictures / AJ Pics / Alamy Cast: Clive Owen, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Julianne MooreDirector: Alfonso CuarónRuntime: 109 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesVoted as the 13th best film of the 21st Century in 2016, Alfonso Cuarón's post-apocalyptic drama is a masterpiece of tense and gripping storytelling, showcasing the treacherous journey of a former activist tasked with protecting the first pregnant woman in nearly 20 years. Technically astounding and brilliantly written, Children of Men notably helped popularized single-shot action sequences and set forth a visual palette for almost every post-apocalyptic film released since. 5. The Book of Eli Alcon Entertainment / Cinematic Collection / Alamy Cast: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman, and Tom WaitsDirectors: Albert and Allen HughesRuntime: 112 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesDirected by the Hughes brothers of Dead Presidents' fame, The Book of Eli is an entertaining post-apocalyptic road movie that draws from westerns, samurai films, and shoot-'em-up action fare in its tale of a man possessing a highly-coveted book after America falls into a nuclear winter. Anchored by Denzel Washington as the titular character, The Book of Eli is dark and demented at times yet undoubtedly fun throughout, especially once the largely obvious twist is revealed. 6. Snowpiercer RadiusTWC / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Cast: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, and Ed HarrisDirector: Bong Joon-hoRuntime: 125 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesBefore he claimed a wealth of Oscar gold with Parasite, director Bong Joon-ho crafted this truly riveting action epic that takes place on a train that hosts the last vestiges of mankind and the class revolution that violently spreads from car to car. Starring Chris Evans in a role I'm sure must have pleased the Marvel brass, Snowpiercer shares a similar tone and visual scheme to The Last of Us while the film's innovative set pieces keep a tight grip on the audience. 7. I Am Legend Warner Bros. / Cinematic Collection / Alamy Cast: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Dash Mihok, and Charlie TahanDirector: Francis LawrenceRuntime: 101 MinutesRating: PG-13Rotten TomatoesAdapted from Richard Matheson's seminal novel, I Am Legend follows the last living human in New York who hopes to develop a cure to a virus that has turned most of humanity into aggressive nocturnal mutants. Perhaps the most successful post-apocalyptic thriller of all time, earning more than three times its $150 million budget worldwide, the journey of Will Smith's Robert Neville will absolutely ring familiar for fans of The Last of Us, even if it may be more sanitized for a PG-13 rating. 8. The Domestics Hollywood Gang Productions / Album / Alamy Cast: Kate Bosworth, Tyler Hoechlin, Sonoya Mizuno, and Lance ReddickDirector: Mike P. NelsonRuntime: 95 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesA bloody and somewhat bizarre hybrid of action and horror, The Domestics takes place in an America divided into gang warfare following a chemical weapons attack on the populace and a nearly estranged couple that must navigate through a terrifying new reality. It may not be the most subtle and original take on the genre, pulling much inspiration from the likes of The Purge and Mad Max, but there's a free-for-all element of The Domestics that feels oddly akin to the atmosphere of The Last of Us. 9. 28 Days Later 20th Century Fox / AJ Pics / Alamy Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, and Christopher EcclestonDirector: Danny BoyleRuntime: 112 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesA groundbreaking zombie film from celebrated filmmaker Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland, 28 Days Later follows a young man who wakes from a coma to discover a “rage virus” ravaged society, putting him on a path of desperation and survival alongside a ragtag group of like-minded individuals. Garnering more than 10 times its budget, 28 Days Later essentially relaunched and redefined the genre in the early ‘00s, directly inspiring the subsequent Dawn of the Dead remake and popularizing the depiction of the “fast zombie.” 10. 10 Cloverfield Lane Paramount Pictures / Entertainment Pictures / Alamy Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr., and Suzanne CryerDirector: Dan TrachtenbergRuntime: 103 MinutesRating: PG-13Rotten TomatoesA post-apocalyptic thriller that trades bleak survivalism for tangible paranoia, 10 Cloverfield Lane follows a young woman on the run from a bad relationship who wakes up from a car accident in a bunker with a strange man claiming there has been an alien invasion on the surface. Putting Prey director Dan Trachtenberg on the map, 10 Cloverfield Lane offers top-tier performances, brilliant limited-location storytelling, and stylistic flourishes that make it stand out among its peers. 11. Army of the Dead The Stone Quarry / Album / Alamy Cast: Dave Bautista, Omari Hardwick, Ella Purnell, and Ana de la RegueraDirector: Zack SnyderRuntime: 148 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesA sprawling spectacle that brought Zack Snyder back to the world of the undead after 15 years, Army of the Dead follows a group of mercenaries hired to recover $200 million from a casino in zombie-infested Las Vegas while a family issue raises the stakes for the team’s leader. Bringing in sentient and uber-powerful zombies into the equation, the carnage and outstanding digital effects are sure to grab the attention of fans of The Last of Us. 12. It Comes at Night A24 / Lifestyle Pictures / Alamy Cast: Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, Carmen Ejogo, and Kelvin Harrison Jr.Director: Trey Edward ShultsRuntime: 97 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesA divisive post-apocalyptic thriller from the director of Krisha, It Comes at Night follows a reclusive and paranoid family in a remote cabin during a deadly viral outbreak who reluctantly allow a desperate family into their home. Though It Comes at Night isn’t the most exciting or even scary film in the genre, it does explore the disquieting moments and questions that one often does not consider about an end-of-the-world scenario, including the invisible threats within your own home. 13. Stake Land Dark Sky Films / Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy Cast: Nick Damici, Connor Paolo, Danielle Harris, and Kelly McGillisDirector: Jim MickleRuntime: 96 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesDoing for the vampire genre what The Walking Dead did for the zombie genre, Stake Land also has the older mentor/young companion dynamic of The Last of Us with a similar bleakness and shock factor. Moreover, Stake Land is bolstered by astounding cinematography, inspired direction, and extraordinary performances, especially by the dynamic duo of Connor Paolo and Nick Damici. 14. A Quiet Place Paramount Pictures / Lifestyle Pictures / Alamy Cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah JupeDirector: John KrasinskiRuntime: 90 MinutesRating: PG-13Rotten TomatoesIn many ways, one could say that A Quiet Place could have been inspired by The Last of Us, at least in terms of visual aesthetic, but the film’s inventive sci-fi/horror concept and presentation was a massive hit at the box office, especially for an original property. As such, A Quiet Place has become an unlikely franchise for Paramount Pictures, ensuring new entries to hit in the coming years, which should be interesting to see how it plays against future seasons and games in The Last of Us franchise. 15. A Boy and His Dog LQ/Jaf Productions / United Archives GmbH / Alamy / Impress Cast: Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Alvy Moore, and Jason RobardsDirector: L.Q. JonesRuntime: 91 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesOne of the first major post-apocalyptic survival stories to hit the big screen, this adaptation of Harlan Ellison's 1969 novella follows a teenage boy (played by a young Don Johnson) who attempts to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland alongside his telepathic dog. An eccentric and often humorous take on the post-apocalyptic thriller, this cult classic is also renowned for having inspired the Fallout game series. 16. The Battery FilmBuff / Via youtube.com Cast: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim, Alana O’Brien, and Larry FessendenDirector: Jeremy GardnerRuntime: 101 MinutesRating: Not RatedRotten TomatoesA slow-burn, introspective take on the zombie apocalypse film, The Battery was the directorial debut of visionary genre director Jeremy Gardner, who co-stars as one of two young men who find themselves as unlikely companions searching for any salvation from their dangerous, nomadic lifestyle. The Battery may test your patience at times, but for those who were drawn in by the kinship between Ellie and Joel in such dire straits, you may see many of the same emotional hallmarks between the central characters of this indie darling. 17. Night of the Comet Thomas Coleman and Michael Rosenblatt Productions / United Archives GmbH / Alamy Cast: Kelli Maroney, Catherine Mary Stewart, Mary Woronov, and Geoffrey LewisDirector: Thom EberhardtRuntime: 93 MinutesRating: PG-13Rotten TomatoesThree SoCal teenagers take on zombies, ruthless raiders, and mad scientists in this ‘80s post-apocalyptic cult classic. Though it may be more colorful and less gruesome than other films on this list, Night of the Comet is a hell of a good time, and its focus on the sisterhood between the leads within a post-apocalyptic urban landscape occasionally evokes some similar themes from The Last of Us. 18. Carriers Magnolia Pictures / Cinematic Collection / Alamy Cast: Chris Pine, Lou Taylor Pucci, Piper Perabo, and Emily VanCampDirectors: Alex Pastor and David PastorRuntime: 84 MinutesRating: PG-13Rotten TomatoesA critically acclaimed road thriller that has largely flown under the radar, Carriers is a post-apocalyptic horror thriller that follows a pair of brothers and their two friends who struggle to abide by strict survival rules while traveling to a childhood vacation home during a world-ravaging viral outbreak. Bleak and intense, this film doesn’t rewrite the rulebook of post-apocalyptic thrillers but is frequently engaging and accentuates the predictable action with exceptional performances. 19. The Signal (2007) Paramount Vantage / AJ Pics / Alamy Cast: Justin Welborn, Anessa Ramsey, AJ Bowen, and Scott PoythressDirectors: David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry, and Dan BushRuntime: 101 MinutesRating: RRotten TomatoesA three-headed post-apocalyptic anthology film, The Signal follows two lovers who must reunite after society falls apart upon the broadcast of a mysterious signal that turns people into murderous and delusional maniacs. Anchored by a unique visual style and the unusual yet effective balance of tones between each segment, The Signal is one of the most impressive low-budget apocalypse thrillers and helped launch the careers of both director David Bruckner (The Ritual, The Night House) and AJ Bowen (You’re Next, The House of the Devil). 20. Z for Zachariah Lucky Hat Entertainment / Album / Alamy Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, and Chris PineDirector: Craig ZobelRuntime: 97 MinutesRating: PG-13Rotten TomatoesFrom the director of the disturbing thriller masterpiece Compliance, Z for Zachariah is adapted from the book by Robert C. O’Brien, which surrounds a young apocalypse survivor (Margot Robbie) who finds herself in a tense and volatile love triangle between a science-minded engineer (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and a spiritually devout stranger (Chris Pine). A three-person slow-burn drama, the film mines its tension not from outside forces but rather the developing animosity between the suitors and the inherent distrust among one another. 21. The Wandering Earth China Film Group Corporation / Lou Linwei / Alamy Cast: Guangjie Li, Chuxiao Qu, Jing Wu, and Jiayin LeiDirector: Frant GwoRuntime: 125 MinutesRating: Not RatedRotten TomatoesThe fifth highest-grossing film of all time in its native country of China, The Wandering Earth follows a future in which mankind has gone underground after the dying Sun forces the entirety of Earth to migrate the planet outside of the solar system. When a freak accident puts the Earth on a collision course with another planet, a team (which, incidentally, includes an estranged father and son) is assembled for an emergency mission that would restart a failing engine. With state-of-the-art special effects and an imaginative, ambitious narrative, The Wandering Earth is also surprisingly emotional at times, even in spite of the spectacle on display.