Disaster movies strike to me as the ones with the depictions of large scale destruction – either natural or otherwise. Of late, filmmakers are resorting mostly to alien invasion stories, zombie attacks, earthquake, tsunami, flood or space catastrophes. To me, even many war movies would classify as disaster movies, given the mass eradication of resources – animate and inanimate alike shown in such movies.
Speaking of natural disasters, mother nature can be truly beautiful and inspiring; however, she can also be terrifying. From hurricanes to avalanches, the world is constantly threatened by calamities. Man-made disasters are equally rampant these days, given the mass destruction of the planet that is being carried out. And the possibilities are that these mass destructions will eventually lead to the end of the human race. With all that said, here’s the list of really good disaster movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now:
20. Aftershock (2012)
A group of tourists is partying in an underground nightclub in Santiago (Chile) when a massive earthquake hits the city. The group seeks shelter after possible replicas and a warning of a tsunami. However, a nearby prison collapses and its dangerous criminals suddenly escape. Now, they must try to stay together and survive not only mother nature but also their own kind. If you are looking for a dark disaster film with a horror atmosphere, ‘Aftershock’ is the movie to watch.
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19. The Hurricane Heist (2018)
Picture this — a hurricane in the past, another hurricane 26 years later and a heist happening in the backdrop. Set in Alabama, a destructive hurricane named Tammy is approaching the town. Breeze Rutledge, who lost his father 26 years ago in a similar category five hurricane, is working under a treasury agent named Casey Corbyn. While Breeze is out of the treasury facility to fix the generator, rogue agent Connor Perkins and his team infiltrate the treasury and resolve to steal $600 million away. As they’re unable to open the vault, they take Breeze hostage with them until they could find a way out. Classified as an overblown action thriller, ‘The Hurricane Heist’ mostly received negative reviews for being factually and logically inconsistent. Watch it at your own risk!
18. Doom (2005)
‘Doom’ features an ensemble cast including the likes of Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, Dwayne Johnson among primary leads. The movie is set in an ancient city in Mars, the portal to which was discovered in the Nevada desert. Set in a dystopian future, the Union Aerospace Corporation facility on Mars is attacked by unknown marauders and a group of marines led by Sergeant Asher go on a SAR mission to Mars, only to find that their adversaries aren’t so easy to beat as they thought they would be. While ‘Doom’ is reminiscent of the endearing yet scary and challenging video games we used to play, the movie turned out to be a damp squib, with critics calling it unoriginal and bland.
17. The Rezort (2015)
A zombie apocalypse horror flick at the very outset, ‘The Rezort’ is set in a period when humans have summarily won the war against zombies and now they kill zombies for fun at an amusement resort, hence the name. The film revolves around a not-so-amicable couple, a war veteran, a bunch of teenagers and a single woman. The group is the newest lot of guests who want to “kill” the undead for fun. After one of the members enters the control room and alters something, there’s a chain reaction of events leading to a fiasco. Now, humanity is staring at a fresh outbreak again, thanks to some overly curious minds. ‘The Rezort’, though, has some thought process behind it. It still cannot be classified as a compelling blockbuster, but it makes for a one-time fun watch.
16. Beyond Skyline (2017)
This movie is a sequel to a 2010 film titled ‘Skyline’. ‘Beyond Skyline’ opens amid an alien invasion when LAPD detective Mark Corley is vying for the release of his son from jail. As the invasion starts, people are sucked into various spaceships, one at a time, and Mark along with a group of survivors are meandering in the subway tunnels across the city. Despite his efforts to protect people from getting sucked in, they eventually land inside the alien spaceship when Mark discovers that they’re being converted into bio-mechanical soldiers for a greater cause. Although ‘Beyond Skyline’ may not promise the edge-of-the-seat thrill like many other invasion movies, it still is way better than its predecessor in terms of its narrative, which makes it a nearly enjoyable alien invasion disaster flick.
15. Piranha (2010)
After the alien disasters, let’s wait for what comes from within — a vicious, man-eating (or rather, killing) fish which would tear apart almost anything on its way. It all begins with a school of piranhas emerging from a chasm beneath a lake floor, thus indicating they’re a newer, never-heard-of species. Then there’s a bunch of folks who arrive near the shore of Lake Victoria to film a porn movie. Add approximately 2000 college students who have chosen the same very spot for partying, a reason which is why the lake couldn’t be closed. Piranha movies and sleaziness have always been closely related (for no reason whatsoever) and we see a lot of semi-nude men and women bathing while the disaster strikes. While it is somewhat gory and oddly satisfying to watch the fish eat humans away, one bite at a time, the sleaziness is something that is unsettling.
14. The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
From disasters inside water to disasters in space again, this time in a parallel universe, ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ aimed at capitalizing its extremely successful ‘Cloverfield’ franchise, but couldn’t equal its predecessors despite having a lot of promising twists and turns and a somewhat compelling story. Also, the movie bears no connection with its predecessors to start with. It begins with a group of astronauts who are on board a space station in 2028 as Earth is undergoing a global energy crisis. In desperate attempts to test the Shepherd particle accelerator aboard the Cloverfield station, disaster strikes, thus leading to a paradox, meaning the threats of the parallel universe may pose a looming danger to the existing world as we know it. The movie received mostly unfavourable reviews from critics.
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13. Here Alone (2016)
In the dystopian future, an airborne epidemic has wiped out the populace. One year later, Ann is still struggling to survive amid scarce resources. In the past, she had a daughter, a husband and she remembers her past life in flashbacks throughout the movie. With a looming danger of attack from infected undead or unknown, Ann tries to seek shelter wherever she could. She meets an injured man named Chris and his daughter Olivia and at once is reminded of her own family and her husband and daughter. While she initially finds it difficult to trust the family, they must soon find a place to stay. An eventual attack happens and Ann and Olivia are the only survivors. ‘Here Alone’ got mostly polarized reviews from critics; a few called it intense and satisfying, while others thought it was cliched. Your take?
12. 47 Meters Down (2017)
What happens when you don’t have to do something, but decide to do it anyway just for fun, thus resulting in a disaster? ’47 Meters Down’ is one such story. Two sisters — Lisa and Kate — are holidaying in Mexico. They meet a few men in a local pub and the group decides to go shark watching from a suspended underwater cage. See, told you! Lisa and Kate are the first to try out their experience and they enter a metal cage that is suspended underwater. As soon as the cage is lowered into the water, the suspender cable breaks and they are stuck 47 meters below the sea on the seabed, amid sharks, and their oxygen is running out. ’47 Meters Down’ offers a nail-biting thrill, albeit short-lived, and decent performances.
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11. End Day (2005)
A docu-drama straight from the kitty of BBC, which has perhaps given us some of the greatest documentaries ever made, ‘End Day’ features many doomsday scenarios that might lead to the destruction of Earth and mankind as we know it. Among the various depictions, a few notable catastrophes are tsunamis, meteorites, epidemics and pandemics, supervolcano, and particles from antimatter that could spell doom for the history of mankind. While many of them are known to us, the speculation is that there could be other dangers that might soon turn into a disaster and mean ‘End Day’ for all of us, whether you’re prepared for it or not. ‘End Day’ truly makes us imagine and live the day that could be our last day on this planet.
10. Extinction (2018)
Featuring Michael Pena, ‘Extinction’ is one of the latest additions of Netflix based out on an alien invasion leading to disastrous consequences. The movie opens in the near future, where an engineer named Peter is having nightmares about an alien invasion that could lead to the destruction of life. Upon his visit to a psychiatrist, he finds other people are also having similar visions. After spaceships arrive and cause substantial damage to the city, Peter and his family head out to seek shelter amid enemy alien soldiers on the prowl. It is later revealed that Alice, Peter’s wife, is an AI humanoid and the only way to save her is a source of power that is Peter himself, who, too, is an AI, known as synths. Turns out, synths were wiped off their memories and have been residing on the planet as humans ever since the human rebellion against the synths. ‘Extinction’ is good in parts, and I personally watched it only for Michael Pena. What about you?
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9. Abandoned (2015)
A TV movie based out on a true survival story after an unexpected disaster, ‘Abandoned’ is set in 1989 when a trimaran named Rose Noelle has sailed from New Zealand to Tonga with four men aboard it. The disaster strikes when after a massive wave, the boat capsizes and they have no other option left but to wander off the sea directionless unless they find themselves ashore. For the next 119 days, the four men struggle to survive amid the paucity of resources, food and water and impending death that’s staring at them. After 119 days, they breathe a sigh of relief after landing up near the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. ‘Abandoned’ is a tense, gripping thriller but at some points, it may feel like we’ve already seen this in many movies and television shows. Yet, a decent one-time watch.
8. Spectral (2016)
I liked this movie for two reasons — for its intriguing, fresh premise and the CGI. ‘Spectral’ opens amid an ongoing war wherein the troops have been using the hyperspectral goggles, allowing them to see those beings not visible to the naked eye. A translucent, humanoid figure that they spot is able to kill with a mere touch, thus posing a newer challenge in front of them. CIA officer Fran Madison and DARPA scientist Clyne then set their troops out with hyperspectral imaging cameras to track down the “invisible” and invincible insurgents. They later find out that the insurgents cannot see through ceramic and are vulnerable to iron nails, thus giving the human troops an added advantage. ‘Spectral’ is an audacious attempt to match those big budget thrillers but somewhat lags behind in its overall execution. Still, it is one of the best movies on this list.
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7. Bird Box (2018)
The latest movie on this list, ‘Bird Box’ is perhaps one of the most successful Netflix releases of the year, given the fact that it resembles the likes of ‘World War Z’ or any apocalypse movie for that matter. The film begins with a pregnant Malorie and her sister who’re heading out to the hospital amid news of people killing themselves following an epidemic. While driving back home, Malorie’s sister “sees” something, thus killing herself. The spread of the epidemic is rampant, with hundreds committing suicide. Malorie takes shelter in a nearby home which has many others.
After a fallout and five years later, Malorie, along with Malorie’s son and a daughter of another woman and Tom, a man she had met, are learning their ropes by blindfolding themselves and doing chores so that they don’t kill themselves. When insurgents hit and Tom kills himself, Malorie and the kids must head out on a journey down the river to a safer place. As they reach, they find that all the others in the place are blind, thus making them survivors. ‘Bird Box’ boasts of a powerful performance from Sandra Bullock, along with a thrilling narrative that would keep you hooked on to the screen.
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6. Pandora (2016)
Pyung-Sub is worried about the conditions of the local nuclear power plant, but no one seems to listen to him. However, when an earthquake strikes, it severely damages the power plant and begins to spread panic. Now, young Jae-Hyeok and his colleagues must prevent another nuclear disaster. ‘Pandora’ is not only a thrilling disaster movie but also an emotional one, thanks to the script. With good visual effects and decent cinematography, director Jong-woo Park is able to deliver a tear-jerking story with a sense of reality.
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5. The Wave (2015)
Geiranger is Norwegian town near the unstable mountainside, the Akernes. These mountains will eventually collapse and crash into the nearby water, causing a massive tsunami wave. The town knows of this possibility and carefully monitors the mountain. However, the moment has come, and no one is safe from this disaster. ‘The Wave’ is a fantastic disaster movie with a simple story but an effective buildup that will keep you engaged throughout. Moreover, the script is believable and the character development is also pretty good.
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4. Supervolcano (2005)
A volcano disaster film, set around the possible eruption of the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park, this movie typically revolves around the so-called deadliest volcano on Earth that is awaiting eruption. With the initial cracks and magma coming out, signs that are ignored, the potential of an incoming disaster worsens. Soon, panic spreads and the Government rushes up its resources to shield the countrymen from an imminent eruption. Later, the eruption does occur, leaving at least 20 million trapped and dead under volcanic ash while another 8 million reside in bunkers across the nation. Most of the United States as we know it, becomes uninhabitable and covered with ash and dead bodies before the authorities could do anything to save them all. ‘Supervolcano’ looks and feels authentic and perhaps there was a lot of research done before getting into the production of this movie. I’d watch it at least three to four times. How about you?
3. No Escape (2015)
Perhaps the only political disaster film on this list, ‘No Escape’ features a star cast comprising Owen Wilson in the leading role, along with Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan. The movie revolves around an American family of three — Jake Dwyer, his wife Annie and daughter Lucie, who have moved into an unnamed South East Asian country, eleven hours before the disaster struck. Jack is the head of a water systems manufacturing company, which had a deal signed with the Prime Minister of the country just before he was assassinated and rebels have started targeting the foreigners in the country. Jack and his family must get safely to the US Embassy before it is too late. ‘No Escape’ was praised for its nail-biting action and gripping suspense, although the movie was also embroiled in controversies because of its xenophobic depiction of South Asian people.
2. King Kong (2005)
A disaster movie surrounding the dangers of the unknown, ‘King Kong’ is set in the 1930s during the Great Depression when Ann Darrow, a theatre actress, has been hired by a troubled filmmaker named Carl Denham, along with the other cast and crew. In order to commence the shooting, the crew heads to the mysterious Skull Island, which is sparsely inhabited and is infamous for many unknown reasons. As Carl heads to the island amid news of his arrest, they find out that the island is the home of a giant gorilla and soon after, Ann gets abducted by the gorilla. The crew and Carl must find Ann before it is too late. ‘King Kong’ has often been regarded as a masterpiece by many; it has achieved universal acclaim and is also the recipient of three Academy Awards.
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1. Train to Busan (2016)
In what could be one of the most defining, cornerstone zombie movies of all time, ‘Train to Busan’ is set mostly in a train which is going from Seoul to Busan. The movie revolves around the people inside the train and how their lives are interconnected amid an imminent zombie apocalypse. It opens with Seok-Woo, a widowed father who is heading to Busan to meet his young daughter, along with other passengers of the train, including another husband and his pregnant wife, a baseball team etc. The departure of the train also marks the beginning of the outbreak, from a lady working on the train to almost everyone, save the protagonists. Their only motive is to reach Busan safely, where apparently a safe zone has been set up, while all the city stations and cities in between are already in ruins because of the apocalyptic event. ‘Train to Busan’ is a promising, riveting entertainer that is going to take you by surprise and boasts of strong performances. It apparently borrows its inspiration from Brad Pitt’s ‘World War Z’.
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