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24 Films To Watch If You Love Apocalypse Movies Like ‘2012’

Prepare to be blown away.

Originally Published: 
still from 2012 the movie
Columbia Pictures

After surviving the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine, it’s only natural that some of us have turned to movies to get us through the stress of it all. Depending on your tastes, movies like Hunger Games, The Notebook, and Interstellar are perfect viewing, but sometimes you just need a good disaster movie to go with that popcorn. And there is no end of the world disaster movie like 2012. Directed by Roland Emmerich, the king of cinematic, worldwide destruction, the movie begins with a scientist played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who discovers the world has an actual expiration date and alerts world leaders. These powerful people start to alert others that the end is nigh and preparations must be made. The film then follows Jackson Curtis, a regular person played by John Cusack, as he figures out how to stay safe while the world literally falls apart.

If you want destruction — this is it. Nothing survives in this movie, with all the world’s biggest monuments and cities taken out like toy structures. For those moviegoers who can’t get enough of that sort of thing, these are the next movies to get into for the first time or revisit.

Independence Day (1996)

This movie is also directed by Emmerich, so expect the same level of explosiveness and tension. Starring Will Smith and Bill Pullman, the movie follows a group of government, scientific, and military personnel as they stop aliens from totally annihilating the planet on July 4th. It also includes one of the most iconic movie speeches ever by Pullman’s character President Thomas J. Whitmore. Independence Day was the second-highest-grossing movie the year of its release, right behind Twister, and was instrumental in Smith’s career as an action star. So if you haven’t seen it yet, you should get on that.

Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Another Emmerich disaster masterpiece, this is a must-watch if you somehow enjoy imagining the end of the world. This time, it’s not aliens, but climate change that’s coming for the globe, and just so you know — it might hit a little close to home if you worry about the environment on a daily basis. Still, it’s a perfect movie for a Friday night and a big bowl of popcorn.

War of the Worlds (2005)

Based on the 1930’s movie, this one stars Tom Cruise and is directed by Steven Spielberg, which means it has blockbuster written all over it. The plot is not the easiest to follow, but basically, aliens are taking over the planet and our landscape while Cruise’s character struggles to get his family to safety in Boston…and save the world.

Deep Impact (1998)

This is another classic disaster film (they really don’t make ’em like they used to, huh?) about a comet hurtling toward Earth and a team’s efforts to stop it before it destroys us all. Tea Leoni, Morgan Freeman, and Robert Duvall all work together to redirect its course just in the nick of time.

Knowing (2009)

This is a double whammy — not only is it a disaster movie, but it’s also a disaster movie starring Nicholas Cage, who was just born to play parts like this. In this one, a little girl’s engravings are found out to be death dates and death tolls and when tragic events begin happening that match up to them, chaos ensues. When Cage’s character, an astrophysicist, realizes that one of her predictions is about the sun burning up the Earth, it’s a mad rush to prevent it from happening.

Last Night (1998)

This movie was released just when everyone was freaking out about Y2K and this movie only served to confirm many peoples’ theories. It’s a black comedy at least, about a group of friends preparing for the end of the world at midnight. No spoilers, but if you remember how Y2K worked out, alls well that ends well.

More Movies Like 2012

  1. The Rapture
  2. Sunshine
  3. San Andreas
  4. Children of Men
  5. Right At Tour Door
  6. Twister
  7. Daybreakers
  8. Army of the Dead
  9. The Road
  10. The Quake
  11. Ad Astra
  12. The Wandering Earth
  13. Deepwater Horizon
  14. Force of Nature
  15. Geostorm
  16. Armageddon
  17. Greenland
  18. Volcano

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