10 Post Apocalyptic Horror Movies - Like A Quiet Place: Day One - RANKED

Screenshot from horror movie prequel A Quiet Place: Day One (2024)

Welcome to Knockout Horror. We just reviewed the most recent entry into the A Quiet Place series A Quiet Place: Day One. It sort of occurred to me, while writing, that a lot of people seem to get the wrong idea about what type of movie A Quiet Place actually is.

A lot of people expressed their disappointment at not seeing more aliens vs humans combat. Quite a number of people wanted to learn more about the aliens themselves. And a decent number of people were not expecting the touching tale of human survival against the odds.

Post Apocalyptic Horror Movies

This made me wonder whether the post-apocalyptic horror movie had faded into the background a little. I mean, let’s be real, they all follow a similar theme. Nearly all of them feature tales of humans doing their best to survive despite the chaos around them. How have people forgotten what to expect from these films?

Sure, some of them place a closer focus on action elements but most stray pretty far from this. Today we are going to be ranking 10 Post Apocalyptic Horror Movies Like A Quiet Place: Day One. Some of these movies are simply okay, some are fantastic, some are criminally underrated. All feature tales of interpersonal human drama set against the backdrop of a decaying world.

I should point out, before we begin, that some of these movies are going to lean more into thriller themes than horror. The quality of post apocalyptic horror just isn’t there but I have tried to pick things that still appeal to horror fans. Let’s go!

10

The Divide (2011)


This is the movie that made me realise that Terminator’s Michael Biehn was still acting and had built up quite an extensive resume. It’s also, by far, the worst movie on this list. The Divide, from 2011, sees a city fall victim to a nuclear attack. Leaving the residents of an apartment complex to wait out the fallout in the building’s basement. Tensions mount, patience frays and the group’s dynamics begin to fall apart as the situation goes from bad to worse.

Screenshot from horror movie The Divide

Some people love this one, I thought that it was okay, at a push. Acting is pretty terrible, characters are cliched caricatures and some of the dialogue is laughable but it picks up later on. Leading to some fairly intense moments of post apocalyptic drama. If you take all the positives of human nature on display in A Quiet Place: Day One and flip them on their head. You have The Divide.

9

Maggie (2015)


Maggie (2015) ticks a lot of the boxes we are looking for in a post apocalyptic horror movie. We have an inspiring tale of survival against the odds and camaraderie between humans. We have plenty of emotion and a liberal dose of sadness and hopelessness. This is one of the closest movies to A Quiet Place: Day One when it comes to themes. The only thing it really lacks is execution.

Following the story of a father and daughter who live in a world overcome by a virus which slowly turns people into Zombies. Maggie sees father Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) doing everything he can to stay by the side of his infected daughter (Abigail Breslin) until her final moments. Arnie is fantastic in a seriously touching, dramatic, role that helps shed some of his action hero shackles. But the clumsy script and messy pacing leave this movie to feel a little lost at times and a bit misguided. Still a great option for some seriously touching post apocalyptic horror, though.

8

Carriers (2009)


This one is more of a thriller than a horror, a theme which we will see repeating a few times in this list. Carriers follows a group of friends heading to a supposed beach sanctuary after the outbreak of a deadly virus wipes out most of the human race. On the way, the group encounter a man looking to get his disease stricken daughter to hospital. After an initial violent encounter with the man. The friends are forced to return to him after their car breaks down. The man agrees to travel together with them but it isn’t long before tensions begin mounting within the group.

Screenshot from horror movie Carriers

Post apocalyptic films tend to follow one of two themes. Either people come together to survive or people fall apart and bad things happen. The latter is the case in Carrier. A movie that was shelved for a few years and only saw a limited release after its lead star, Chris Pine, hit it big in Star Trek. This is a movie that seems all the more poignant in light of recent world events. It’s also a competent, and occasionally horrifying, thriller that disappoints at the end but is an interesting journey along the way.

7

It Comes at Night (2017)


It Comes At Night follows the story of a family hiding from a deadly disease in a remote house deep in the woods. The family’s patriarch, Paul (Joel Edgerton) has established a strict set of rules for his family to live by so that they can stay safe. Those rules are pushed to their limits, however, after a young family arrives seeking refuge. I watched this one in the cinema when it first came out and really enjoyed it. It tends to be one of those movies that divides critics and viewers down the middle.

A lot of people find the movie too slow and some find that it doesn’t deliver on some of its promises. The truth is, it presents itself as some creepy horror movie with a potential creature lurking in the depths of night. But, in reality, the horror here is far more human than anything. This is a study of the human psyche when presented with a legitimate threat to a person’s existence. Who do you trust? How do you cope and what will you do to survive? Again, all the more pertinent after recent world events. Well worth checking out but don’t expect anything other than a very self contained movie about interpersonal struggles.

6

I Am Legend (2007)


Often forgotten in the horror genre, perhaps thanks to its PG-13 rating and ultra cliched Hollywood ending. I Am Legend still stands as one of the more interesting post-apocalyptic horror movies of the 2000s. It follows the story of Robert Neville (Will Smith). A scientist tasked with creating a cure for a man-made virus that has wiped out most of the population and turned the rest into monsters. As the last man left alive in New York City, he fights relentless loneliness and mutated humans in his attempts to reverse the virus and save the world.

Screenshot from horror movie I Am Legend

While I am not a huge fan of the Fresh Prince actor and “rapper”. I Am Legend is Will Smith at his legendary comedian slapping best. He does a massively impressive job of relating Neville’s loneliness and increasing loss of hope. Successfully managing to prop up some awful special effects and a rather thread bare plot. The ending is awful but, on the plus side, an alternative, novel accurate, ending was recorded and the future I Am Legend sequel will follow this alternate ending. So we can all put that dreadful bullshit out of our minds. Genuinely enjoyable in parts and even touching. I Am Legend is still worth checking out.

5

#Alive (2020)


You know we needed an Asian interpretation of apocalyptic doom in here, right? And while I was tempted to include Train to Busan. I felt like #Alive was just so much more unique and interesting. It follows the story of a young video game streamer who finds himself locked inside his apartment alone during the start of a zombie apocalypse. Forced to survive, Oh Joon-woo (Yoo Ah-in) battles with hunger, anger, and his own self doubt as the zombies converge around his home.

This movie came out right around the 2020 pandemic. Meaning it resonated with a lot of people in a hugely unexpected way. The main thing #Alive did, however, was to prove that there are still new ideas to be had in the tired zombie apocalypse genre. Unsettling in parts, often fun and interesting throughout. There are plot holes here and there but #Alive remains a legitimately enjoyable and unique take on the zombie movie.

4

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)


Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead back when you couldn’t turn around without seeing her in another movie, television show or even music video. 10 Cloverfield Lane sees a young woman, Michelle, finding herself chained up in a basement after being involved in a car crash. The men keeping her there claim the world above is no longer inhabitable after an alien attack has poisoned the air. Though Michelle will soon be left questioning whether she should stay with the men or take her chances outside.

Screenshot from horror movie 10 Cloverfield Lane

This movie is a spiritual successor to another movie that could have easily found its way onto this list – Cloverfield. Though this movie ditches the found footage presentation of the first movie to go with a more traditional narrative style. While some of the ties to its predecessor feel dubious, at best. 10 Cloverfield Lane is still a tight little thriller that does a lot with the tiny basement space and small cast. Tense and with an intriguing mystery at its core. This is a great spin on the post-apocalyptic theme that is well worth checking out.

3

28 Days Later (2002)


You know that this list would be impossible without including Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s epic post-apocalyptic zombie movie 28 Days Later, right? You can also throw in the sequel 28 Weeks Later here and, I imagine, next year’s upcoming three-quel 28 Years Later. The plot is pretty simple. A deadly virus has spread through the UK, ravaging the population and turning them into mindless, rage filled, zombies. Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes from a coma he suffered before the outbreak of the virus. Only to emerge into London and find it deserted. Leaving him to begin the search for survivors.

This movie revitalised the zombie genre. Introducing us to a whole different type of infected. One that was full of rage and far more capable than the average undead. The iconic scenes of a completely abandoned London are still some of the most haunting in horror history. The movie’s impact on horror cannot be overstated. 28 Days Later is a fantastic movie that blends action with some genuine human sentiment. Working as both a high paced survival movie and a tale of human endurance. It is genuinely awesome stuff and one of the better post apocalyptic horror movies.

2

The Road (2009)


Holy shit this movie is grim. The Road follows a father and son as they travel across country to look for a more hospitable home. A cataclysmic event has caused the death of all plant and animal life on earth. As the days grow darker and life becomes increasingly less liveable. The pair do what they can to survive while never resorting to things that will make them lose their humanity.

Screenshot from horror movie The Road

I caught this movie when it was relatively new and all I can say is that it is a tough watch. Perhaps nailing the post-apocalyptic hopelessness better than any movie on this list. The Road will tug at your heart strings thanks to the powerful performances of Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee. There is almost no entertainment value here as the movie is just so bleak. But it is, also, one of the most effective portrayals of survival that you are going to find. Unrelenting, brutal and captivating throughout. Well deserving of a top 2 spot on our list.

1

Children of Men (2006)


I wrestled with which movie to place at the number 1 spot in this list. But Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men is just so unique that I think it deserves the spot. The world is on the brink of death as no children have been born in over 18 years. The UK has become a safe haven thanks to its still functioning government and asylum seekers flock there. After being asked to escort a woman to safety, civil servant Theo Faron (Clive Owen) discovers that she is pregnant. The last fertile woman left on earth. Setting him on a mission to get her to a sanctuary at all costs.

Screenshot from horror movie Children of Men

Aside from the unique and fascinating plot. Children of Men features some incredible, one shot, cinematography that lends it a unique, and incredibly raw, feeling among its post apocalyptic themed compatriots. It is a gritty movie that presents the end of the world as an event very much in its infancy. With hope for humanity completely dwindled and society breaking down. All while metaphorically presenting future generations as that said hope. Along with their ability to fix previous generation’s mistakes. It’s tense, action packed, and consistently captivating. Managing to be a brilliant thriller while also examining tales of human survival. Definitely worth checking out.

Thanks for Reading

So that is 10 Post Apocalyptic Horror Movies Ranked. We can’t cover every post-apocalyptic movie here but I do have another list on the way soon so check back for that. If there is something you think I have missed here, it may be on the next one. Thanks for reading and supporting small horror sites. If you want to stick around, why not check out some horror reviews, some horror ending explained articles or some horror lists? Take care and I will, hopefully, see you again soon.