10 Apocalypse Horror Movies That Don't Involve Zombies

Mass death without the undead.

These Final Hours
Roadshow Films

When it comes to horror movies, death and destruction en-masse are basically a given. It’s no surprise then that the genre has developed a particular affection for apocalypse fare, as what’s scarier than an extinction event ending not only life as we know it, but potentially life on Earth itself?

Unfortunately, this genre has long since backed itself into a tight corner with repeated usage of everyone’s favourite world-ending foe - zombies! Don't get us wrong, the undead are great, and the prospect of not only watching your friends and family die, but having them come back to ultimately be your grizzly undoing is an emotionally charged concept that horror fans have been feasting on for decades. Despite this, the niche has seen little innovation in recent years after a mid-2000s content boom. To many, this popular topic has gone well and truly stale.

Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best apocalypse-focused movies to provide all the scares you can stomach, minus the cannibalistic corpses. Dig in!

10. Take Shelter

These Final Hours
Sony Pictures Classics

2011’s Take Shelter operates on a much smaller scale than many of the other films on this list, focused not on the world-wide implications of the apocalypse, but the impact on the relationships between one man and his community. Starring Michael Shannon, the film draws much of its horror from psychological spooks, as a dedicated father becomes plagued with apocalyptic visions, and struggles to decipher whether they are truly prophetic, or if he is developing mental illness like his mother.

The anxiety manifested by these dreams leads him to obsessively begin construction on a storm shelter, causing him to miss work, drive his family into debt, and alienate himself from those he cares about - as he believes they will hurt him thanks to his dreams, and they believe he is hurting himself and them with his newfound paranoia. The tension created not only by the consistent feeling of being disbelieved, along with an impending sense of doom, and concern that the main character may be losing his mind makes for a thrilling, emotionally charged watch that urges you to genuinely care about the family.

It’s left deliberately vague as to whether the visions of world-destroying storms and gasoline-like rain are truly real, complete with an ambiguous, gut-churning ending that will leave you thinking about it for a long time afterwards - and potentially have you looking up survival guides.


Writer, gamer, and enjoyer of all things visual. Makes jokes more reliably than headshots.