Actors Kodi Smit-McPhee (L) and Viggo Mortensen in a scene from the 2009 film 'The Road'.
Actors Kodi Smit-McPhee (L) and Viggo Mortensen in a scene from the 2009 film 'The Road'.

The dystopian movies you need to watch right now

According to the major streaming platforms, what we are living through right now is sparking an intense interest in movies where there are no utopias, just dystopia. In descending order of devastation, here is a guide to where you can currently find the best of the worst that could possibly happen.

So check your temperature, check the locks, and keep checking the headlines to ensure that what you are watching is "only a movie".

 

THE ABSOLUTE BRINK

 

THE ROAD (Foxtel & to rent)

In the aftermath of a global catastrophe, a father and son (Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee) wander across the US. The fundamentals of nature - animals, plants, clean water - are now just distant memories.

Food is whatever you can get your hands on. And tear apart. This rugged experience is tough, uncompromising stuff.

 

Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee are living a dystopian hell in The Road. Sound familiar? Picture: Supplied
Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee are living a dystopian hell in The Road. Sound familiar? Picture: Supplied

 

 

CHILDREN OF MEN

(To rent only)

In 2027, there is only one pregnant woman on the face of the planet, and lowly office worker Clive Owen must protect her until she gives birth. An unconventional and unsettling future-shock thriller that is bang on target with its pointed potshots at the world of today. Co-stars Julianne Moore, Michael Caine.

 

Clive Owen must protect the one pregnant woman left on earth in Children of Men. Picture: Supplied
Clive Owen must protect the one pregnant woman left on earth in Children of Men. Picture: Supplied

 

 

I AM LEGEND (Foxtel & to rent)

After a virus wipes out almost all civilised life, the last man left standing in New York City works on a cure. A frightening, confronting and immersive action movie. Smith excels himself here - not only carrying the entire picture on his own, but keeping the audience at his side throughout.

 

A QUIET PLACE (Netflix)

Brilliant thriller where those still alive remain so by strictly observing a vow of silence. The slightest noise is a certain death sentence. A close-knit family (led by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) is about to face an absolute day of reckoning. You might be able to handle what you see, but what you hear will take some time to get over.

 

SNOWPIERCER (Netflix, Stan)

If you're new to the eccentric visions of Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, try this slyly innovative action picture. Everyone has died in a new ice age except the passengers of a luxury bullet train that's still in operation. In the
years that follow, each carriage becomes a nation unto itself.

Stars Chris Evans.

 

WITH THE GREATEST DISEASE

 

CONTAGION (to rent only)

The 2011 movie that has famously gone since the onset of COVID-19. In a tad more than 100 minutes, a tad more than 100 million people perish at the clammy hands of a killer flu. While not so entertaining nor enlightening, there can be no denying this is spookily relevant right now. Stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet.

 

Jude Law stars in Contagion, about a virus that threatens the human race. OK then. Picture: Supplied
Jude Law stars in Contagion, about a virus that threatens the human race. OK then. Picture: Supplied

 

CARGO (Netflix)

An eerily effective Australian apocalyptic odyssey. Martin Freeman plays a man who has 48 hours to deliver his baby daughter to safety before an irreversible infection strips him of his humanity forever. The film's singular command of mood - between the desolate and the delicate - is assuredly deployed.

 

In the Australian film Cargo, Martin Freeman plays a man who must deliver his baby before an irreversible infection strips him of his humanity forever.
In the Australian film Cargo, Martin Freeman plays a man who must deliver his baby before an irreversible infection strips him of his humanity forever.

IT COMES AT NIGHT (rent only)

A highly infectious plague is encircling a heavily fortified cabin in the woods. Paul (Joel Edgerton, superb) calls the shots. His wife and son dutifully follow suit, knowing their lives depend on it. The ever-niggling promise of what can (and will) go wrong gives this intimately intimidating affair a raw intensity all its own.

 

28 DAYS LATER (Foxtel)

A sparse, rigorously malicious chiller about an England on its last legs after a zombie-fied strain of leprosy sweeps the nation. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) from a script by Alex Garland (Ex Machina).

 

 

Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman in outbreak. Picture: Supplied
Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman in outbreak. Picture: Supplied

 

OUTBREAK (rent only)

A monkey virus that started out in an African rainforest triggers a race against time for a team of scientists headed by Prof Dustin Hoffman. The US government doesn't really go in for social distancing as a response, they start threatening to bomb entire towns!

 

 

YOUTHFUL REBELLION

 

 

THE HUNGER GAMES COLLECTION (Netflix)

The compelling series depicting a future where poverty-stricken youth must battle to the death as televised entertainment for the rich. Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of renegade teen heroine Katniss Everdeen is a belter.

You will follow her every hurried, hunted and haunted step of the way.

 

The Hunger Games made Jennifer Lawrence a movie star. Picture: AP
The Hunger Games made Jennifer Lawrence a movie star. Picture: AP

 

 

NEVER LET ME GO (Foxtel)

An unmistakeable shadow of doom - never imminent, but always inevitable - creeps into every frame here. Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley play students of a mysterious British boarding school that is covertly preparing its clientele for a terrifying fate once in the outside world.

 

THE MAZE RUNNER (rent only)

A tribe of a teenage boys is trapped inside a walled field. Outside is a complex maze that changes configuration every day, and hosts a collection of vicious creatures every night. A fascinating premise that lives up to most of the potential promised.

Just steer clear of the two dud sequels that followed.

 

The Maze Runner. Picture: Supplied
The Maze Runner. Picture: Supplied

 

 

TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN (Foxtel, Amazon, Stan)

John Marsden's 1993 novel has been a prized read for an entire generation of young Australians. A simple, accessible story tracks a group of teens fighting for their lives after Australia has been invaded and conquered by foreign aggressors. Stars Caitlin Stasey.

 

DIVERGENT (Netflix)

A cheaper, less cheerful cousin of The Hunger Games. It is the 22nd century, and society is divided into five factions. Those that do not fit are not long for this world. Shailene Woodley stars as the gritty teenage heroine Tris, who must keep her multi-factional pedigree a closely guarded secret. All sequels also sit on Netflix.

 

FURTHER FUTURE SHOCKS

And if that's not enough, try these:

 

BLADE RUNNER 2049 (Netflix)

V FOR VENDETTA (rent only)

MOON (Foxtel)

I, ROBOT (rent only)

THE RUNNING MAN (SBS )

Originally published as The dystopian movies you need to watch right now


Firefighters en route to blaze near Kingaroy

Premium Content Firefighters en route to blaze near Kingaroy

FIREFIGHTER’S are currently responding to a reported fire near Kingaroy.

Kingaroy driver injured in single-vehicle crash

Premium Content Kingaroy driver injured in single-vehicle crash

A KINGAROY driver has been transported to hospital following a single-vehicle...

Burnett man to face court on child abuse material charges

Premium Content Burnett man to face court on child abuse material charges

John Joseph Beltrame accused of having child exploitation material