jcarojames‘ List of the Movies to Watch if You Loved The Last of Us
The final episode of HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ aired one month ago – can you believe it’s already been that long? If you’re like me; just moping around unsure of what to fill your days until the start of season 2 – check out this list of movies to watch while you wait. I guarantee you’ve never heard of some of them.
Movies To Watch If You Loved The Last of Us
Did someone say Arnold Schwazenegger in a dramatic role? Yes, and it’s incredible. Arnie shines alongside Abigail Breslin (the titular ‘Maggie’) as a Midwest father and teenage daughter living a peaceful life as the world adjusts to the norms of a zombie outbreak. But as Midwestern teens tend to do, Maggie sneaks out to attend a bush party where she is inevitably infected. The movie follows the pair as they come to terms with what will come to pass.
The Road (2009)
When asked for book comparisons to TLOU, Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD is always the first answer – and the 2009 film starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee is much the same. Exploring many of the same, dark themes as TLOU, ‘The Road’ is a brutal, disturbing, and profound take on hope and love in a post-apocalyptic world. Much like Ellie and Joel, the father and son characters are on a cross-country journey to the coast. The story follows them through extreme environments, roving bands of survivors, and doing whatever it takes to stay alive.
In the vein of Orson Welles’ ‘The War of the Worlds’, ‘Pontypool’ has been produced as both a radio play and a film. The story is set in a small Ontario town (very close to where I live irl!), following a radio host interpreting the outbreak of a deadly virus in real time. The film is contained strictly inside the audio booth as the tension rises and danger approaches from all sides. Don’t miss this sleeper horror hit.
A Quiet Place (2018/2020)
If you haven’t already seen John Krasinski’s mega-hit ‘A Quiet Place’, what are you doing??
In the forests of upstate New York, a family fights to survive the invasion of sightless alien monsters that will attack and kill anything that makes sound. The eldest daughter is deaf, and the family uses American Sign Language to communicate. After more tragedy befalls the family, they work hard to regain a ‘normal’ life. This film is gorgeous, thought-provoking, and terrifying. Don’t miss the followup from 2020.
Children of Men (2006)
Based on P.D. James’ 1992 novel, ‘Children of Men’ is set eighteen years after global infertility and war has ravaged the world. Humanity is on the brink of extinction and refugees flood the now-police state United Kingdom, where the film is set. Former activist Theo (Clive Owen), is kidnapped by militant immigrant-rights group, the “Fishes”, and tasked with acquiring transit papers for a young immigrant named Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey). When he discovers that Kee is actually pregnant, he agrees to deliver her to “The Human Project”, a scientific group dedicated to restoring the human race. Kee did not appear in the novel, but was written by director Alfonso Cuarón, who was fascinated by the single-origin hypothesis.
Although it received mixed reviews (96% on Rotten Tomatoes but panned by viewers), I personally adored ‘Spontaneous’. This coming-of-age black-comedy horror stars Katherine Langford as a high-schooler whose classmates spontaneously begin exploding (into blood-mist, guts, and gore). After the third sudden death, the class is quarantined while the CDC and government officials try to figure out what is going on. The film follows the students as they navigate typical teen things like young love, choosing a college, and dealing with complex emotions in uncertain times (is the whole thing an allegory on COVID-19? Maybe). ‘Spontaneous’ is heartbreaking but filled with hope and the message of ‘life goes on’.
You should probably watch the other ‘X-Men’ films before diving into ‘Logan’, but its similarities to TLOU are striking. We have a grumpy, jaded man past his prime and a wilful little girl with a secret, forced together by circumstance – just add a 97-year-old Professor X. It is 2029 and no new mutants have been born in over 25 years (‘Children of Men’, anyone?) Logan (aka Wolverine, aka Hugh Jackman) agrees to escort the young mutant, Laura (Dafne Keen), to a refuge called Eden near the Canadian border. ‘Logan’ is certainly the darkest film in the ‘X-Men’ franchise, exploring themes like aging, hopelessness, and the end of an era.
Okay, this one is WAY too similar to TLOU – right down to Pedro Pascal starring as a reluctant-protector/surrogate-father type. A teenage girl (Sophie Thatcher) and her father voyage to a remote alien moon, aiming to strike it rich. They’ve secured a contract to harvest a large deposit of the elusive gems hidden in the depths of the moon’s toxic forest. But there are others roving the wilderness and the job quickly devolves into a fight to survive. Forced to find her own escape, the girl teams up with a Joel-esque Pedro Pascal.
Leave No Trace (2018)
With an astonishing 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, ‘Leave No Trace’ stars Thomasin Mckenzie and Ben Foster star as a father and daughter living a secluded life in a remote nature reserve near Portland, Oregon. When a small mistake alerts others to their whereabouts, the pair go on the run, starting an erratic, dangerous journey that will test their limits. The film explores themes of rebellion, family, and trust, and takes a sharp look at humanity.
The Girl With All the Gifts (2016)
Do you ever wonder what it would have been like if Ellie had succumbed to her bite? What if that happened, but she also kept her consciousness? ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ gives us just that. 12-year-old Melanie is a zombie, attending “school” and learning about the world from her favourite teacher. She doesn’t understand why all the adults are afraid of her, until everything goes awry. Although often heartfelt, this film isn’t a ‘Warm Bodies’ situation. The emotional moments hit hard and the action is brutal. If you need another fix of young-girl-and-parent-figure-who-protects-her, this one is for you.
Daybreak (Season 1 – 2019)
This one’s a bonus option since it’s not a movie. While only lasting one single season, the dark comedy show is set in a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic world where all the adults are dead and teenagers rove in gangs mostly based on their cliques pre-apocalypse. Outcast Josh (Colin Ford) is searching for his missing girlfriend, joined by a group of other misfits. This show is gory and weird, but full of heart and emotional themes. Don’t let the fact it was canceled after one season stop you from enjoying it.