10. I Am Legend (2007)
Initially, this movie might seem ridiculously far outside the realm of possibility, but if you really think about it, maybe you’ll reconsider. It’s certainly not inconceivable that a virus could destroy nearly all of earth’s population.
The idea of the surviving population being immune to the virus while others are turned into savage carnivores is a little harder to swallow, but the movie doesn’t make it seem like an impossibility.
9. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
This film proposes the idea that the polar ice caps have melted and submerged most of the world in deep water. During that time, technology has given mankind the ability to build robots that closely mimic human beings.
The story of a little boy robot desperate to become a real boy might sound like complete fantasy, but the idea of man building robots in his image doesn’t seem too far out of reach.
8. Strange Days (1995)
At the turn of the 21st century, there was some fear about the Y2K bug wreaking havoc on the world’s computers. Although nothing happened, it doesn’t mean the possibility of something like that happening is unrealistic.
This movie takes place in 1999 right before the new year when virtual reality is sold on the black market. Maybe it’s a little hard to imagine technology that would allow us to directly experience another person’s reality, but it does sound like a possibility a couple decades from now.
7. Deep Impact (1998)
One of the most believable scenarios of how mankind could meet its demise is being hit by a comet or meteor. In this film, they’re comets — ones that could destroy a large city, and one that would wipe out the planet.
I’m not sure if we have the means to fly into space, land a shuttle on the comet, and plant an explosive device in it, but other than that, this movie makes everything else frighteningly realistic.
6. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
The greenhouse effect is another hypothesis that deals with the real possibility of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters bringing about the next ice age. In this movie’s scenario, half the world is covered in ice and the only way to survive is to make it south to warmer climates.
5. The Happening (2008)
With some of the ways we treat our planet, it’s not unfathomable to think that someday, we will pay for it. This movie takes the idea of mother nature sending us a sign in the form of an airborne virus that causes people to act out in violent ways. As people begin killing themselves, a small group of survivors look for a way to keep themselves, and civilization, alive.
4. Children of Men (2006)
Set not that far in the future, mankind has lost its ability to procreate. As the dying world is thrust into chaos and suppressed by a totalitarian society, a reclusive bureaucrat tries to bring a miraculously pregnant woman to a mysterious organization in order to protect the last chance for the human race to survive.
The procreation thing might be a stretch, but all the other ways in which this movie depicts the future is more realistic than any movie I can remember.
3. Take Shelter (2011)
One of the scariest thoughts about the end of the world is how sudden and unexpected it could happen. In this film, a quiet family man begins to have visions of an apocalyptic storm headed his way and builds an underground shed in his back yard.
Although his wife and the whole town think he’s crazy, he stops at nothing to protect his family from the life-ending storm which he is convinced will arrive soon.
If there is an apocalyptic storm, it sounds like something that just might come with little notice.
2. The Road (2009)
If most of the population were obliterated by some kind of disaster leaving only a handful of survivors, this movie paints a very realistic picture of what the remaining world would be like.
A barren wasteland where people have turned into cannibals and have no instinct other than to survive by killing each other for food.
1. Contagion (2011)
In this film, a lethal airborne virus quickly spreads through civilization causing a global pandemic. The medical community races to find a cure, while people desperately try to save themselves and their loved ones.
With so many real virus outbreaks in our history, it’s a horrifying proposition to think that someday an outbreak of this magnitude could take place.