2013: Year of the Post-Apocalyptic Genre?

Is it just me or has there been a lot of doom and gloom around lately? Today is the world’s last day, according to the Mayans, so naturally that’s caused quite a stir. Even if you were convinced the Mayans’ prediction or prophecy or whatever was complete nonsense, I bet today’s date stuck in the back of your mind, niggling away more and more as it got closer. I know it did for me! Not that I believed that the world was going to end today one bit, but something got me a little jittery as the media and people around me started to hype it up.

It’s not just the whole Mayan calendar thing that’s made me think that there’s a lot of negativity around at the moment. There has been a trend of post-apocalyptic films, TV shows and games being reeled out in the last couple of years. It seems that we’re starting to move away from the whole vampire phase and into the post-apocalypse phase. Shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ have become commonplace among mainstream viewers, and we’re seeing a lot of ‘end of the world’ type films and games too. Ian recently talked about the highly anticipated game ‘The Last of Us’, which is centred around this theme, and other recent titles such as ‘I Am Alive’ and ‘ZombiU’ echo this growing trend in the industry.

Granted there have been many films like this for years now, for example ‘28 Days Later’, ‘I Am Legend’, ‘The Road’ etc. I’ve simply noticed that the last couple of years have seen an awful lot along this theme, not only in film but in TV and the gaming world too. The latest to follow the post-apocalyptic trend is Tom Cruise’s latest movie; ‘Oblivion’ which is set for release in April 2013. According to the Mashable article I stumbled across last week, the film tells the story of a ‘grim future earth’ where people live in the clouds. Again the future of earth is depicted to be a grim one. Pretty standard really. I suppose in a lot of ways these films are painting a picture to send out a message of exactly how we’re killing the earth – much like ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ did.

From the poster in the article I’m guessing Oblivion will be one of those post-natural-disaster-apocalypse types like The Day After Tomorrow, rather than the infection-spreading apocalypse themes associated with The Last of Us video game and your typical zombie survival title. But that’s just pure speculation, and I could be very wrong! From a film critic point of view I’m interested to see how this film compares to others in the sci-fi/post-apocalyptic  genre, and as always with Tom Cruise films I’m looking forward to any ‘Tom Cruise running’ scenes – he has the funniest run I’ve ever seen! Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol proved this point, big time.

So what’s the deal with all the doom and gloom at the moment? Don’t get me wrong, I love the genre – there’s a certain tension associated with this genre that’s different to what you find in plain old fashioned horror films. This was seen in I Am Legend, and I’m hoping Oblivion turns out to be more like that and less like ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’. So if 2013 comes around, I’m happy to sit by whilst a host of post-apocalyptic titles come out. But it would be nice to see a more optimistic future for planet earth – although I guess that’s a lot less interesting. I’m starting to think that 2012 has been a warm up to the main event that is 2013: the year of the post-apocalyptic genre…

Written by Joe Topliffe



  1. Personally, I’m glad that vampires are phasing out. They were alright when they were vampires. I’m talking Bram Stokers, Dracula style vampires. And the post-apocalyptic thing has been pretty popular for a while now. Look at all of the Fallout games.

    I’m starting to get sick of all the end of the world predictions, there have been at least 4 of them in 2012 alone. If the world is going to end, there is no way any of use will be able to predict when or how it will happen.

    For games and movies throughout 2012, end of the world and post apocalypse were huge money makers and we’ll probably see more of it next year. Not that it’s a bad thing…I love the genre lol.

    1. That’s very true, the genre has thrown out a few games over the years (like Fallout), and I think you’re right in suggesting that developers have really cashed in on the whole end of the world/Mayan calendar thing! Personally I think Twilight was good in the way it changed the way we perceived vampires, moving away from the stereotypical Dracula theme. Mind you I think that’s about all it was good for. Definitely looking forward to more in this genre though – its interesting seeing how different each ones’ take on the end of the world is.

  2. The trend has been in books for the last couple of years as well (especially YA ones)- The Hunger Games, The Chaos Walking Trilogy, etc.
    Also more zombie stuff is due out in the next year, like World war Z (which is already meant to be terrible and it’s not even finished!)

    1. Oh dear, that does sound terrible! Like Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus terrible…

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