Watched the creepy disaster film, Leave the World Behind, and are now looking for something to similar to get into tonight? We’ve got you! Whether you’re looking for a new TV recommendation, what to read next, or what to line-up next in your podcast queue, we’ve got you covered with our new entertainment series. We’ll be working our way through new or popular TV shows, movies, books/authors and podcasts and will then match-make you with other suggestions for you to try!
If you had time off over Christmas / New Year / the various long weekends, when it also rained, or you caught a cold (or maybe, like I did, you had the grand trifecta of all three of things?), you likely will have scrolled through Netflix and fairly quickly come across this film.
Leave the World Behind is creepy little film that you soon discover is actually an apocalyptic tale, and it’ll likely have you thinking about it long after you have watched it. It has an all-star cast, including Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke and Kevin Bacon and it went gangbusters over summer, although has had some mixed reviews (it has a 75% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 6.5 on IMDB).
I took a look at the reviews and some of the ones that gave it a poor rating said ‘This is SO UNBELIEVABLE’ which was actually the opposite experience I had in watching this film. I won’t spoil it for you, but essentially it follows a family who on a whim decide to get out of New York and head to a beach house for the weekend. But then things start to get strange – the owners of the house turn up, afraid, wanting to stay the night because all technology is down: everything, from phones to TVs to wi-fi. Are they in danger? Is it a cyberattack? From who? What is that strange sound? What is happening? Has a war begun? Everything is very in the dark for much of the film.
But here’s what really creeped me out – Barack and Michelle Obama (as part of their new company ‘Higher Ground’) acted as producers on this film. And the director Sam Esmail (of Mr Robot fame) said that Barack acted as an advisor on the script – letting him know how this scenario would most like unfold, and how it would most likely be handled within the White House. Once you hear Mahershala Ali explain his theory of what is happening, based on the conversation that he had with someone extremely well-connected, the knowledge that this was Obama’s thinking, is… well, quite terrifying.
Anyhoo, with all that aside, the film is veeeery good at building tension, keeping you in the dark, and generally just being mysterious and batshit!
If you are into creepy disaster films I have plenty of suggestions – but these five are possibly the closest, best fits with the creepiness of Leave the World Behind!
Ok, so it’s perhaps not a straight disaster film, but heck, this movie is hella creepy.
It’s directed by kind of the plot-twist, M. Night Shyamalan and is based on the Pierre Oscar Levy novel, Sandcastle. It follows a couple who are in the midst of a separation and have decided to take their young children away for one last family holiday together (an interesting life choice, no?). They’re invited by the resort manager to visit a beautiful, secluded beach where a few other guests are, and so they head out for some R&R too.
Buuuuut, they quickly discover that although the beach looks like a postcard dream, it’s actually a living nightmare. It’s somehow accelerating the aging process – at the rate of one year for every 30 minutes – that they’re on the beach. But, how do they get off the beach before time runs out?
The plot of this film is obviously a very different premise to Leave the World Behind, but it has a very similar foreboding creepiness to it. You often have no idea what is going on, except for knowing that it’s gotta be bad – really bad.
And, of course, you know a twist has gotta be coming. Honestly, this movie is not one of M. Night’s better films, but it’s watchable. And, it also has some great cast members including Gael Garcia Bernal (the most beautiful man) and our own Thomasin McKenzie.
Watch it on: Rent from Apple TV
Back in 2018 when the world was a much less scary place, Bird Box was one of the biggest Netflix hits of the year. So, chances are you may have seen it already? Maybe it’s time for a rewatch?
Like Leave the World Behind, it starts off in a world that is slowly spiralling into chaos, and, it also stars an A-list mega star – in Bird Box’s case it’s Sandra Bullock (-fangirl squeal-) who plays Malorie. But there’s no cutesy rom-com Sandra to be seen in this film, she is a woman at her wit’s end, about to take one of the most terrifying trips imaginable.
See, things are completely batshit in this post-apocalyptic world. There are some sort of demonic creatures (maybe manifestations of the Earth itself, fighting to save the planet?) and if anyone looks at them, they immediately go crazy and kill themselves.
It’s five years on from the start of this phenomenon and Malorie is hanging out with a bunch of survivors, with all the windows bordered up. But, it’s time to seek a greater refuge – so Malorie heads off, with two children, blindfolded to get to a safer place.
Holy heck this movie is creepy. It’s completely insane, but cast members like Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson and John Malkovich somehow have you buying into the whole thing and hiding behind the covers.
Watch it on: Netflix
Don’t Look Up
Ok, so some people absolutely loved this dark comedy satire (it has a 81% approval rating on Google, and, was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars), but personally, I found it waaaaaaay too believable and plausible to be a parody and it just freaked me out… but maybe that was actually the whole point?
It stars every famous person alive, including Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Timothèe Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, Ariana Grande, Melanie Lynskey and Meryl Streep.
Essentially, it’s the story of two astronomers (Jennifer and Leo) who attempt to warn humanity about an approaching comet that will destroy human civilization. But, they’re met with nothing but apathy from everyone right from the president (Meryl), to NASA, to news outlets. The comet, is basically an allegory for climate change, making this a satire of government, political, celebrity and media indifference to the climate crisis.
It came out in 2021 – delayed due to Covid – but, it arrived in a world where we were already outraged by everything Trump had done which made the story potentially even more potent.
Anyhoo, it’s similar to Leave the World Behind in that it is a cleverly made creepy look at how the world may end and how the whole thing might play out. Terrifying!
Watch it on: Netflix
The Day After Tomorrow
In my opinion this is one of the very best the-world-is-ending disaster movies ever made. In this film’s scenario, it’s a very sudden free-fall of climate change that threatens to end human kind. Dennis Quaid plays Jack, a palaeoclimatologist who makes the horrifying discovery that we are on the brink of an ice age – but (kinda reminiscent of Don’t Look Up) higher authorities (aka the white house) don’t believe him.
Of course, they soon realise that his predictions are coming true. While plans are quickly put into action to evacuate as many people into safe regions as possible – Jack goes against the tide of people to try to save his son, Jake Gyllenhaal, who is on a school trip in the epicentre of the action in New York.
Yes, as you can gather by the Jake Gyllenhaal being in school bit, this is no new release – it came out way back in 2004 (let’s not talk about how long ago that was). IT IS GOOD.
If you like the disaster film aspect of Leave the World Behind, this is one to watch. It doesn’t quite have that same, ‘what the heck is going on?!’ feel, or the same creepiness – it’s more like a proper popcorn disaster movie, but darn it’s good.
Watch it on: Disney+
Looking for other recommendations? Maybe you also enjoyed Fool Me Once on Netflix? Here’s what to watch next!