Top 9 Action Movies Like 'The Day After Tomorrow'

Updated on June 25, 2020
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Rahul is a movie addict who can never get enough of good films. His all time favorites are Inception, 12 Angry Men, and Scarface.

What Films Are Like The Day After Tomorrow?

When it comes to big ticket Hollywood features, action and superhero films are often the most popular ones. However, there is another genre America really loves - disaster movies. From the time silent films paved way for modern cinema, movies featuring the end of the world have featured regularly. One such fine flick is the Jake Gyllenhaal starrer, The Day After Tomorrow.

The Roland Emmerich directed feature has made a name for itself as a pioneer in this genre. Following the story of the Hall family, Dennis Quaid plays a climate expert, Jack, while Jake plays his brilliant, yet rebellious son, Sam. As Sam heads for a special convention to New York with his classmates, Jack comes to the horrific realization that climate change has already plunged the world into the next ice age.

Featuring an emotional father-son story at the heart of it all, the film finds a balance between drama and mind-blowing visuals of devastation. Memorable moments such as witnessing the Statue of Liberty covered in snow, and astronauts watching the superstorm behind this catastrophe from space are etched in our minds.

If you loved this apocalyptic thriller and are looking for movies like The Day After Tomorrow, I've got you covered. Check out some of the most promising doomsday films Hollywood has to offer.

Films Similar to The Day After Tomorrow

  1. 2012
  2. Independence Day
  3. Knowing
  4. Armageddon
  5. Dante's Peak
  6. 28 Days Later
  7. The Invasion
  8. Birdbox
  9. War of The Worlds

1. 2012

2012 is perhaps the most famous of the lot. The film is as grand as it gets, complete with mind-blowing visual effects, and some questionable, yet stunning action choreography.

Starring John Cusack, the story follows adventures of his family, which includes an ex-wife, her new husband, and his two kids. Drawing inspiration from the famous Mayan calendar, which predicted the world's end on December 21, 2012, the movie is a nightmarish take on how the world, as we know it, could end. Witnessing incredible sights like American cities sinking into the Atlantic, and tidal waves washing over even the Himalayas, 2012 is full of grandeur.

All the chaos and mayhem aside, the film also earns points in creating enough emotional turmoil. Following a bunch of characters central to the story, it portrays their fear, confusion, anger, and bravery effectively. At the heart of it all, this apocalyptic extravaganza is about a man's desperate attempt to protect his family, even as the world is literally falling apart. Don't miss out on this one.

2. Independence Day

Another classic when it comes to disaster movies is the sci-fi thriller, Independence Day. Director Roland Emmerich hit the bullseye with this film as he established himself as the master of apocalyptic movies. Majorly following Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, Independence Day shows mankind uniting as one to fight an alien invasion.

Invaded by a parasitic species with superior technology, the extraterrestrials wreak havoc as they destroy major cities across the globe. However, thanks to an air force pilot (Smith) and a tech genius (Goldblum), humans have one last chance to retaliate and hopefully, survive this catastrophe.

While the death and destruction will leave you horrified, there are certainly comedic elements that spring up at just the right moment. Filled with quirky characters with intriguing backstories, the film will have you emotionally invested from the word go.

It is rare for such a mainstream film to leave such a massive impact. But, Independence Day has broken the norm on that front. The film's legacy is world renowned, for the film was remade once again, with disastrous consequences. No pun intended.

If you're looking for some movies like The Day Afer Tomorrow, this action feature should fit your bill.

3. Knowing

If you're someone who doesn't like to be spoonfed and enjoys some mystery, Knowing is the film for you. Starring Nicholas Cage, this cerebral feature is truly horrifying to the core.

The story follows a young boy named Caleb and his father, John, an astrophysicist professor. A time capsule, which was buried in 1959 is opened, and Caleb receives a mysterious sheet, containing random numbers from the capsule. As his father mulls over these numbers, he soon realizes that it's an accurate prediction of disasters in the last fifty years, including the date and death toll.

As he reaches this horrific conclusion, he also realizes that the numbers predict a catastrophic event in the near future, one which can possibly wipe out the whole world. Whether John saves the world or his son, at the very least, makes up for the rest of the tale.

Screenplay-wise, one can complain that it's rather slow, but personally, the comfortable pace works in favor of the mystery. The tension is built up steadily from the opening act and it doesn't let up until the very end. If you want to do some brainstorming as you enjoy a movie, Knowing should be right up your alley.

4. Armageddon

This Bruce Willis starrer is a staple when it comes to the doomsday genre. A huge asteroid is rushing towards Earth and will wipe out all life if it isn't stopped. In order to control the situation, the incoming threat must be broken apart. And there's only one crew in the whole world who can pull it off.

Bruce Willis leads a team of callous, hardened, oil rig operators, who can work in the harshest conditions. Soon, the government approaches them and explains that they're humanity's last hope. The crew must land on the asteroid, dig a hole into its core, and drop a nuclear warhead. I know, sounds simple, right?

Armageddon has earned a name for itself over the years as one of the most thrilling disaster films to date. Other than the insurmountable odds, there's also bone crushing tension that pervades the film.

In spite of it all, the rugged men soldier on, cracking jokes and being alpha all the way. It's a commercial potboiler guaranteed to give you one hell of a ride.

5. Dante's Peak

The handsome Pierce Brosnan, who is primarily known for playing Bond, also starred in several other good action flicks. One of them was the disaster thriller, Dante's Peak. The film did not focus on the end of the whole world, but rather, the end of a small town due to a volcanic eruption.

Playing a volcanologist named Dalton, his character faces major trauma after he loses a loved one to one such event. Years later, when a similar incident seems imminent on a small town in Washington, it is up to him to convince the townsfolk that they're living at the foot of a volcano that's ready to burst.

Brosnan rules the silver screen as always with his effortless charm. But unlike Bond, he tones down the suaveness and delivers a more earnest performance. The supporting cast is equally good, making it super engaging for the viewers. Beneath the honest portrayal of a natural calamity, Dante's Peak is a nail-biting thriller.

Overall, the flick has all the qualities for a perfect entertainer without going overboard.

6. 28 Days Later

28 Days Later is a rather unique feature on this list. Directed by Academy Award winner, Danny Boyle, the horror film features zombies, but not in the traditional sense. Here, instead of the undead, our protagonists have to face the 'infected' - living, breathing humans who have become aggressive, flesh-eating monsters.

Although the destruction is on a global scale, the film primarily focuses on one man in London, who wakes up from a coma. After gaining consciousness, he discovers that the civilized world no longer exists. As he encounters the monsters and other survivors, the film takes us on an adventure as they try to stay alive and uninfected.

The film is a piece of art and the high scores it enjoys on major movie rating websites is a testament to this fact. While it is horrendous to witness the infected attack on survivors, the real horror element in the film is something else. Boyle expertly portrays how humans are the worst kind of monsters, which makes even zombies look tame by comparison.

Watch this unique zombie flick to find out what I'm talking about. If you're looking for some unique movies like The Day After Tomorrow, 28 Dasy Later should fit your bill.

7. The Invasion

Although, the Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig starrer scores really low on most websites, I found this film quite refreshing. Usually, apocalyptic films have a prominent cause - either it's a natural calamity on a global scale, an alien invasion, or a deadly plague. However, The Invasion takes the road less traveled. Here, the end of mankind is brought about by aliens, but they are actually portrayed as benevolent.

Nicole plays a single mother who has an introverted son. She's friends with a doctor, played by Craig. The two encounter a strange death brought about by a mysterious illness. Soon, it is revealed that some sort of alien virus has spread across the globe. This virus takes over the host and makes them calm and docile. As she struggles to protect herself and her son from impending doom, she finds out a big secret behind this invasion.

If anyone deserves credit for this film, it's Nicole. She is phenomenal as an on-screen mother, as she convincingly relays her worst fears as a mother. The film is a fascinating watch. The real USP of The Invasion lies in its plot, as it creates atmospheric horror, which is much harder to pull off than jump scares.

8. Birdbox

Whether you watch Netflix or not, you must have heard of Birdbox by now. Starring Sandra Bullock, it is undoubtedly one of the best post-apocalyptic horror films to date.

Set in a world that is invaded by mysterious forces, Bullock plays Mallory, a young pregnant woman who's trying to survive. That's easier said than done, for whoever catches a glimpse of this force, ends up killing themselves in the most violent way. Living blindfolded most of the time, Mallory must now survive this unspeakable horror as she raises her children and tries to find a safe haven for them.

The creepy factor is off the charts in this film. As soon as the strange incidents begin, there's barely a moment of respite for Mallory and the viewers. It's a super tense, nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat thriller from start to finish. The best part, though, lies in the film's story. It's often said that not knowing what you're up against is way scarier than what you do know, and the film uses this point to its advantage.

Those looking for a movie like The Day After Tomorrow would love what Birdbox brings to the table.

9. War of the Worlds

Tom Cruise doesn't tire from saving the world from terrorists and extraterrestrials. War of the Worlds showcases him pulling off the latter. Based on the cult classic novel written by H.G.Wells of the same name, I think this film is actually better than the book. Cruise plays a father of two, who must take a perilous journey with his children to reunite with their mother as aliens attack Earth. However, they don't come from some far off galaxy. These aliens turn out to be our neighbors from Mars!

With gigantic ships that shoot vaporizing laser beams, the odds are definitely not in the favor of our protagonist. But he struggles and barely pulls through this challenge, solely fueled by the determination to protect his family.

The film is visceral, action-packed, terrifying and emotional, all in perfect proportion. Of course, when you have Stephen Spielberg helming the project, there is no question of errors.

War of the Worlds has been touted as one of Spielberg's most underrated films and, once you watch it, you'll understand why.

Did I miss out on any movies like The Day After Tomorrow? Let me know in the comments section.


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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      17 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Oh I've seen Bird Box. Scary film that is!


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