It had to end sometime. Season 1 and episode 9 of The Last of Us just finished, and a lot of people are probably bummed they can’t get more postapocalyptic drama. Starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, the show chronicles a lonely man who guides a traumatized teenage girl across an unrecognizable America in the hopes of finding a cure for a fungal virus that has turned most of the world’s population into flesh-eating zombies.
With an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and a steadily increasing viewership week after week, The Last of Us has already become the greatest video game adaptation ever made and now ranks among some of HBO’s biggest shows. In case anyone is anxious to see more of the series, here are some shows/films similar to The Last of Us that will make the wait for season 2 easier.
A Quiet Place
A Quiet Place follows a family struggling to survive after a race of blind aliens with super-sensitive hearing wipes out almost all of humankind. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s characters are very similar to Joel’s in that they fight to protect their respective families in this dangerous, new world however they can.
The film holds nothing back in its post-apocalyptic world, as the story begins with the family’s four-year-old getting killed by one of the aliens. But like The Last of Us, there is also a strong sense of melancholy in seeing civilization as it is left to ruins by the film’s antagonists. The sequel this movie spawned only expands on this sense of danger and tragedy, and it shows the first day of the alien invasion similarly to how The Last of Us depicts the beginning of the zombie outbreak.
A Quiet Place is streaming on Paramount+.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead has recently ended its 11-season run on cable television, and The Last of Us seems to have taken its place as TV’s next big zombie franchise. Both shows are character-driven stories about a group of regular people dead-set on surviving in a world littered with the undead and other hostile humans.
While The Walking Dead centers around an entire community of survivors, it shares The Last of Us’s focus on families of choice and how morality changes in a post-apocalyptic world. For those anxious to see an entire saga featuring the zombie apocalypse, now’s as good a time as any to explore the world of The Walking Dead.
All 11 seasons of The Walking Dead are streaming on AMC+.
28 Days Later
After a young man wakes up from a month-long coma, he finds himself fighting to survive after a virus ravages Great Britain and turns people into zombies. Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s film helped bring sprinting zombies into mainstream media, and its impact can be seen in the Infected presented in The Last of Us.
Both stories explore the lengths to which humanity will go in order to survive, with the film depicting a team of soldiers practicing sexual slavery in a desperate attempt to repopulate the Earth. As a result, they each present the dark side of humanity and how they can be no different than the ravenous zombies that destroyed their world, all while questioning the purpose of living without a purpose and presenting people’s desire for meaning.
This film shows the Wolverine embarking on an adventure to Joel’s, as the aging X-Man travels across the country to bring young Laura to a safe haven for mutants while developing a paternal relationship with her. And like Joel, Logan also struggles to live with his traumatic past and repeatedly pushes people away to avoid seeing them, and therefore himself, get hurt.
Furthermore, there is a lingering bleakness similar to The Last of Us, since almost all mutants have been mysteriously wiped out, Logan nears the end of his life, and nearly everyone he’s come to know and love has died. This film plays less like a superhero movie and more like a somber Western that serves as a perfect sendoff to one of cinema’s most beloved and most tragic antiheroes.
Logan is currently streaming on Disney+.
Children of Men
Alfonso Cuarón’s dystopian masterpiece takes place in a near future where humanity has been rendered infertile. At the same time, war and poverty have ravaged most of the world, and the U.K. exists as an oppressive and xenophobic police state. Just as Joel travels with Ellie to try and save humanity, Clive Owen’s Theo must help bring a pregnant refugee to safety so as to prevent human extinction.
Like this film, The Last of Us also displays a government leading the last of humanity under strict martial law and a radical militant force seeking to overthrow them. But the warring parties in both stories aren’t black and white, as they all act against the heroes in one way or another. All in all, Children of Men explores how humanity behaves when there doesn’t seem to be any purpose or future for their existence.
Children of Men is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.