Although they reached their zenith in the 1970s thanks to the masterful work of Irwin Allen (The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure), the disaster movie as a genre is alive and well…just take a look at the Sharknado franchise for an example of this. One of the most interesting disaster films in recent memory was the BBC‘s End Day. A hugely entertaining mix of drama and documentary, the film is described by the BBC as “inspired by the predictions of scientists, End Day creates apocalyptic scenarios that go beyond reality. In a single hour, explore five different fictional disasters, from a giant tsunami hitting New York to a deadly meteorite strike on Berlin.”
That sounds a little clinical, and doesn’t accurately portray how fun that End Day is. Part Armageddon, part Groundhog Day, the the film follows scientist Dr. Powell (Glenn Conroy) as he — and the rest of humanity — deal with Earth coming to a sudden and unexpected end through disasters like tsunamis, meteor strikes, diseases, volcanic activity, and an accident involving a particle accelerator. Intercut with the expertly shot disaster footage is insights from scientists, doctors and other experts to see how likely such disasters are to occur.
Although serious topics are obviously featured in End Day, which is sadly unavailable on DVD, the movie never feels dire due to the fantastically smart and entertaining writing and directing from Gareth Edwards (who would find later success with the 2014 version of Godzilla and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). To paraphrase R.E.M., End Day may chronicle unthinkable disasters, but watching it you’ll feel fine — making this a fantastic, if non traditional, addition to the disaster film genre.