The Most Underrated Disaster Movies of the 2010s, Ranked
While some films like 2012 and San Andreas hog the limelight, there are hidden gems that slipped under the radar.
Towering infernos, gargantuan tidal waves, asteroids hurtling toward Earth—these movies have it all.
14. Pompeii (2014)
Think Titanic, but with a volcano. Milo, a slave-turned-gladiator, falls in love with Cassia, a noblewoman promised to a corrupt Roman senator. As they navigate the complicated socio-political landscape, Mt. Vesuvius starts rumbling. Buildings crack, fires erupt, and it's a mad dash for survival. Filled with sword fights and chariot races, it's as much a period piece as it is a disaster movie.
13. The Wave (2015)
Hailing from Norway, this film explores the ticking time bomb that is the mountain Åkerneset. When it finally collapses into the fjord, it creates a mammoth tsunami that barrels toward the tourist town of Geiranger. Kristian, a geologist, must save his family before the wave hits. From harrowing car races against the rushing water to a heart-stopping elevator scene, this one's got your pulse pounding start to finish.
12. Crawl (2019)
Imagine you're trapped in a crawl space with rising floodwaters. Now add alligators. Feeling queasy yet? Haley, a young woman, goes looking for her missing dad during a Category 5 hurricane in Florida. She finds him injured in their flooded house's crawl space, and the two must outwit and outmaneuver a bunch of hungry gators to survive. It's tight, it's tense, and it's teeming with razor-sharp teeth.
11. Finest Hours (2016)
Based on a true story, this movie chronicles the Coast Guard's daring rescue of the SS Pendleton crew after the ship split in two during a storm. Bernie Webber and his three-man team battle monstrous waves and freezing temperatures in a small lifeboat to reach the stranded crew. And let's not forget, they're doing this in 1952 equipment.
10. Into the Storm (2014)
Tornadoes are terrifying. Multiple tornadoes? Pure chaos. This film follows storm chasers, thrill-seekers, and everyday people in a small town as they experience an unprecedented series of tornadoes. From fire tornadoes to colossal, mile-wide twisters, this movie throws everything but the kitchen sink at its characters. And for all you tech nerds, it's got some dope storm-chasing vehicles.
9. The Impossible (2012)
Based on real events of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, this film stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor as a couple vacationing in Thailand with their three kids. When the tsunami hits, the family is separated but determined to find each other amidst the chaos. It's a bone-chilling, mud-caked, debris-strewn odyssey, filled with desperate hospital scenes and near-misses.
8. Geostorm (2017)
The world's climate-control satellites start going haywire, causing cataclysmic weather events—think mega-hailstorms in Tokyo and heatwaves that melt Moscow. It's up to Gerard Butler, a satellite designer, to fix the satellites and uncover the conspiracy behind their malfunction. Politics and environmentalism rolled into a disastrous sushi roll, if you will.
7. The Quake (2018)
A sequel to The Wave, this Norwegian flick ups the ante. Kristian, our hero geologist from the first movie, predicts that a massive earthquake will hit Oslo. Guess what? He's right. Buildings collapse, dust clouds roll in, and it's another heart-pounding race against time to save his family. High-rise evacuations, crumbling infrastructure—this movie doesn't skimp on the suspense.
6. Everest (2015)
Based on the tragic 1996 Mount Everest disaster, this one is not for the acrophobic. Climbers from two expeditions face unfathomable challenges when a severe snowstorm hits. The movie doesn't just give you frostbite by proxy; it also immerses you in the climbers' agonizing decisions and the brutal, oxygen-thin environment.
5. Sanctum (2011)
Ever thought spelunking was a peaceful hobby? Think again. A team of cave divers gets trapped in a labyrinthine underwater cave system. As tropical storms rage above, rising water levels and diminishing supplies push them to the brink. Did we mention it's produced by James Cameron? The guy clearly knows a thing or two about underwater peril.
4. Tunnel (2016)
Stuck-in-a-tunnel movies are their own subgenre by now, but this South Korean flick takes the cake. A man is trapped in a collapsed tunnel with only two bottles of water, a birthday cake, and his cellphone. As rescue attempts repeatedly fail and the media circus ensues, it's a one-man show of survival and despair. Let's just say you'll think twice about taking the shortcut home next time.
3. The 33 (2015)
Remember the 2010 Chilean mining accident that trapped 33 miners underground for 69 days? This film digs deep (pun absolutely intended) into the harrowing ordeal. The miners ration food, struggle with heat and darkness, and try to keep morale up. Above ground, their families advocate for them, putting pressure on the company and the government.
2. Greenland (2020)
Move over, Armageddon. In this take on the comet-hitting-Earth scenario, Gerard Butler (yeah, him again) plays a structural engineer racing to get his family to safety as fragments of a comet decimate cities. The film dives into societal breakdown, as people loot, betray, and fight for limited spots in bunkers.
1. Aftershock (2012)
Eli Roth brings us this dark horse, set against the backdrop of the 2010 Chile earthquake. Tourists partying in underground clubs experience the worst kind of buzzkill—an 8.8-magnitude quake. As they navigate the city's ruins, they face aftershocks, tsunamis, and anarchy. It's a no-holds-barred kind of movie, taking you through the underbelly of disaster's social chaos.