Surviving Chaos: Top Natural Disaster Movies Streaming on Netflix

natural disaster movies on netflix

If you’re like me and love a good natural disaster movie, you know how tricky it can be to find them on Netflix. I spent hours digging through Netflix’s vast library and even turned to Google for help, but it felt almost impossible to find exactly what I was looking for. It’s a bit disappointing, especially since you won’t even find classics like “Twister” on UK Netflix.

But don’t worry, I’ve done the hard work for you. After a lot of searching, I’ve put together a list of what I found. From sci-fi adventures to eye-opening documentaries, I’ve checked their IMDb scores to see if they’re really worth your time. Some films were hits, and others were misses, but all of them bring something unique to the table.

So, check out these titles, and let’s start a conversation. Which ones did you love? Which ones fell flat? Drop your thoughts in the comments—I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Discover These Natural Disaster Films

Here’s a snapshot of the natural disaster movies I’ve found so far on Netflix. Each title comes with its IMDb rating, so you can get a quick idea of what other viewers thought about it. I’ll keep updating this list as I discover more films, so you might want to bookmark this page!

For more details about each of these films, scroll down to find out what kind of natural disasters they depict, along with some story highlights and reviews from others.

Movie TitleIMDb RatingRotten Tomatoes
The Impossible (2012)7.584%
THE VOLCANO: Rescue from Whakaari7.382%
Don’t Look Up (2021)7.278%
The Wandering Earth (2019)5.951%
2012 (2009)5.847%
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)5.541%
The 5th Wave (2016)5.238%
How It Ends (2018)5.117%
Awake (2021)4.926%
IO – Last on Earth (2019)4.819%

The Impossible (2012)

What It’s About: “The Impossible” tells the true story of a family caught in the chaos of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. It’s a gripping tale of their fight to survive and find each other amidst the devastation.

Why Watch It: This film is a rollercoaster of emotions, powered by standout performances from Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and a remarkable early appearance by Tom Holland. It’s not just the story of survival; it’s about the incredible resilience and courage people can muster in the face of natural disasters. The film’s intense scenes are made even more impactful because they used real water effects instead of CGI, making everything feel very real and immediate.

Highlights from User Reviews: Many viewers have found “The Impossible” to be an intense, emotional experience that stays with them long after the credits roll. Naomi Watts, in particular, has been praised for her compelling performance.

While some critics felt the film focused too much on the tourists’ experience, the personal angle helped many viewers connect deeply with the story. The film’s realistic portrayal of the tsunami and its aftermath is both terrifying and mesmerizing.

Overall, “The Impossible” is a beautifully crafted film that brings a human perspective to a colossal tragedy. It’s a touching reminder of both the vulnerability and the indomitable spirit of humans.

THE VOLCANO: Rescue from Whakaari

What It’s About: This gripping documentary takes you into the heart of a disaster that unfolded when New Zealand’s Whakaari, also known as White Island, erupted in 2019. It showcases the terrifying moments of the eruption and the brave rescue efforts that followed.

Why Watch It: If you’re fascinated by the raw power of nature and heroic human efforts in the face of danger, this documentary is a must-watch. It provides a minute-by-minute account of the tragedy, featuring firsthand stories from survivors and rescuers. The film is a poignant reminder of the risks involved in visiting such volatile natural sites and the unpredictable power of nature.

Highlights from User Reviews: Viewers have praised the documentary for its intense and honest portrayal of the tragic event. The film has been noted for its emotional impact, showcasing the bravery of individuals like helicopter pilots who risked their lives to save others.

The real-life footage included in the documentary adds to the authenticity and gravity of the situation, making it a compelling watch. Reviewers have highlighted the mixed feelings of awe and horror as they watched the events unfold, appreciating the film’s focus on human stories of survival and bravery.

This documentary not only captures the dramatic scenes of the eruption but also delves into the human spirit, resilience, and the critical discussions about safety measures in such high-risk tourist destinations.

Don’t Look Up (2021)

What It’s About: “Don’t Look Up” is a dark comedy that revolves around two low-level astronomers who discover a comet on a direct collision course with Earth. As they try to warn the world of the impending apocalypse, they face a media and public more interested in sensationalism and political maneuvering than the stark reality of their scientific discovery.

Why Watch It: This film is a satirical take on society’s often lackadaisical response to global threats, highlighting the absurdity of politics and media in times of crisis. With a stellar cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and Meryl Streep, the movie combines stellar performances with sharp, impactful humor. It’s both an entertaining and a thought-provoking watch that critiques contemporary societal issues.

Highlights from User Reviews: Critics and audiences have noted the film’s effective blend of comedy and drama, managing to be both funny and unsettlingly accurate in its depiction of societal indifference to significant threats. The performances, especially by DiCaprio and Lawrence, are highly praised for their depth and timing.

However, some viewers found the film’s approach a bit too on-the-nose, with its satire sometimes feeling heavy-handed. Despite these critiques, the film’s engaging narrative and critical message about environmental awareness and the consequences of ignorance make it a notable watch.

Overall, “Don’t Look Up” serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of complacency and the often surreal handling of serious issues in the media and political spheres. Its mix of humor and dire warnings resonates with many viewers, making it a compelling addition to the genre of satirical disaster films.

The Wandering Earth (2019)

What It’s About: “The Wandering Earth” is a Chinese science fiction film set in a future where the sun is expanding and threatening to destroy Earth. Humanity bands together to move the planet out of its orbit to escape annihilation, using giant thrusters. This ambitious plan leads to a thrilling and perilous journey through space.

Why Watch It: This film is celebrated for its ground-breaking visual effects and its bold, inventive storytelling. It combines elements of classic disaster movies with a unique, international perspective, showing a united human effort rather than focusing on any single hero or nation. The movie is filled with dramatic landscapes of a dystopian Earth and showcases intricate details in its depiction of futuristic technology.

Highlights from User Reviews: Critics have praised “The Wandering Earth” for its visual spectacle and its fresh take on the science fiction genre. The film’s approach to an ensemble cast and its focus on collective heroism offer a different narrative from typical Western sci-fi films. It’s noted for its emotional depth and the way it handles complex scientific ideas, making them accessible and engaging for viewers.

Despite some criticism regarding its pacing and character development, the movie has been a significant hit, especially noted for its ambition and the scale of its production.

This film stands out not only for its stunning visual effects but also for its portrayal of a united human race facing a global threat, making it a compelling watch for fans of science fiction and disaster cinema.

2012 (2009)

What It’s About: “2012” is an action-packed disaster movie directed by Roland Emmerich, renowned for his large-scale disaster films. The story revolves around a series of catastrophic natural disasters caused by a sudden instability in the Earth’s crust.

The film follows a diverse group of characters as they navigate the ensuing chaos and seek safety. Key characters include a struggling science-fiction writer, Jackson Curtis, and a geologist, Adrian Helmsley, who plays a pivotal role in the government’s response to the crisis.

Why Watch It:
If you enjoy edge-of-your-seat disaster films with spectacular special effects, “2012” delivers an entertaining spectacle of destruction. From iconic landmarks crumbling to massive tidal waves, the film features relentless action and stunning visuals that illustrate the apocalypse. It’s a thrill ride that keeps the adrenaline pumping from start to finish, depicting the end of the world with grandiose flair.

Highlights from User Reviews:
Critics and audiences have had mixed feelings about “2012.” While the special effects were widely praised for their scale and detail, some viewers found the plot and character development lacking depth and realism.

Despite this, the film was a box office success, known for its breath-taking destruction scenes and fast-paced narrative. It provides a dramatic portrayal of human resilience and determination in the face of unimaginable disasters, making it a memorable entry in the disaster genre.

“2012” is perfect for viewers who appreciate visually impressive cinema and can enjoy a movie for its action and spectacle, even if the storyline doesn’t delve deeply into complex themes or character arcs​ (Roger Ebert)​​ (IMDb)​​ (Wikipedia).

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

What It’s About: “The Cloverfield Paradox” centers on a group of astronauts aboard a space station who conduct an experiment with a particle accelerator. This experiment goes wrong, tearing open the fabric of space and time. As a result, they find themselves in an alternate dimension, and back on Earth, it triggers chaotic and catastrophic events including monstrous creatures and widespread destruction.

Why Watch It: If you’re into sci-fi thrillers that blend elements of space travel with supernatural disasters on Earth, this film should capture your interest. It’s part of the broader Cloverfield universe, which adds layers of intrigue and connection to other events in the series.

Highlights from User Reviews: Opinions on this movie are divided. Some viewers appreciate the film’s ambitious scope and its connections to the Cloverfield storyline, enjoying the mix of sci-fi and disaster elements. Others felt the film was muddled and lacked a coherent plot.

Despite these criticisms, it offers excitement and impressive special effects, making it a potentially fun watch for those who enjoy complex, interlinked narratives.

“The Cloverfield Paradox” provides an intense blend of space-based sci-fi and Earth-bound chaos, ideal for those who like their thrillers with a hefty dose of otherworldly suspense (Roger Ebert)​​.

The 5th Wave (2016)

What It’s About: “The 5th Wave” is a sci-fi thriller where Earth faces a series of alien attacks. The first few waves involve electromagnetic pulses, earthquakes, tsunamis, and a deadly virus. The film follows Cassie Sullivan as she tries to save her younger brother amid escalating alien assaults that decimate the planet.

Why Watch It: This film is perfect for those who enjoy young adult science fiction with intense survival scenarios. It combines natural disaster elements with an alien invasion storyline, providing both action and emotional depth.

Highlights from User Reviews: Viewers have mixed feelings; some appreciate the suspense and the protagonist’s gritty determination, while others find the plot somewhat predictable. The film is noted for its portrayal of a series of increasingly deadly attacks that leave Earth in ruins, making it a thrilling watch for fans of disaster and survival films.

“The 5th Wave” offers a dramatic take on the end of the world through the lens of a young heroine fighting against an alien threat layered with catastrophic natural disasters.

How It Ends (2018)

What It’s About: “How It Ends” revolves around a mysterious apocalyptic scenario that isn’t caused by traditional natural disasters but includes chaotic elements similar to them, such as massive power outages and societal breakdowns. The film follows Will and his father-in-law on a desperate road trip from Chicago to Seattle, aiming to rescue Will’s pregnant fiancée as society collapses around them.

Why Watch It: This movie is a good pick for those who like non-traditional apocalyptic thrillers. It combines elements of suspense with the impact of catastrophic events that resemble natural disasters in their suddenness and severity, albeit without a clear explanation of their cause.

Highlights from User Reviews: The film has received mixed reactions for its portrayal of a mysterious apocalypse. Critics and audiences noted the strong performances, especially by Forest Whitaker, but many were disappointed by the film’s vague narrative and abrupt ending. The journey through a crumbling America adds a layer of urgency and realism, depicting how quickly modern conveniences can fail and society can turn to chaos​ (IMDb)​.

Though not a traditional natural disaster film, “How It Ends” captures the destabilizing effects of widespread disasters on a personal and societal level, making it a compelling, if somewhat incomplete, exploration of human resilience and desperation​ (Roger Ebert)​​ (IMDb)​.

Awake (2021)

What It’s About: “Awake” is a science fiction thriller that unfolds in a world where a mysterious global event has wiped out all electronics and eliminated humanity’s ability to sleep, plunging society into chaos.

The story follows Jill, a former soldier, as she discovers that her daughter, Matilda, might be the key to a cure because she can still sleep. As the world spirals into madness, Jill must protect her daughter and find a way to save humanity.

Why Watch It:
This movie is great for those who enjoy intense, apocalyptic scenarios with a twist. It blends action, suspense, and a bit of horror as it explores how society breaks down when sleep, an essential human function, is suddenly taken away. It’s a race against time that tests the limits of human endurance and the strength of maternal bonds.

Highlights from User Reviews: While “Awake” received mixed reviews, it was particularly noted for its intriguing premise and Gina Rodriguez’s strong performance as the desperate mother trying to save her daughter and, potentially, the world.

However, some viewers felt the film could have delved deeper into its characters and the implications of its premise. The film’s portrayal of a sleep-deprived society descending into chaos provides a backdrop for action-packed sequences and moral dilemmas, making it a compelling watch for fans of survival dramas​ (Roger Ebert)​​ (Wikipedia)​.

“Awake” explores a unique kind of catastrophe that isn’t a traditional natural disaster but shares similar themes of sudden societal collapse and survival against the odds.

IO – Last on Earth (2019)

What It’s About: “IO – Last on Earth” is set in a post-apocalyptic future where Earth’s atmosphere has become toxic, leading most of humanity to flee to a space station near Io, one of Jupiter’s moons.

The film follows Sam Walden, a young scientist and one of the last people on Earth, who is researching ways to adapt and survive rather than abandoning her planet. As she races against time to find a solution, she encounters Micah, another survivor determined to catch the last shuttle off the planet.

Why Watch It: This film is intriguing for those interested in a blend of science fiction and drama that explores themes of survival, human connection, and environmental catastrophe. It presents a unique look at the challenges of trying to sustain life on a dying planet and the moral dilemmas associated with leaving Earth behind.

Highlights from User Reviews: The film has been noted for its thought-provoking premise and the performance of Margaret Qualley as Sam. Viewers who appreciate a slower-paced, meditative approach to sci-fi might find it appealing, despite some criticisms regarding its pacing and some character dynamics. The relationship between Sam and Micah, portrayed by Anthony Mackie, drives much of the narrative, providing a mix of tension and philosophical reflection on humanity’s future.

“IO – Last on Earth” tackles big environmental and existential issues, making it a fit for viewers who enjoy films that combine speculative science fiction with personal drama and a focus on human resilience​ (Wikipedia)​​ (Wherever I Look)​.

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