Netflix Sci-Fi Road Trip Tours The Apocalypse

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

  • How It Ends (2018) is a road trip set during the apocalypse.
  • How It Ends stars Theo James and Forrest Whitaker.
  • A dark look at humanity, How It Ends is gripping and intense.
  • How It Ends is now streaming on Netflix.

It’s an election year, and you know what that means: it’s the perfect time to tune out of the news and watch the kind of technologically dystopian film that best reflects our current society. If you’re in the mood for a sci-fi film with a crunchy plot that leaves you worrying about the future of humanity, we’ve got just the thing. How It Ends is now streaming on Netflix, and this apocalyptic road trip may elbow out The Road as our favorite end-of-the-world film.

How It Ends Keeps It Simple

What is How It Ends about, exactly? Relatively speaking, the plot is very straightforward: a boyfriend gets separated from his pregnant girlfriend, and he is doing his best to cross thousands of miles to reunite with her. The only problem is that those miles have now become an apocalyptic wasteland thanks to a major earthquake that effectively plunged the United States into chaos.

A Great Cast

Part of what makes How It Ends so compelling to watch is the killer cast: the erstwhile boyfriend is played by Theo James, a genre veteran of the Divergent and Underworld series who earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for his performance in The White Lotus. His girlfriend is played by Kat Graham, who is best known for her performance on The Vampire Diaries. Her father is played by screen legend Forest Whitaker, and he provides an excellent gravitas that helps to ground the entire film.

Similar To The Road

One of the reasons we loved How It Ends so much is that it reminded us of the cinematic adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Typically, apocalyptic films follow the blockbuster model where our protagonist is inexplicably the only one who can save the world. But How It Ends, like The Road before it, mines much of its drama from human relationships and the practical difficulties of getting from Point A to Point B after the world as we know it effectively ends.

Critics Complained About The Mystery

Unfortunately, How It Ends was one of those films that critics didn’t quite know what to do with when it first came out. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie currently has a critical rating of 17 percent, with the critics mostly complaining that we don’t get enough answers to the big mysteries around what led to the apocalypse in the first place. Everyone’s mileage may vary, but we prefer a bit of mystery in such films because it heightens the implied threat that when the end of the world comes, most of us probably won’t know exactly what caused it.

A Realistic Apocalypse

We’re confident that once you check How It Ends on Netflix, you’ll share our enthusiasm for this apocalyptic road trip. Watching these kinds of stories can help you take notes on how you might survive a similar apocalypse happening in the real world, and that’s always more valuable than planning how you’ll survive a zombie uprising. Although if we end up holing up in a mall (Dawn of the Dead-style) during the real apocalypse, don’t judge us: for us, “how it ends” is going to be with a Double Doozie cookie in each hand, and we’ll save a few for Forest Whitaker if he wants to join us.