The Top Ten Movies Set in Abandoned Places

By: Sean L.

We love movies. Like…a lot. Comedies. Action. Drama. Horror. Well, it just so happens that most of the movies on this list happen to be horror. But it’s hard not be when your film takes place somewhere abandoned. There is always something creepy and unnerving going exploring, and these ten films capture it very well. They may not all be Academy Award winners, but if you enjoy urban exploration they’re a must see.

#10 – Flesh for the Inferno (2016)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4779826/

I’m not going to lie. I like this one because I’m in it (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4649390/). The budget is admittedly WAY lower than any of the other films on this list. But the fact that it was filmed exclusively in an actual abandoned location makes it very cool. The film follows your quintessential horror movie story line – a group of young people are tasked with cleaning up their local abandoned Catholic School, which just happens to be haunted by demon nuns. They are accidentally set loose upon our young heroes, and bloody chaos ensues. Flesh for the Inferno may not be a masterpiece, but when you look at the budget it was shot on, it is a fun little film.

Flesh

#9 – The Road (2009)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0898367/

Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy and partially filmed on a famously abandoned Pennsylvania highway, The Road is a really depressing movie. Like, super depressing. It’s not a bad movie, not by a long shot. It is just one you don’t ever really want to ever see again. Everything is just so damn bleak. The cause of the apocalypse is never given in the film, and neither are the names of our two main characters. They are on a long trek through the wasteland, seeing all sorts of horror along the way. The visuals are simply breathtaking, and the story is so damn real. It can be a bit unsettling.

The Road

#8 – Doomsday (2008)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0483607/

Some call it dreadful. Some call it underrated. I call it awesome. Doomsday is a fun throwback to the Mad Max series with a dash of 28 Days Later (yes, we’ll get to that). Following an outbreak of a flesh-eating disease in Scotland, the British government quarantines off the island and leaves all those left there to die. Some twenty years later, the virus appears again. This time in the streets of London. So a special forces team is sent into the apocalyptic wasteland to search for a cure to the disease. What they find is a ruined city run by two warring factions of feral survivors. Check it out.

Doom

#7 – Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1991245/

I’m not saying it’s good. I’m saying it’s fun to watch. From the makers of the vastly popular, yet arguably overrated, Paranormal Activity franchise comes Chernobyl Diaries. A group of young tourists sneak into the infamous Ukrainian city of Pripyiat, home to the Chernobyl Disaster. The city has been abandoned for years, and is highly radioactive. The group soon learns that they are, in fact, not alone. What ensues is a jarring mess including shaky camera work, a nonsensical plot, and some questionable acting from a certain former Disney star…we’re looking at you, Jesse. But in the end it is a fun little jump-scare film with some wonderful set design that really captures the feel of Chernobyl.

Chernobyl

#6 – Ghost Ship (2002)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0288477/

Remember the early 2000’s when all kinds of bigger budget horror movies actually got made? Pepperidge Farm remembers. There were a lot of little gems out there that nobody really remembers anymore. Ghost Ship, however, has always been one of our favorites. From the makers of Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Ship follows an Alaskan salvage crew that stumbles upon an abandoned ocean liner that has been missing since the 1960’s. They soon discover that the ship is haunted, and the ghosts aboard just might not let them leave. Say what you will about the cheesy ghost plot, the art department and set design of this film make it a must watch. Imagine what it could have been with the right director…

GhostShip2002_RipsB_0023_Layer 12

#5 – The Abandoned (2006)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475937/

The title says it all. While it may not be the most creative, it certainly is effective. This loveable little indie horror film flew under the radar when it was given a limited theatrical release. An adopted Russian woman returns to the home she never knew after receiving a mysterious phone call. Upon arriving at the now deserted farm where her family once lived, Marie meets her twin brother Nicolai for the first time, whom also received a mysterious phone call beckoning him back to the farm. All kinds of mysterious and spooky things happen from there. Dark and foreboding, The Abandoned is both bizarre and frightening. The supernatural horror element of it is perfectly done.

The Abandoned

#4 – House on Haunted Hill (1999)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185371/

Horror remakes are inevitable, much like horror sequels. Most are painfully forgettable. But this one was actually pretty good. House on Haunted Hill was a much needed update to Vincent Price’s black and white horror classic of the same name. While this film may not be as strong narrative wise, it certainly has some great scares and downright creepy moments. Through an unsettling chain of events, an eccentric billionaire offers a group of strangers one million dollars each to spend the night inside of an abandoned insane asylum. The film is a bit on the campy side, but it does the original justice while giving a fresh spin on the material.

House Hill

#3 – I Am Legend (2007)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0480249/

The alternate ending was better. Seriously. Watch it. It makes a mediocre movie into a memorable one. With that out of the way, here is a good movie that could’ve been great. I Am Legend follows Dr. Robert Neville, the last man on Earth, and his awesome companion Sam the German Shepard. They are survivors living in the now abandoned city of New York. But they are not alone. While the movie may have fallen a bit flat, it does an excellent job of showing life after people. Whether it be the the decimated streets of NYC, or the family of lions that compete against Robert for food. The set work is great, but the script could’ve used some work.

iamlegend06

#2 – 28 Weeks Later (2007)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0463854/

The much darker and grittier sequel to the widely successful 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks falls just a bit short of living up to its predecessor. Many fans complained that it was too Hollywoodized for their taste, others were just unhappy we didn’t get our original characters back. 28 Weeks Later takes place, well, 28 weeks after the Rage Virus decimated all of England. With the virus seemingly eliminated, people begin to move back into the deserted city of London. What they don’t know is that the virus has simply been dormant, and soon all Hell breaks loose. What follows is a gritty and gripping thrill ride through an abandoned city. Will we ever get another sequel? We certainly hope so.

28 weeks

#1 – 28 Days Later (2001)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289043/

Of course it was this. What else would it have been? Arguably considered one of the best and most revolutionary horror films of our generation, 28 Days Later tells us the story of what happens 28 days after the end of the world. After being set loose from a lab, the Rage Virus has caused total destruction. And our hero Jim wakes up from a coma 28 Days Later to find his entire country abandoned. Taking place in England (they really just can’t catch a break on this list) we follow a loveable group of survivors trying to survive an apocalyptic plague. Featuring deserted city streets, decaying houses, a darkened London skyline, and an abandoned farm, the film is an absolute triumph. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for?

28 Days

*All stills belong to their respective copyright owners.

 

 

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