The Poseidon Adventure (1972, dir. Ronald Neame)

Survivors of an upturned cruise liner race against time to climb to the bottom of the ship. Earnest and clunky, this early entrant into the 70s disaster movie cycle is nevertheless impressive in its technical credits and its commitment of approach, and in its blending of veteran, current, and emerging onscreen talent. Based on a Paul Gallico novel: a sequel and other adaptations followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021, dir. Taylor Sheridan)

A compromised smoke jumper finds herself protecting a boy against a pair of hired assassins. Competent if plasticky thriller with action elements. Strong casting and some badassery helps, but the thin story and a reliance on iffy CG and greenscreen for production value are hindrances.

Here’s the trailer.

The Midnight Sky (2020, dir. George Clooney)

A dying physicist attempts to get a message to a returning spacecraft. Lop-sided though well-meant SF drama, an adaptation of Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. The story’s wafer-thin, so has to resort to tickbox genre jeopardy done better elsewhere. A shame, as there’s a fine, quiet drama here somewhere.

Here’s the trailer.

Marooned [AKA Space Travelers] (1969, dir. John Sturges)

A US space vehicle suffers a failure prior to re-entry: NASA works on solving the problem. Stolid SF drama trying to present a realistic version of an Apollo-ish space race-era disaster possibility. Slow and serious, and not especially dramatic as a consequence.

Here’s the trailer.

Death Ship (1980, dir. Alvin Rakoff)

A cruise vessel sinks after a collision: survivors find shelter on a ship that may be haunted by Nazi ghosts. Clumsy, dull, and poorly-directed horror/disaster hybrid. A couple of strong ideas lurk, but this is lumpen stuff that doesn’t have much in the way of focus or story.

Here’s the trailer.

Skyfire (2019, dir. Simon West)

A luxury resort is threatened by an active volcano. Updating When Time Ran Out via bits of the Jurassic Park franchise, this hubris-tastic disaster movie is a gleeful treat, embracing the all character tropes and situations you’d expect. It’s something of a masterclass in pacing and jeopardy: huge amounts of unpretentious fun. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Pompeii (2014, dir. Paul WS Anderson)

A vengeful gladiator and a young noblewoman find love against the odds in 1st century Italy. Cheesy disaster-themed tosh (though never quite camp, Kiefer Sutherland’s panto villain aside), mashing up Titanic and Gladiator to cliched CG-tastic effect. A medium-budget B-movie, and unashamedly so.

Here’s the trailer.

Underwater (2020, dir. William Ewbank)

A deep underwater drilling platform is compromised; survivors try to escape. Derivative but effective SF/horror piece, taking Alien and sequels as its jumping-off point. Well-designed, with some solid jumpscares and a sturdy lead performance. Pleasingly efficient throughout, if by no means a game-changer.

Sanctum [AKA Sanctum 3D] (2011, dir. Alister Grierson)

A driven father and his resentful son lead a team into an uncharted cave system. Good-looking and well-made but clunkily-scripted disaster drama, suggested by real events. Plot melodramatics and personality clashes are entirely as you’d expect, though the underwater sequences and cave cinematography are convincing throughout.

Kursk: The Last Mission [AKA The Command; AKA Kursk] (2018, dir. Thomas Vinterberg)

A sombre retelling of the 2000 Kursk submarine disaster. Okay drama-documentary that takes some liberties with the actual timeline, and which struggles to make the inevitable dramatic, despite good performances. The usual points made.