While it’s by no means uncommon to find films attempting to predict the future, you may be surprised to learn just how many have specifically targeted 2019 with their oracle intent.
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is just one of this collection but, as we’re about to show, is not the only cinematic offering of the last century to suggest that 2019 was going to be a very bleak time for humanity.
If you thought Brexit, another year of Trump, the gradual collapse of the high street and increasing pressures of global warming were bad, this list of 12 things films told us to expect in 2019 might just see you re-evaluate the situation.
1. 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983)
New York regularly gets a rough time of it on the big screen but Sergio Martino really went to town in 1983. This Italian sci-fi finds the big apple under the control of savages, after a nuclear war has left the world reduced to a garbage-strewn, radioactive desert. There is only one fertile woman left on the planet and fire-throwing guns have become a reality.
2. Akira (1988)
On the other side of the globe, Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira was no more optimistic. This animated 2019 finds Tokyo renamed Neo-Tokyo, in the wake of World War Three, and overwhelmed by corruption and biker gangs. Holographic projection is more prevalent in this dystopian existence too.
3. Blade Runner (1982)
As beloved as it is, Blade Runner couldn’t be called an accurate projection of the future by any means. Hover cars, interactive, holographic advertisements and – oh yes – androids never really transpired as the film, and book before it, predicted. We’re not optimistic about Blade Runner: 2049‘s expectations either.
4. Daybreakers (2009)
In this decade-old Spierig brothers’ film, a plague has transformed the vast majority of Earth’s population into vampires. A blood shortage has seen humanity’s numbers dwindle, with the few unaffected being harvested in grim laboratory farms.
5. Geostorm (2017)
This one’s a riot! Released only two years ago, Dean Devlin’s barmy prediction was that planet Earth would now be totally consumed by catastrophic natural disasters. Fear not, 2019 scientists would have found a way to combat it with climate-controlling satellites.
6. Heatseeker (1995)
There really aren’t enough science-fiction martial arts films out there. In this one, from Albert Pyun, the Sianon Corporation has turned kick boxers into cyborgs for the purpose of brutal entertainment. Nope, still no cyborgs in real-life 2019.
7. The Island (2005)
A pre-Marvel Scarlet Johansson starred in this dystopian thriller from Michael Bay. Here, the residents of an isolated community have become convinced that Earth has almost entirely become contaminated. As it transpires, its residents are actually unwilling clone organ donors. Also, MSN is still huge here.
8. Mock Up on Mu (2008)
Craig Baldwin’s ambitious collage film expected humans to have populated the moon by 2019 – or, rather, have set up a Scientology theme park and rehab clinic up there. Spoiler: we haven’t.
9. The New Barbarians (1983)
It says a lot about the eighties mindset that Enzo G. Castellari’s film was yet another to predict that 2019 would be a post-apocalyptic world thanks to nuclear warfare. Here, a gang called the Templars are attempting to purge the earth.
10. The Running Man (1987)
Loosely based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this Arnold Schwarzenegger classic expected an economic collapse to have befallen the world by 2019. They weren’t far off – given the 2009 slump – but America did manage to avoid a decent into totalitarianism. Likewise, though the likes of Love Island come close, television has yet to produce a reality game show so grim as to be based around survival from death.
11. Steel Frontier (1995)
The world has fallen into a radioactive wasteland in this sci-fi thriller from Jacobsen Hart and Paul G. Volk. Sense a theme? Somehow, in the process, Earth has regressed to the era of the Wild West, give or take the odd armoured vehicle.
12. Reign of Fire (2002)
Perhaps the most bonkers of the list is the last. As Rob Bowman’s film has it, a dragon was inadvertently awoken by London underground workers in the year 2000. Ten years later, humanity responds to the fiery threat with a nuclear war. By 2019, we’re almost extinct. It’s a cheerful popcorn flick.