Absolute Disaster! A Very British Guide to the Cinematic Apocalypse


Loved it! 😍

Extrapolating the events and data from various disaster movies over the last few decades, Barrow gives a realistic prognosis for the UK.

Clearly the author of Absolute Disaster! A Very British Guide to the Cinematic Apocalypse and I have very similar viewing tastes because I'd seen all the movies used for the disaster scenarios. Usually multiple times at that. Chunking the book up into sections based on the disaster scenario and then on movies within that category, Tom Barrow summarizes the plot and events then applies it to a timeline and British geography. And while the sequence of events applied to a real-world situation and the side-by-side tips on how to survive were fascinating, it is the commentary in between that made this book for me.

It could be that our similarities run deeper than our viewing catalog, but there were numerous times that I cracked up due to Barrow's unique description of movies I'd already seen so many times. The commentary on cinematic choices in general was also very enjoyable, particularly when describing how often studios in the past would send competing movies with almost the same premise to the box office in the same year. Not that it's only something they used to do in the 90s (looking at you Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down).

On the surface, Absolute Disaster! might seem like a silly idea, but the approach used does actually take itself seriously. There was clearly a copious amount of research done to not only select the movies used for the comparisons, but to make the real-world projections as accurate as possible. And though a lot might have been lost on me otherwise due to not being from the UK, the maps giving a visual guide to the disasters offered a very welcome point of reference.

In fact, the analysis and author's take on each scenario was so well done and fascinating that it leads to one of the only complaints I had about the book. There wasn't enough of it! For each of the scenarios, the summary portion of the movie and the analysis portion were about even in terms of length. In some cases, the summary may actually have been longer. I'm not necessarily saying the summaries should have been cut, but I would have liked to see the analyses expanded on further. The only other negative with the title is that one more proofread may have been needed. There are quite a few missing words or mistaken homophones.

Despite the title, Absolute Disaster! is anything but one. If you love the cinema, especially movies where the world is crashing down around the main characters, you would very much enjoy this book. You might even learn something, or decide to move to a place with a higher survival outlook.

Reviewed by

Leaving, but thank you to all the authors! I read some amazing things while here.


"Absolute Disaster! A Very British Guide to the Cinematic Apocalypse" is an irreverent and funny look at life beyond the silver screen and examines what could happen across the UK if the country were embroiled in some of cinema’s most elaborate plot-lines.

It basically takes a uniquely British perspective and expands on some the theories, logic and reasoning behind some of celluloid's most destructive blockbusters.

What if we faced the absolute worst of the worst? Could we survive? Or would we all need to buy extra toilet rolls and home contents insurance?

This book will hopefully find out.

It’s the ultimate love letter to all those big, dumb special effects blockbusters from the 90s and 00s that we love so dear.

In-depth examinations of the following films include: Independence Day, Deep Impact, 28 Days Later, Waterworld + more.

About the author

I’m a first time author from Northwich, Cheshire, England. view profile

Published on December 20, 2021

40000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Entertainment

Reviewed by