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3 Movies Like ‘The Hunger Games’

I volunteer as tribute to write this article.

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

I volunteer as tribute to write this article.

Ah yes, The Hunger Games, the YA novel series that came out of fucking nowhere and took over the entire world for a minute there. It sold like a bajillion books, made like a bajllion dollars, and then launched Jennifer Lawrence’s whole acting career where she made a bajillion other movies. It also inspired countless bajillions of fan fiction works that I am sure are some of the steamiest on the internet. Hell, even Beanie Babies got involved in the Hunger Games craze. These movies were huge when they came out, and like the Harry Potter movies before them, they were pretty fucking good! I mean it’s just a bunch of hot people trying to kill each other. It couldn’t possibly fail. But let’s say you’re like me and you watched all of them and now you’re sad and want more violence. Well if I were me, which I am, I would say to me that I should give these other movies a try. I would then tell myself that I cannot promise hot people in all of these movies, I will say that these movies pass the “but are they killing each other?” test with flying colors.

Battle Royale

(image credit: Toei company)

You could argue that The Hunger Games takes a lot of inspiration from this concept! Maybe a little too much inspiration if you catch my drift. Battle Royale is a Japanese film about a group of kids even younger than the Hunger Games cast who have to fight for the death! So it’s even more disturbing! The film takes place in the near future, where Japan has suffered from a devastating economic recession. To combat the recession (and the rise of juvenile delinquency that it caused) the government passes the “BR ACT.” Oh boy! I wonder what “BR” stands for! In the meantime, a middle school student named Shuya is trying to cope with his father’s recent suicide, while his best friend Yoshitoki decides to get himself in trouble by attacking their middle school teacher!

Apparently, the government had had enough Shuya’s class’s bullshit, because the kids are gassed and taken to a deserted island. They are awoken by JSDF soldiers and told that they are to be participants in this year’s “Battle Royale.” The rules are simple: the students will be given three days to fight to the death until only one is left standing (sound familiar?). Any student who does not cooperate or steps out of the combat zone will be killed via the explosive collar around their neck (again, familiar?). The students are given rations, a map, supplies, and a random weapon. And just to make sure that every student gets the picture, the JSDF soldiers kill two students for disobedience, one of them being Shuya’s best friend Yoshitoki.

It should be noted, this movie is way violent and way fucked up. It is not a movie that you show to your kid sibling because they “woved Hunger Games.” The violence in Hunger Games is nothing compared this movie. This movie is, however, really fucking good.

The Maze Runner

(image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Adolescents! Dystopian societies! Mazes! People running through them! This movie has all of it. It’s kind of like Hunger Games and Battle Royal, but with even less explanation. A teenage boy wakes up in the middle of an elevator with no idea who or where he is, and steps out into a grassy, picturesque little place called “The Glade.” He is met by other teenage boys, who tell him that they too have no idea why they’re there. The “Gladers” tell him that the The Glade is surrounded by high stone walls, and that the only way out is through an ominous looking maze at the other end of a field. The kids have a functioning society inside in The Glade, and the most physically skilled are selected to be “runners,” whose job it is to explore the maze in order to find a way out. However, there are all sorts of nasty things inside the maze, including half-organic/half-technological monstrosities called “Grievers” that come out at night, and have claimed the life of many a “runner.” Usually, the door to the maze closes before nightfall, but with the arrival of Thomas (the boy from the elevator shaft) the maze eventually begins to stay open through the night, allowing the Grievers to come in and kill some of the Gladers. Thomas and the rest of the crew realize that they have no choice but to find a way through the maze, and see what awaits them on the other side.

If you like movies about kids dying, which apparently you do because you’re reading this list, then you’ll just love The Maze Runner, you sick fuck. It’s not as absolutely graphic as something like Battle Royale, but it’s still pretty messed up. And if you like the movie, there’s a whole series of books that you can read as well! You fucked up lucky dog, you!


Chris Evans looks distraught on the train in 'Snowpiercer'
(image: CJ entertainment)

Okay, so this movie was definitely not at one time a YA novel series. No indeed, this movie was indeed based on a novel, but that novel is for adults. It was directed by Bong Joon-ho, the guy who made Parasite and The Host, so you just know it’s gonna be good.

Snowpiercer is so dystopian that it doesn’t even take place in a regular society. It take place on a train. Let me explain. The year is 2031, 17 years after humanity tried to stop global warming by using stratospheric aerosol injection and accidentally created a second ice age. The last remnants of the human race are living in a train called The Snowpiercer that continually circumnavigates the globe. Humanity is segregated on the train, with the rich elite living lavishly at the front while the poor are crammed together in squalor in the back. The poor are policed by armed guards who ensure that they do not try to reach the front of the train. That’s the plan anyway. Until one day a dude named Curtis Everett decides to stage a revolt after learning that the guard’s guns don’t actually have any ammunition (nowhere to make bullets in a blizzard). The poor passengers begin to fight their way up the train in order to “have” what they’ve been denied as “have-nots.” But as they make their way towards the front of the car, the enemies that they face get tougher. A lot tougher. This movie is a totally thrilling watch, and is probably the best one on this list. You may not like it, because it’s mostly fully grown adults getting killed, but maybe this will be a good opportunity for you to distance yourself from your love of violence towards teens and adolescents. I really think you should.

(Featured image credit: Lionsgate)

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Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.