So, in between The Passage, Year Zero, and now, low-budget high-buzz indie Monsters, is our pop culture really obsessed with American cataclysm or what? In The Passage, a virus gets loose and depopulates most of North America. Ditto in Year Zero. In Monsters, it's not so much vampires as it is very large creepy-crawlies, but the quarantine-and-everybody-dies concepts are otherwise pretty much the same:
The New American Wild
I kind of wonder if this has something to do with particularly American conceptions of frontier and Manifest Destiny. Having reached the coast and filled it up with people and development, do we need to depopulate the continent in order to feel like our main characters can explore, and discover things, and have adventures?