All animals are gone, all plant life is dead, the sky is progressively getting grayer, the world....colder. There is no more food. Gangs and loners are all that's left. The Man and his Boy are walking to the coast.
I love the post-apocalyptic genre - ever since reading The Stand by Stephen King I have developed a deep appreciation for depictions of human life after a great disaster. This is not due to some great attraction to epic, gray landscapes or amazing special effects as displayed in such movies as Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and the Book of Eli. Those things are nice, but often distract from the fascinating sociological, psychological shifts that (would) occur with the total abdication of modern society and near obliteration of the human race.
"The Road" nails these shifts in society by telling the unbelievably, brutal story of a father and son and their fight to survive in a world that is all-but-dead. Personally, I was both entertained and profoundly shaken by both the gut-wrenching moral dilemmas and exceptional acting.
Post-apocalyptic scenarios such as those portrayed in "The Road" can effectively display the baseness of humanity. Horror movies and books are usually only scary, because they make you jump or squirm, what's way more frightening (and I believe in many ways edifying) than jumping in your chair as some knife-wielding masked man makes quick work of his stupid victims - is being shown THIS IS WHAT HUMANITY REALLY LOOKS LIKE WITHOUT RESTRAINT. The horrifying part in all this is that effective fiction, like "The Road" and "The Stand," puts you directly in the character's scenario and make you ask the question - "what would I do?"