Directed by Robert Zemeckis
A classic tale of a modern man forced to improvise, adapt and overcome. Cast Away is an incredible story that answers the age-old question of “if you were stranded on a deserted island, alone, how would you survive?” Tom Hanks plays the part of Chuck Noland, a Federal Express executive obsessed with punctuality. Time stands still for quite a while in Chuck’s world and he is forced to fend for himself to find food, clothes, and shelter.
Cast Away does a great job of displaying what it takes to survive alone. Positive mental attitude, acknowledgement of accomplishments and dogged persistence.
Directed by Stephen Fingleton
Definitely the newest and possibly the darkest survival movie to date, The Survivalist is an award-winning independent film that is as raw as it is refined. Martin McCann plays the role of a hermit, living in a shack in the woods after the fall of civilization. A mother and a daughter stumble upon his dwelling and the three end up forming a family of sorts out of sheer necessity. The Survivalist pulls no punches when it comes to its portrayal of the post-apocalyptic world. Bullet wounds are cauterized without anesthetic, human bodies are composted to fertilize crops, maggots are used to clean infections, and marauders lurk in the surrounding woods. If you ‘re looking to immerse yourself in a bleak and viscerally real depiction of what survival after SHTF would look like, this is the flick to pick. It is not for the squeamish.
Directed by Joe Carnahan
Based off the short story “Ghost Walker,” written my Ian Mackenzie Jeffers, The Grey is a movie that features an extreme survival situation after a plane crash in Alaska. Main character, John Ottway (played by Liam Neeson) is a predator-control specialist whose day job consists of shooting wolves that threaten to attack oil-drilling teams. While on a flight home, his plane crashes and Ottway finds himself the de facto leader of a small group of survivors, trying to make their way to safety. Fighting to survive the elements, lack of food and miserably cold weather conditions, the group finds itself hunted by an aggressive and hungry pack of Grey wolves. The Grey, as relentless and violent as it is, presents a worst-case scenario that most survivalists healthily respect and fear.
Directed by Joe Wright
Hanna opens with the film’s heroine, a 15-year-old girl, bowhunting a reindeer in the snowy wilderness of northern Finland. The scene is epic, and sets the tone for what the movie has in store. Raised by her ex-CIA operative father, Hanna, is trained in self-defense and bushcraft. She and her father live an off-the-grid existence in relative peace, until the next part of their journey together ensues. Without dropping any spoilers, we can safely say that Hanna is a rollercoaster ride of survivalism and retribution. The film’s tag line is “adapt or die,” which pretty much says it all.
Into the Wild
Directed by Sean Penn
Into the Wild is a cautionary tale of survival, based off of Jon Krakauer’s famous non-fiction book. Christopher McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch, is an Emory college graduate from a well-to-do family who chooses to give up a life of comfort and hitchhike his way to Alaska. McCandless chose Alaska because he saw it as the final frontier, and wanted to experience living off of the land. He was obsessed with self-reliance, purism and a life of the mind. After making it to Alaska, McCandless went on to inhabit an abandoned bus in the wilderness just east of Denali National Park. There, he attempted to and successfully made a home for 114 days before dying from ingesting plant life that he tragically misidentified. This is a thinking man’s movie, one that pits survival against adventure and necessity against privilege.
Directed by John Hillcoat
The story of a father and his son in a true, post-apocalyptic struggle to survive. The Road is a dark representation of what the end of the world as we know it would look like in America. Industrial collapse, failing crops, and abandoned homes set the backdrop for a gut-wrenching portrayal of parenting and survival. The Man, and The Boy, their true names never revealed, must battle dangerous stragglers and opportunists, cannibals and roving gangs, while journeying westward to the coast. Based off of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same title, written by Cormac McCarthy, The Road shows us the horrifying reality of what a real SHTF scenario would look like if it happened in modern times.