Subgenre: Survival Film


For the second time in less than a year, I am preparing my house for a hurricane. The lengths to which I am going to ensure my house survives makes me think about films in which people have gone up against impossible odds, only to survive circumstances far more severe than mine. So, with that in mind, I’d like to talk about some great examples of the survival subgenre.

Survival films can be categorized into a number of genres, including drama, adventure, and thriller, but they all have a recurring theme: one (or more) person surviving a disaster. The disaster is most often the result of nature isolating the protagonist(s) and proving to him/her that no matter how far humankind has come, it can still be defeated my the unceasing power of the elements. Almost all survival films promote the idea that human beings are capable of resorting to their base instincts in order to survive. The terrain of a survival film varies, but the extremes of the world are usually where these films take place: oceans, deserts, mountains, and tundras. These locations offer a stark comparison between the domesticated protagonist and the harshness of reality.

There are quite a few survival films that are worth seeing, but some of my favorites are:

  • Cast Away (2000)
  • Gravity (2013)
  • Walkabout (1971)
  • 127 Hours (2010)
  • The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  • Everest (2015)
  • Into the Wild (2007)

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