The best survival horror movies to stream (and where to watch them)
ask anyone horror fan what is their favorite movie, and most likely it will be something like Nightmare on Elm Street, Conspiracyor maybe the brilliant. Not that there’s anything wrong with those choices, but one subcategory of the horror genre that’s often overlooked is wilderness survival horror. It might not be so easy to be spooked by the concept of starvation and exposure to the elements from the comfort of your couch, but for those who enjoy exploring the wilderness, these films may make you rethink your next camping trip.
Just because a horror movie is set in an outdoor environment doesn’t necessarily mean it falls into this subcategory. For instance, wrong turn is about a group of people who find themselves stuck in the backcountry of West Virginia. They are trying to survive and get out of these woods, yes, but mostly because of the cannibalistic inbred mountain people that inhabit these woods. Here are some basic ingredients for creating a great survival horror movie. Above all, the main antagonist must always come mainly from the environment. Extreme heat or cold, wild animals, infections, starvation and dehydration are all things that can and will kill a person if not properly prepared. The protagonist(s) will have to use their brains and available resources to survive.
The edgefeaturing Anthony Hopkinsand Alec Baldwin, is a perfect example of wilderness survival horror. Yes, Baldwin’s character tries to kill Anthony Hopkins’ character in the movie, but he’s not the main antagonist. The bear that stalks them, along with the extreme wilderness of Alaska, poses the greatest threat to the characters. The fact that a flock of geese caused their plane to crash is just another example of nature’s dangerous unpredictability. With winter approaching, so many people are looking to take one last camping trip before the cold sets in. But before you plan your next vacation, you might want to check out some of these movies first.
Written and directed by Adam MacDonald (slasher), this film really changes your perspective on who is at the top of the food chain. Alexander (Jeff Roup) picks up his girlfriend Jen (Missy Peregrym) camping in a national park. He refuses to take a map from the park ranger, stating that he knows the park very well. He hurts his foot early on, and when they camp at the end of the first night, they meet Brad (Eric Balfour), who tells them that he is a tour guide for the park. Insulted by the way Brad flirts with Jen and insinuates that they would be better off with him as a guide, Alex takes Jen off the marked trail the next morning.
They come across the mangled remains of a deer shortly before realizing they are lost. And once they set up camp, a grizzly bear is drawn to the scent of Alex’s injured foot, raising the stakes even higher. Traumatized, injured and lost, Jen must find her way back to civilization before the bear catches up with her.
Countryside is available to stream on Kanopy and Shudder.
This Australian movie is actually based on the true story of an Israeli explorer Yossi Ghinsberg and his harrowing experience in the Amazon rainforest. The movie was written by Justin Monjo (Farscape) and produced by Greg McLean (wolf creek). Daniel Radcliffe stars as Yossi, who plans to venture into the Bolivian jungle with his two friends, Marcus (Joel Jackson) and Kevin (Alex Russell). They meet an Austrian named Karl (Thomas Kretschmann), who claims to know an undiscovered native tribe that he can show them. After some apprehension, the trio decides to settle in the rainforest with the Austrian as their guide.
Without giving away too much of the story, this movie will leave you wondering about venturing into jungles of all kinds, especially with a stranger. Jungle is available to stream on Roku and Prime Video.
Long Weekend (2008)
Another Australian film (to be fair, nature in australia is above all scary), realized by Jamie Whites (Urban legend), this one is actually a remake of the 1978 film, Long weekend. Also titled nature’s gravethis movie features Jim Caviezel (Frequency) like Peter, who is planning a camping trip with his wife, Carla (Claudia Karvan) on a secluded beach on the north coast of New South Wales in Australia. There is a palpable tension between the pair, which only gets worse as the film progresses. Peter crushes a kangaroo carcass, throws a lit cigarette out the window, and overall the pair display a blatant disrespect for nature.
Shortly after setting up their campsite, nature begins to repel their intrusion. It starts off slow, like getting stalked by a possible shark and then having an infestation of biting ants in their campsite, but nature’s retaliation quickly escalates in this movie. It’s a solid reminder to “leave no trace”, when you’re a guest in mother nature’s house. Long weekend is available to stream on Roku.
The Canyon (2009)
A newlywed couple decide to take a mule ride through a grand canyon with a guide named Henry (Will Patton). Nickname (Eion Bailey) and his wife Lori (Yvonne Strahovski) are interested in seeing petroglyphs but are told they are another half day away. Along the way, Henry is bitten by rattlesnakes and the mules flee.
Forced to continue on foot, Henry soon dies from his rattlesnake bite, leaving the newlyweds alone to navigate out of the canyon. They face the elements, injuries sustained from climbing attempts, and a pack of ravenous wolves. So much for a relaxing honeymoon adventure. the canyon is available to stream on Roku.
No, it’s not the movie with the snowman who sings and talks. Written and directed by Adam Green (Hatchet), Frozen follows Parker (Emma Beautiful), her boyfriend Dan (Kevin Zegers), and Dan’s best friend, Joe (Shawn Ashmore) hanging out at a ski resort. Just before the resort closes for a long weekend, the three of them convince the lift attendant to let them up for one last descent of the night. When the other attendant sees three skiers coming down the slope soon after, he assumes it’s the same trio and stops the lift, trapping Parker, Dan, and Joe above the ground.
After Dan attempts to jump, breaking both of his legs in the process, a pack of wolves descend on him, leaving Parker and Joe to watch helplessly from above. No one comes to save them, they will freeze if they stay put and they will be attacked by wolves if they go down. Singin’ “Let It Go” ain’t gonna get ’em out of there Frozen nightmare.
Frozen is available to stream on Amazon Freevee and Roku.
Open Water (2003)
The wide is the perfect survival movie for shark lovers. Loosely based on true events from 1998, this film tells the story of a couple who plan a scuba diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef and get left behind by their boat. It was written and directed by Chris Kentis (silent house).
Blanchard Ryan (Oktoberfest) and Daniel Travis (Thanks for smoking) decide that a dive trip will be the perfect opportunity for them to spend some quality time as a couple. They board a dive charter with 18 other divers and set sail. The two become separated from the group during the dive, and before they can reunite, the boat leaves the dive site after a mistake in counting of returning divers. After realizing they’ve been left behind, they realize the boat won’t be coming back for them and they’ve drifted away from the dive site as well. It doesn’t take long for the resident sharks to start eyeing them as their next meal. Will anyone notice their disappearance and send rescue boats before it’s too late?
The wide is available to stream on Prime Video.
Still another one Australian survival horror film, also written and directed by Greg Mclean (Jungle). An American travel journalist, Pete McKell (Michael Vartan) joins a tour group on a crocodile-spotting river cruise in Australia’s Northern Territory. Radha Mitchell (silent Hill) leads the expedition as Kate Ryan, a wildlife researcher. The group spots a distress flare further up the river and investigates, only to find a half-sunk wreck. As they close in, something large below the surface crashes into their boat, damaging it beyond repair.
They manage to direct him to a small island in the middle of the river, but Kate realizes that they are in the middle of the crocodile’s territory and the river will rise at night, covering the island entirely. They will have to find a way to cross the river to the mainland before they fall prey to the gigantic man-eating crocodile. The crocodile in question is loosely modeled after a 17ft saltwater crocodile named “Sweetheart”, responsible for several boat attacks in the 1970s.
Thug is available to stream on Plex, Tubi, and Vudu.
Written, directed and produced by Joe Carnahan (death wish), this horror and survival film takes us almost to the loop The edge. You have a plane crash in the brutal wilderness of Alaska, wild animal attacks, and tension between survivors putting each other in peril. Liam Neeson (Taken) stars as John Ottoway, a sniper working for an oil company in Alaska. His job is to ward off wolf packs from workers drilling for oil. After his last day of work, he boards a plane to take him and several other men to Anchorage for their 2 week leave.
The plane hits heavy turbulence, causing it to plummet and crash deep into the Alaskan wilderness. He and the other crash survivors find themselves deep in wolf territory and must find a way to be rescued as the wolves pick them up one by one. Grey Doesn’t stream with any of the subscription or free with ads services, but is available to rent or buy on Amazon, Google Play, and Apple TV.