Let’s face it. Survival video games are as diverse and interesting as the movies. Sometimes even more so. And How to Survive is a great example of that diversity. Since we’ve already mentioned some of the best survival horror video games in the previous post (and since it was a great success), we thought… Why not do it again?
Certainly, I can’t get enough of the sub-genre, and to be honest… It’s a hell of a fun topic to write about as well.
But before I get to the point of survival and course movies, let’s take a moment and reflect on the game itself. What’s the game all about?
How To Survive: A Game For All The Zombie Fans
A role-playing game for the true zombie fans, How To Survive is a gem in the survival horror sub-genre. Developed by Eko Software and published by 505 Games, the game is played from a top-down perspective.
In fact in the game’s gameplay, there are two game modes. The first is a story, while, the second one is a challenge mode. And both can be played with up to two players. Also, neither has a timer or time limit in the game either. So, the player can coordinate the time without rushing or a lot of pressure.
But the player (or players) can play as one of three survivors, shipwrecked on one of four zombie-infested islands. Kenji, Abbie, and Jack. While on the islands they’ll bond with the remaining survivors to find shelter, weapons, and food. And of course, a plan on how to get out of the islands.
The danger is looming, and they need to act fast in order to survive.
How To Survive: zombies, ghosts and so much more
And while video games like Resident Evil seemingly perfected the survival horror sub-genre, some of them don’t rely on zombies to deliver the scares. Alone in the Dark used supernatural elements to enhance the plot, while Silent Hill emphasized the psychological and highly disturbing atmosphere.
Similarly, Until Dawn put a nice and refreshing spin on the butterfly effect system. The player can control changes, environment and the story itself, through a third-person perspective. However, the survival horror is defined more by the tone, pacing, subject matter and design than anything else. You can have all the designers in the world, and it wouldn’t matter if you don’t have a good story. But what about the movies?
Movies are also not just about zombie attacks
Sure, some of the best and most interesting survival horror movies involve a zombie apocalypse. The Crazies, World War Z, Rec, Dawn Of The Dead. They’re all great. Furthermore, the Resident Evil franchise really put the zombie apocalypse on the map. And so did the excellent The Girl With All the Gifts. Frankly, it’s one of the best and seemingly most underrated movies on the subject. Not to mention, it features Glenn Close in one of her best roles ever.
But for now, let’s stay clear from the zombies. They’re ubiquitous for sure, but rather predictable. Sure, everyone loves a good zombie survival horror movie. But what about the movies that don’t involve zombies at all? What about the survival horror movies that involve animal attacks or natural disasters? They’re eligible for consideration in the survival horror bracket as well.
And I’d start with A Quiet Place. John Krasinski’s movie featured vicious but blind extraterrestrial creatures as the main enemy. It’s truly a great movie for sure.
But what about a movie that is a bit more realistic? And plausible? While extraterrestrial invasion is far from likely, a shark attack, wolf attack, or an earthquake are a real possibility for any of us. The Shallows showed us a frightening shark attack, with solely one actress throughout the movie. Blake Lively. It’s a thrilling and scary movie for sure.
Speaking of a shark attack, Open Water explored that same theme as well. Two divers are left stranded in open water. They soon become prey for the sharks lurking beneath them, and surviving the ordeal will prove to be a real challenge.
Wolves, sharks, and psychopaths
But enough about the sharks. What about the other predators? The ones that are on land? Well, there are plenty of movies that feature them as well.
A pack of timber wolves stalked Liam Neeson and his company in The Grey. In addition to the haunting predators, the cold weather and the remote environment made the film that much scary.
Backcountry is another great nature-based survival horror movie. While unknown for a big portion of the audience, Backcountry enjoys a small cult following nonetheless.
And last but certainly not least, there are the unlikely survival horror movies. You know, movies that don’t belong much to any of the previous brackets. The psychological/hostage movies. To be honest, they’re survival horror movies as well, but the threat comes from humans. Not animals, zombies, or aliens.
I would definitely put Funny Games here. A rather frightening psychological horror about a family who’s being held hostage by two deranged psychopaths. Regardless if you choose the 90’s movie or the remake (also directed by Michael Haneke) they’re the same movie. A shot-for-shot identical movie, but with different actors.
Another great movie that some would argue belongs here is The Belko Experiment. More of a corporate horror than anything, Belko Experiment is a weird and disturbing film. Written by James Gunn, the Belko Experiment asks the questions: Would you kill your coworkers to survive? What exactly would you do in order to survive? The movie indeed explores that frightening idea.
What are your favorites?
What are your favorite survival horror movies? Is it the good old classic zombie survival horror movie, or some more down to earth movies like Backcountry or The Grey? Or are you more a psychological horror aficionado? Tell us all about them. We’d love to know.