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20 Best Survival Movies on Netflix That’ll test Your Survival Instincts

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We adore stories of tenacity, spirit, and human bravery. It may be the narrative of a stranded castaway on a remote island far from civilization, or the account of a plane accident survivor battling harsh conditions. They’re all fantastic. Many of these films are based on true incidents, which adds to the fascination of the characters’ death-defying exploits. It’s wonderful to cheer for those who are trapped in dangerous situations, and it’s even better to see them survive with battle wounds that will last a lifetime.

However, we must confess that being in a risky position where you’re trying to light a fire by rubbing two rocks together or constructing your own boat to traverse an unforgiving ocean isn’t a pleasant experience. In fact, for the vast majority of us, it will be a nightmare. That is why, rather than experiencing it firsthand, we prefer to watch it all. Let’s face it, without our privileged lifestyles, we wouldn’t last a day. With that said, it’s fun to sit and watch survival movies, and Netflix offers a fantastic selection. So, here’s a list of some of Netflix’s best survival movies that you can watch right now!

#Alive (2020)


In the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, this film capitalizes on the dread of diseases by adding zombies to the mix. Joon-woo (Yoo Ah-in) is a teen gamer who is left alone in his parents’ apartment when the city of Seoul is overrun by zombies. Joon-woo strives to stay alive and eventually learns to survive on his own.

The film also depicts Joon-growing woo’s romance with another survivor, Yoo-bin, who is isolated in her apartment during the apocalypse (Park Shin-hye). It becomes more difficult to survive and seek help as internet services are taken down. Despite being excessively dramatized for the current scenario, the film is relatable when it comes to dealing with subjects such as loneliness, ethical judgments, and the value of communication, albeit through social media.

Awake (2021)


If you enjoy survival dramas and thrillers, the science-fiction thriller directed by Mark Raso should definitely be among your top choices. A global event wipes out all electronics in the film, leaving people with acute sleeplessness. People become increasingly irritated, violent, and illogical in the aftermath of the disaster. Jill, a former army medic and single mother of two, may have discovered a solution to the problem. Her young daughter, she feels, may have discovered a cure. But, while the rest of the world struggles to live, she must protect her children.

Army of the Dead (2021)


If you enjoy Zack Snyder’s work, ‘Army of the Dead’ is a worthwhile addition to your collection. The film is said to be a spiritual sequel to ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ with an epic mix of themes from zombie films and heist thrillers. The film depicts a group of hired assassins who plan to rob a casino in Las Vegas while a zombie apocalypse rages around them. The film brought in more than 75 million viewers thanks to its snappy and stunning action sequences and Snyder’s involvement.

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Adrift (2018)


‘Adrift,’ set in 1983 against the backdrop of Hurricane Raymond, is based on a true story of a couple who end up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean following the hurricane. The movie depicts their journey to Hawaii in a broken boat with no radio. The story of Tami Oldham Ashcraft (Shailene Woodley) and her fiancé Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) as they sail from Tahiti to San Diego is retold in this film adaption directed by Baltasar Kormakur. Cinematographer Robert Richardson has done an outstanding job of depicting the loneliness of surviving in the open sea with numerous terrifying images of the little yacht surrounded by azure waters.

Bird Box (2018)


The film ‘Bird Box’ is based on Josh Malerman’s novel of the same name. This post-apocalyptic thriller follows Malorie Hayes (Sandra Bullock), a woman who seeks to safeguard her two children from malicious forces that cause people to go insane if they stare at them. People’s darkest fears are used to persuade them into committing suicide by unseen supernatural entities.

The picture alternates between two timelines that are five years apart. No one has ever seen these things, but for their safety and survival, the people must remain blindfolded. Malorie completes a difficult journey with her children to the only location that can provide them with safety. The film’s strength is that it focuses on the protagonists’ anxiety rather than the supernatural interactions themselves.

Cadaver (2020)


Jarand Herdal, a young Norwegian director, directed the film ‘Cadaver.’ One of the film’s major themes is survival, which raises the question of what survival means to us. Could it be at the expense of our humanity? People are barely alive in a metropolis destroyed by a nuclear accident. People chose death over life when they had no food, shelter, or security.

Art provides us escape and gives us hope, which keeps us sane in times like these. A family travels to attend the play ‘The Hotel,’ which includes a magnificent supper as part of the experience. This innovative production promotes audience participation, but no one could have predicted that it would turn into a survival war. There’s not much of a break from reality here!

Circle (2015)


‘Circle’ is a psychological thriller that takes place in a single location where fifty people are arranged in two concentric circles in a room. ’12 Angry Men,’ a 1957 drama, served as inspiration for the science-fiction film. People evaporate every two minutes or if they attempt to flee the extraterrestrial experiment, making it a life-or-death situation.

Participants quickly understand that they can use their votes to push the threat away from them. Despite being set in a fictional setting, the film does not shy away from the existential concerns that we as humans face. With chilling precision, the film captures how we evaluate life when it boils down to the bare essentials and our resolve to survive.

Defiance (2008)


The film ‘Defiance’ is based on the historical story of a group of Jewish survivors who defied Nazi power and established a self-sustaining society in the Belarusian forests. The American film, directed by Edward Zwick and shot in Lithuania, explores the group’s ethical dilemmas and how they rule themselves.

Tuvia Bielski (Daniel Craig) and his brothers discover additional Jewish fugitives hiding in the woods and take them under their command. The “Bielski Partisans” became the most successful Jewish resistance group. Set against the backdrop of Nazi crimes, the plot centers on the community’s survival as they face terrible weather, starvation, and even an infection.

Extinction (2018)


This is similar to a Noah’s Ark adaption with a dash of extraterrestrial hauntings thrown in for good measure. The narrative of Peter, a wonderful father and husband, is told in ‘Extinction.’ He is suddenly plagued by recurring visions in which his family dies. Everyone is disturbed by his paranoid behavior, which is triggered by his dreams.
However, the world is soon assaulted by alien forces who have arrived with the aim of invading humankind. Peter must find the strength to defend his family against these extraterrestrial forces, but this is not your normal sci-fi invasion picture about survival. It contains a major twist that will make you leap out of your seat. This is a must-see for all survival sci-fi fans, since it features an incredibly original premise that has been done virtually flawlessly.

How It Ends (2018)


This film, starring Theo James and Forest Whitaker, isn’t one of the greatest, but it’s still available on Netflix if you’re in the mood for some survival action and have seen practically all of the others. Unlike other films in this type, the film is slow and light, and it will not make you feel uncomfortable. It’s merely a time-killing narrative about a man attempting to return home in a post-apocalyptic world in order to reunite with his girlfriend. Watch this one with no expectations and the sole goal of passing the time.

IO Last on Earth (2019)


The film is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth in which nearly the entire human population has fled to Jupiter’s moon, IO. Earth has been designated poisonous, but scientist Sam Walden disagrees and believes that mankind can still thrive on their home planet. One day, she sends out a broadcast message to see if anyone still alive on Earth will come looking for her.

Micah, a man who hears the radio message, comes to see Sam. Micah, on the other hand, is not convinced by her claims and believes that there is no longer any hope of survival on Earth. They must choose between taking the next shuttle, which is the last one to IO, and staying and trying to find a solution.

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight (2020)


‘Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight,’ originally titled ‘W leslie nie zanie nikt,’ is a Polish supernatural slasher film. The film follows a group of youngsters who are obsessed with technology. As a result, they are sent to a forest rehabilitation camp where they are not allowed to use their phones. While this may sound idyllic to many of us, the gang is not so lucky, as a menacing creature lurking in the woods threatens their survival. The horror film, directed by Bartosz M. Kowalski, was one of the most rented titles on Netflix USA shortly after its premiere.

Red Dot (2021)


The suspense drama, which is reportedly the first Netflix original film from Sweden, follows a couple named Nadja and David as they go on a camping trip to see the Northern Lights. However, things do not go as planned as the consequences of previous decisions begin to haunt them in the present. The couple’s sense of danger and dread is heightened by the wintry terrain and lonely locales. Nadja and David go through a lot to guarantee their survival, from being fired at by numerous people to encounters with a wild bear.

Sand Castle (2017)


Sand Castle is a war drama based on a true incident about a company of troops who were dispatched to a nearby village to repair a water supply problem. However, in a violent conflict zone, the simple act of transporting water and providing plumbing and infrastructure to support the cause becomes a struggle for survival. The film is a direct and genuine depiction of a real-life battle scenario, without the overdramatization of the main characters’ self-reflection and concerns that most war plays do.

Solo (2018)


This one has a plot that is extremely similar to ‘127 Hours.’ This film is based on the true story of a surfer who survives a near-fatal accident when he slips down a dune and crashes into the ocean, shattering his hip and hurting his brain. I believe that people who are aware that they may die soon begin to reflect on their lives and all the things and people they have taken for granted. This is also a standard stature for most “do or die” situations, which is why it feels so familiar.

Time to Hunt (2020)


‘Time to Hunt,’ also known as ‘Sanyangeui Sigan,’ is a South Korean action thriller film. In the near future, a major financial crisis transforms South Korea into the definition of dystopia. To make ends meet, a gang of slum kids engages in criminal activity. However, after a messy but successful heist at a gambling house, their difficulties get considerably worse as they are pursued by an unknown killer. The film contains all of the features that genre fans yearn for, including action-packed sequences and a dystopian atmosphere!

The Ritual (2017)


‘The Ritual,’ a British horror film based on Adam Nevill’s novel, tells the story of a group of college buddies who meet for a hiking vacation in the Swedish forests to memorialize a buddy who was slain in an armed robbery. As the characters stare into the darkness, an ancient demonic force chases them in the forest. The terrain is used by director David Bruckner to create a spine-chilling experience. Rafe Spall (Luke), Arsher Ali (Phil), Robert James-Collier (Hutch), Sam Troughton (Dom), and Paul Reid star in the film, which was shot in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains (Robert).

The Platform (2019)


This Spanish dystopian thriller was initially titled ‘El Hoyo,’ which translates as ‘The Hole.’ The “Vertical Self Management Center,” a 100-story vertical prison, accommodates two inmates each cell, one on each floor. Every day, a platform containing food lowers to each floor for a limited period of time to serve the highest floor’s leftovers. The supply of food reduces when one goes to a lower floor, as it is dependent on how much the people on the floors above them eat.

Goreng (Iván Massagué) wakes up in cell number 48, and the story is narrated through his eyes. Every month, the convicts switch floors, and we observe the characters’ personalities evolve as they progress through ‘The Hole.’ The writers David Desola and Pedro Rivero, as well as director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, create a highly relevant and unsettling mirror to our modern culture.

The Decline (2020)


Patrice Laliberte directs the Canadian action thriller, which is shot in French. A group of people enrolls in a survivalist training camp to prepare for any scenario, such as war, epidemic, or social collapse, should it occur. A fatal event at the camp pushes the campers into a frenzy, polarizing them into two groups. Due to the divergent viewpoints of the two factions that arise as a result of the tragedy, the film eventually devolves into a hunting game.

The camp’s organizer, Alain (Réal Bossé), did not want to deal with the legal authorities for fear of being charged with manslaughter or “domestic terrorism.” The fast-paced thriller stays grounded, with no supernatural elements or a villain with twisted motives. People are the villains in this story.

The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

‘The Red Sea Diving Resort,’ based on historical events from the 1980s, tells the story of a fictitious resort in Arous (Sudan) with the same name that served as a front for Israeli spies on a humanitarian mission. Mossad agents were smuggling Ethiopian Jews held captive in Sudanese refugee camps out of the country.

Ari Levinson, an Israeli Mossad agent, is played by Chris Evans, and Kedebe Bimro, an Ethiopian Jew, is played by Michael K. Williams. Ari and Kedebe collaborate to bring the Ethiopian Jewish refugees to Israel. Gideon Raff directed the picture, which included Ben Kingsley, Greg Kinnear, Alessandro Nivola, and Haley Bennett among its cast.

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