A well-made survival movie can invoke intense fear and varied emotions. The plausibility that the events on screen can happen in real life can send any human being into a tizzy. Be it man-made disasters or natural calamities or accidents, heart-breaking survival stories despite being overwhelming, make for an engrossing watch. You are filled with immense stress as you watch people facing sudden life-threatening situations and fighting for their lives. So, if you enjoy such stories, then these movies and web series are unmissable. You can watch these on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and other OTT platforms.
7 hair-raising and heartbreaking survival movies you must watch; on Amazon Prime Video and more
1. The Impossible – Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play Movies
The movie is based on the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami that claimed several lives and caused severe destruction in the affected areas. The movie depicts the story of a family of five – Dr Maria Bennett, her husband Henry, and their three kids Lucas, Simon, and Thomas – going on a family vacation during Christmas to Khao Lak, Thailand. The family is enjoying the time together but their happiness is half-lived when the tsunami strikes, separating the five. Maria and Lucas somehow escape from being drowned and find each other, on the other hand, Henry and the two younger boys are together. The struggle then begins to find each other and also help others around them. The destruction that the tsunami created, and the heartbreaking stories of life and death, will make you cry buckets. The movie stars Naomi Watts, and Ewan McGregor, in the lead roles with Tom Holland making his film debut.
2. Eight Below – Apple TV
Starring the late actor Paul Walker in the lead role, the movie is a remake of the 1983 Japanese film called Antarctica. It follows Jerry Shepard, a guide at an Antarctic research base of the National Science Foundation. He is tasked with taking a UCLA professor to Mount Melbourne for his research. Due to poor weather conditions, they take a dog sled. However, they are called back at the base due to a storm. They battle severe cold conditions but are led to safety by the dogs. When the humans are rescued, the dogs are left behind despite pleas from Jerry. Five months later, Jerry returns to the base to take the eight dogs with him. Meanwhile, in the five months, the dogs struggle to survive in the extreme cold, fight hunger, and rely on each other to stay alive before they are reunited with Jerry in a heart-breaking climax. The movie poignantly tells two survival tales – the humans and animals, both equally heart-wrenching.
3. The Revenant – Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV
Set in 1823, the movie features Leonardo DiCaprio in his Oscar-winning role as fur trapper Hugh Glass. The edgy survival thriller shows Glass surviving against all odds after he is abandoned by his people following a bear attack. Glass, however, not only strives to survive nature’s fury, but also a close-on-heals native tribe called Arikara. He then seeks revenge against the ones who betrayed him. The movie boasts commendable performances from DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, along with fabulous fight sequences.
4. Cast Away – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Apple TV
Tom Hanks stars as Chuck Nolan, a FedEx troubleshooter, stranded on an island after his plane crashes. He is the lone survivor and the plot revolves around his attempts to make his way back home. After several failed attempts to make rafts to cross the ocean, he slowly learns to adapt to island life to survive. He builds a makeshift tent and uses items from the crash to his advantage and turns a volleyball into his companion and names it Wilson. Four years later, Chuck is shown living in a cave with Wilson and still determined to go home. He makes a last attempt at making a raft when he finds some washed-up plastic on the shore. He successfully sets sail and bids an emotional adieu to the island. Chuck is then rescued by a container ship after he almost drowns following a storm. He is welcomed home by his family and friends, but faces an existential crisis and finds it difficult to settle into his old life in the urban city. The poignant drama ends with Chuck standing at a crossroads, with his truck full of supplies as he contemplates going back to the island or starting afresh in a new place.
5. 127 Hours – Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play Movies
This biographical survival drama stars James Franco in the lead role and will keep you on the edge of your seat. The story follows mountaineer Aron Ralston (Franco) trapped in a boulder at Bluejohn Canyon in Utah. Aron’s right arm is trapped in a boulder and despite several attempts, he is unable to move or remove it. As time passes, Aron makes a video diary to record his situation, rations food and water, and struggles to stay warm at night. The harsh weather conditions weigh him down and he begins hallucinating. He then breaks and amputates his own arm to escape. But, he is far away from home and his fight isn’t over yet.
6. Trapped – Amazon Prime Video, Zee5
The movie revolves around a call centre employee Shaurya (RajKummar Rao), who is planning to elope and get married to his girlfriend. In a rush to move into a new flat after marriage, Shaurya purchases a home in a high-rise that is embroiled in legal issues. The watchman is unaware of Shaurya moving into the empty building. One day, Shaurya inadvertently locks himself in and his attempts at breaking the lock yield no success. The faulty wiring then causes an electricity outage and Shaurya is left to fend for himself with no communication with the outside world and limited food and water supply.
7. The Shallows – Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play Movies
Nancy Adams (Blake Lively), a medical student, is devastated after her mother’s death. She then visits a secluded beach in Mexico to take her mind off the tragedy. She goes surfing and is attacked by a killer shark and finds refuge at an isolated rock farther away from the shore. Nancy loses her surfboard and when two locals attempt to save her, they too are killed by the shark. She then observes the shark, times its circle, swims through jellyfish, and makes desperate attempts at reaching the shore. The spine-chilling visuals and Lively’s noteworthy performance will keep you on tenterhooks as you anticipate what happens next.