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The Survivalist is a dark and brooding mindjob of a dystopian movie. Its a kill or be killed world, and our protagonists do exactly that. IMDB
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Sometimes the magic of a movie is that it so thoroughly immerses the viewer into a new world and new mindset, zeitgeists, that you have to reconsider the assumptions you’ve made about the world you live in today. You know what I mean? Movies that take you so far outside the current day’s thinking and the current day’s worries that you become thankful for what you have today… you see again, for the first time the blessings of your modern day life. Could be a historical time piece and myopic views of women, or race. It could be a futuristic space odyssey wherein the technology of the day is the great equalizer. But today’s movie is both and neither simultaneously. The Survivalist is a futuristic and historical time piece tandem. It is a futuristic post-apocalyptic pell-mell of a flick that is so fraught with pessimism, so overwhelmed by it’s own oppressiveness that there isn’t a single shred of optimism over the course of it’s 104 minute feature length.

Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed it in a sort of, “holy crap, what are the script writers going to throw at this ‘Survivalist’ next?” Especially seeing as though they did it for about a million quid. And yet, there were swaths of this movie that left me feeling completely and totally overwhelmed in a bad way. But I’ll get to that later. If you dig avant garde films. If you are into independent films. If you really enjoy post apocalyptic, end of the world chaos.

The Survivalist Overview

As the movie starts, we meet the Survivalist, who lives in a shed, babysits his little farm for one. And absolutely freaks out every single time the wind kicks up. We don’t know why he’s completely tripped out. We don’t understand what his problem is. About the only thing we know is from the credits… and that was as the population increased, global oil production increased, and when global oil production collapsed, so too did the global population. Other than that… we know nothing about the Survivalist. (He is unnamed, even in the credits.)

Occasionally our guy friday jumps at the shadows, and has flashbacks of himself running in the dark for some reason. And that was all before any real trouble shows up. And then two, innocent women arrive. One older, Milja, and a younger, Kathryn. They beg, they cajole, they really really need food. But dang if our Survivalist isn’t chivalrous at all. WHAT GIVES? It is in this question, and in this trio’s relationship that we learn a lot about the mindset of the people of this terrible dystopian future. I’ll stop there, because I’m sure many of you haven’t seen the film.  Here – why don’t we check out the trailer… and then on the other side of the trailer we’ll jump into spoilers for those of you who have seen it. Fair enough. So see it, then come back and join in on the conversation.

The Survivalist Walkthrough & Explanation

Now that we have the interlopers removed from the conversation, why don’t we unpack this crazy flick? Let’s start with a very high level outline of the events that occurred just in an effort to clarify the ins and outs of what really occurred.

  1. Survivalist is tending to his farm
  2. Kathryn and Milja arrive
  3. S. doesn’t want them there
  4. Eventually gives them food and sleeps with Kathryn
  5. M&K begin helping on the farm, finding eggs, etc.
  6. Milja realizes the farm is too small
  7. Kathryn figures out she can steal S.’s 2 shotgun shells
  8. M&K steal the shells
  9. M almost bashes S’s head in with shovel
  10. Intruder comes and haul off Kathryn
  11. S. tries to save K & realizes his shells are gone
  12. S. is shot, and then S. stabs attacker in throat
  13. M&K decide to nurse him to health
  14. 6 men visit and steal all S’s food
  15. Milja decides that S has got to die, K agrees to poison him
  16. Kathryn instead poisons Milja
  17. S. agrees to kill Milja for her
  18. Masked men come back, S and K run for it.
  19. S kills a couple. K kills one in bear trap.
  20. But S sacrifices himself for K and she runs
  21. Kathryn makes it to a militarized camp
  22. Kathryn is pregnant and is going to name her son….
  23. Roll credits

Obviously this is just the bare bones of the script. But it’s enough to refresh our memory and reconcile some of the ducking and weaving the story does as it bumps along it’s way.


The Survivalist Zeitgeist 

To explain the Survivalist and it’s overall prevailing mood is a fairly tricky affair. But I’d probably start with Paranoid, paranoid in the extreme. And apparently the Survivalist apparently has reason to be extraordinarily paranoid. His own brother was tripped up by a girl. And every single person we meet in this movie has eyes to kill the Survivalist.

And some of them take more than one go at it. Right? For example the women? They consider stealing his shotgun shells and shooting him (but please don’t use both shells.) Later Milja almost bludgeons him to death with a shovel. Then they consider letting him die after he saves Kathryn’s life. And finally they hatched a plan to poison him to death with mushrooms. So yeah, it would seem that in this world, mankind has devolved into a dog-eat-dog sort of chaos.

Reminds me of a book I just recently read called H2O by Virginia Bergin. Basically the concept there was that anyone that gets rained on, even really a drop, will start to bleed, and won’t stop until they are dead an hour or two later. That world was similarly paranoid and filled with trepidation and angst. But where the Survivalist differs is that the scale and scope of this movie is so tight, so small. And the exuded hate is so extreme that it puts most other movies to shame.

I think the best way to describe the mindset in The Survivalist, is that its a GREEN Mad Max. Yeah. I think that basically does it. But it was the semi-sexual undertones that sort of happened here? It seems as though this particular end of the world reality is driven by A, food. And B, sex. Food is worthing spending all your time on. And sex is the thing that will ruin all the rest of it, but it is an undeniable siren song. And better yet? It’s the bargaining chip that trumps all others. I’m sorry, but if I am doing my absolute best to keep the tomatoes growing, am I seriously going to risk it all for someone’s daughter? I guess, it had been seven years. But the overall depravity of this movie is so thoroughly emmersive as to really sell this mental condition, and mindshift.


Outstanding Survivalist Questions

The first question I have for you all is simple enough. Is Kathryn, Milja’s daughter? And if she is, REALLY? This is the kind of world we are in now? Barter with your daughter for a couple bowls of soup? But yeah, my first question is simple enough, are Kathryn and Milja related? Personally… I don’t think so.

Next question, when The Survivalist, and his brother Augustus are running for their lives, after Augustus attempted to rape the woman, S. says that he went back because they were going to get them both, and he killed his brother? In what world does that make sense? I guess he was keeping him from being tortured? But he went backwards to kill his brother? And this is our hero?

My final question is related to my previous question. Why are we rooting for this guy… like, at all? Sure, he’s all we know in this world. We started the movie with him. So we are forced to root for him. But really? This guy killed his own brother. He is ready to kill two innocent women without provocation? Sure, it’s the end of the world. But really? This is who we are rooting for? If anyone is the hero of this movie it is, without a doubt, Kathryn. She is the one that saved the Survivalist’s life. She’s the one that chose to flip the tables on Milja’s mushroom plan. She’s the one that is choosing to carry their son in this upside down world. What are your thoughts? Is the Survivalist worth rooting for?

The Survivalist Final Thoughts

I love small budget sci-fi flicks. Love love love them. The crazier, mind-bendier they are, the better. Oh I don’t know, Containment much? Or possibly Uncanny? Or maybe Synchronicity is more your cup o’ tea? Z for Zacharia? Victoria? Coherence? Time Lapse? I don’t know! But I’m not so sure about this one. There were a couple scenes that just completely weirded me out. And if you’ve seen the film, you know exactly which ones those are. Not my dish… thank you. But there are some really fascinating bits here. But a charismatic hero is not one of them. A totally paranoid freakazoid that cares more about his own survival than absolutely anything else. But no, nut much heroic happening here in this film. Which means, even when the chips are down and the world is ending terribly… I expect the characters we are offered to be larger than life, and to do the right thing. And I’m guessing you expect the same too, no?

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43 Responses

  1. Mickie

    Nice article. Just an observation, you confused the two characters. Katheryn is the old woman and Milja is the daughter.

    • Alicsha

      I was about to say the same thing . Because I know the daughter was the one who had a relationship with him and her name was Mia … but when he said Kathryn I was like Kathryn was the old woman lol just making sure I wasn’t going crazy

  2. Taylor

    I have name dyslexia. I am sure of it. Thanks for the heads up Mickie. I’ll add it to my list of aggregious errors to fix on the site here soon. Heheh.


    • Steve

      If you were paying attention during the movie you would have seen the conversation between the 2 women that established they were not mother and daughter.

  3. Ken

    They left some open ended plot lines. After they shot the protangist with a cross bow bolt, they cut to a scene with a big fire. They were stripping him down, and burning his cabin. He was lying there making no resistence. Was it assumed they were going to cook him? Is that was the large fire was about?

  4. Jake

    I just finished the movie and found this article. He didn’t kill his brother, he only cut his leg so that the people chasing them would only get the brother. And since one of the attackers limps – and looks long and hard at the childhood photo- it is strongly possible that it really is the brother. And yeah, I also got the feeling that they were going to eat him.

  5. Tim

    Agree with Jake, it was the survivalist that fell, and when Augustus comes to help he stabs Augustus in the leg. I also didn’t get the impression that Augustus raped the woman, but that he had seen her and stuck around looking at her long enough that she screamed.

    One thing that hit me at the end was when she said if the child was a boy she would name it…what? I only realized at that point that we didn’t know the survivalist’s name. Did she know it? Did he tell her his brother’s name because he knew somehow that she was pregnant and wanted Augustus to live on through the name as an act of contrition?

    There was all sorts of symbolism, but I’m glad we weren’t spoon fed answers.

  6. Aidan

    I ended with a few questions after watching…

    Why did the woman decide not to kill him? Conscience?
    He obviously realised his shells were stolen. Why would he not kill them. Considering the nature of this world, if they are a threat, they should have died after he confronted the man only to find his gun empty..?

    Survivalist was definitely going to be eaten at the end. Brutal. But he gave his life for a longer sort of survival in her pregnancy, which adds another dimension to the title in my opinion.

    • Ashh

      The reason he sacrificed himself, even though he knew she stole the shells is because HE KNEW ALL ALONG THAT SHE WAS PREGNANT. He wasn’t even resisting right? he knew, he knewww.

  7. You suck

    I think the author of this review is a total idiot. Watch the movie again because you clearly have no idea what your talking about…. Names wrong, missed questions that were answered…. amateur reviewer.

    • Taylor

      Hey there “You Suck”,
      I am decidedly an amateur. I do it just for fun. How about pointing out the names I got wrong and the details I got incorrect so as to lend a hand. Or, if you are just generally upset because I wasn’t a huge fan of this particular movie why don’t you just explain why I misunderstood the film. Or better yet, kick off your own blog and discuss the movies you prefer. Maybe we could actually glean something from you there. As opposed to telling me something I already know.

      Just saying.

      • Tom

        hey, appreciate you taking the time to write your analysis – but you got the 2 female character’s names mixed up, and it makes what you wrote super confusing. Just some friendly advice: go back & quickly switch “Mija” & “Kathryn” with each other – Mija’s the young one, Kathryn’s the old lady.

  8. manupiensa

    Hey a little late into the conversation here, but just wanted to add my thought. For me it is clear that it is not the dead, possibly eaten nameless guy who is the survivalist of the title. It is actually Milja who is the one who uses all her tools: sex, trust, attatchments and anything she can think of to survive. She cannot survive by herself like the nameless guy but she does what she must to stay on top. And at the end of the movie she secures herself and the baby by going to the camp. Meanwhile the “survivalist” is getting kebabed… great movie btw

  9. DTDS

    Yep think he was gonna get eaten…. the stake across the fire, the licking of lips etc. But he sacrificed himself for a bigger game… mankind.

  10. Nice guys finish last

    I think the lack of any semblance of a classic hero character is a subtle, but brutally (and brilliantly) insistent affermation of the idea that in a world such as this the bold and brash risk-taking general-good-of-humanity idealist types arent very well suited to their environment. The film wouldnt have survived (tee and hee) with Anything other than a main cast of anti-heroes. It is an all around a grim vision, unarguably, and I understand why its not for everyone, but its not entirely without hope – milja’s exercised right to choose life multiple times and an ending as optimistic as such a film could possibly muster. My main questions regard how those who are with ‘sin’ (in a pretty classic ‘Cain and Abel’ biblical sense) are punished and only the seemingly ‘pure’ character is allowed to persist. Is a presence of god in this story? Either way I feel the ‘Man’s Inhumanity to Man’ theme is the most central to the movie, pretty blatently advertised in writing half way through the story. Oddly blunt for such a economically written picture! Anyway, those are my thoughts on what was missing or mi-placed from your review, though your reply to ‘you suck’ was flawlessly executed! Cheers!

  11. Pondering

    Just finished watching and found this site. I wanted to add that at the end I got a strong feeling that Milja (and the old woman) were both from the big camp, or were trying to enter the big camp all along?

    Was the whole film some indoctrination ritual for the big camp? How did the woman at the end know Milja was pregnant, what did the woman’s response to Milja mean in the interchange “what happens now” – “They’re going to vote, it won’t take long.”

    I really got the strong impression that at the end it was revealed that the two females were from the big camp and were possibly out on a scouting/resource gathering mission or something. It really threw me because the last scene really threw up so many questions that forced me to alter what I thought the rest of the film was really about. Did anyone else get this from the ending scene, and does anyone else think that the two females had more to do with the big camp at the end than was presumed and their story about where they came from was a cover?

    I’m on the fence about this but it really feels like the last scene was quite obviously trying to imply something significant but it was too ambiguous to grasp anything but vague assumptions.

    • Tori

      I completely agree with this theory. I immediately got a sense from the last scene that she’s been at the big camp before and this was what she had to do to earn her place. There’s NO way she stumbled across the camp by accident after leaving our mystery man to get roasted. This movie is far too smart for that to happen.

      I was surprised when reading the previous comments that no one else mentioned this because to me, this is what I found to be the most intriguing. My guess is that she had to bring back something to benefit the food production (the seeds) and the baby is a requirement because the camp is based on repopulating Earth.

      Questions that arise from this for me is why couldn’t she just get preggers by one of the fine bachelors of the big camp? And why did she attempt to give herself an abortion if she wanted the baby all along? Was she possibly considering staying with our mystery man at that point?

      Although the main article this thread follows did not really do the movie justice, I’m glad I found all these comments here that got me thinking. Great movie, glad to hear a lot of you agree.

      • Brooks

        I also agree with this theory. It was quite obvious that she was part of the camp all along. I also feel strangely about the abortion — she must’ve really been in love with the dude and seriously considered staying with him. Finally, I also agree with your assessment of this blog. The original post is garbage compared to what I found in the comments. For the record, Milja is definitely the survivalist in this tale and the guy is somewhat of a secondary survivalist because he can survive by himself and because his child will likely live on (even though he did get skewered at the end). Further, he probably is completely content sacrificing himself for the girl since he already made a pretty brutal decision to stab his brother and leave him for dead. Once I found out that fact, it was clear he was going to meet a rough (somewhat deserved) death. Great flick.

      • brad

        That is very interesting. But one thing is that the old lady insisted on that the amount of crops growing is only enough for two and HAD to kill the main guy for them to keep surviving off of the crop. Why wouldn’t they just try to steal the crops and seeds if they were actually on scavenge hunt?

  12. Tom

    Come on dude – “movies to make you thinkc?” Do you not spell-check what you write?

      • Walter D

        How easy can it be to lose focus on the discussion by a mispelled word. OMG! You have a lot more patience than me.

  13. Soupforpun

    What do you mean all he cares about is his own survival. That’s the point. Haven’t you seen an episode of the walking dead you can’t trust anyone in the end.

    Honestly I think this reviewer was just jealous of the size of this guy’s dong! I think his name was Hung Lo.

  14. Ju ju

    Agree with Soupforpun.

    This guy is a survivalist. Taylor Holmes you keep saying “why should we root for him ?” we don’t have to. there is not a “hero”. He admits he was a bad person and a thief. He did not kill his brother, merely let him get killed after the latter was weak. His brother was not a good survivor. I like to see movies were the “hero” is not “turning back while bullets are flying around him” to save the guy who fell. In the real world everybody dies. The survivalist knew that. He made a though choice, maybe a choice that stripped him from his humanity, I think this is what this movie is about. With the arrival of the two women, can this “humanity” be “taught” again ? He just did that to survive, he stopped being a person, just a survivalist. I think this is why we never find out his name. He has not got one anymore.

    Overall I agree with your analysis but you depict the main char as a not good enough hero. “ready to kill two women who did nothing ?” they showed up at his place, he asked nothing, this is a one person farm. That old lady is a hypocrite. She shows up and says there is more than enough. Then proceeds to says it is a one person farm and someone needs to go. Grow your own vegetables dammit. I rooted for him because he might be a scum and a thief, he may have done things worse that we do not know, but he asks nothing from others and stays in this world of self imposed penitence.

    @Tori and @Pondering
    I really enjoyed your view, it changes the film completely thanks. Where did you get that to enter you needed to be pregnant ? is that on the sign on the fence ? I need to watch it again.

  15. Tami

    Hi- I’m late to the game but here are my questions/thoughts:
    1) who is the woman in the pictures he burns in the beginning? Old gf? Is he saying goodbye to that life just to find another in the newcomers?
    2) when was it established that the women were not related. I missed that
    3) I don’t think her goal was to be pregnant as she attempted termination and the older lady told him not to impregnate her
    4) is semen really a good plant fertilizer (this part disturbed me)
    5) why did she poison the older woman ? Was that really necessary
    6) maybe she did stumble on the camp by mistake and they are evaluating whether her seeds are worth it
    7) do you think she’ll name her son Augustus or fathers name?
    8) I think the woman guessed her pregnancy Bc she looked interested in mother/baby

    • brad

      1). Maybe victims to the bear trap? He mentioned that only thing caught are the ones walking in two legs. Killing rather than helping them would be much easier.
      2). Their blood relation might not be as significant as their relationship itself. Clearly the old lady was using the girl to gain food; it shows their relationship and the young girl is now old enough to realize what really is going on.
      3). I agree with you.
      4). …. beats me. I could honestly say that I have never googled, “is semen a good fertilizer?”
      5). This maybe an extension to their relationship. Maybe she is getting tired of the old lady keep ordering her to try to kill him. And now that she’s pregnant with his child, maybe she identifies him as the head of household. You get my point.
      6). I don’t know which part you are referring to.
      7). Last part got me thinking when she said, “If it’s a boy.” I confidently doubt that she knows if it’s a boy or girl. I think she became something of a “survivalist” and considers female as nuance in the apocalyptic environment, and male as being very “useful”, hence the first reason she did not want to kill the main guy. Maybe she meant she will keep the baby if it’s a boy or something like that. That’s the impression I got from it.
      8). Yes that’s exactly what I was thinking. And women also claim to have their own “instinct” as well.

  16. The Dude

    I finally got a chance to see this tonight after having wanted to for quite awhile; I must say, I was very impressed on how much this director and cast accomplished considering their tiny budget. This film is premised on peak oil theory (that oil is why earth’s population skyrocketed beginning with the industrial revolution and that, once our discoverable oil resources are depleted, there will be a cataclysmic unwinding). The fact that this is entirely plausuble makes the gritty realism of this film all the more impactful.
    My take was that the body seen being dragged at the film’s opening was a recent bear trap victim (and not the first). I recall there being about 3 “mounds” and assumed these were graves of prior trespassers. I thought the photos our lead were flipping through were found on the victim.
    The other noteworthy photo in the film – of the woman with 2 young boys – I interpreted to be a childhood photo of our lead along with his brother, Augustus, and their mother (before everything went into collapse).
    Our lead – while deeply flawed and without innocense – ultimately transmorphed into a Christ figure by sacrificing himself so that the young pregnant mother could escape and live on. The raiders literally ate of his body and drank of his blood, as in the Sacrament.
    I’m undecided as to whether or not the young woman was an agent of the big camp or had a prior history there; based on her perspective and questions (“what happens now?”), it didn’t seem she was familiar with the camp’s culture.
    And lastly, while I disagree with the opinion of the original review and agree there were a lot of errors that caused confusion (e.g. transposing the names of the female characters), seeing how quick people are to come on here and say “you’re dumb,” “you suck,” etc. makes the premise of this film (a future where everyone is wary of one another and regards everyone with suspicion if not hostility) all the more plausible.

  17. Monique Hayes

    Hey You Suck,
    You suck.
    Hey OP, thanks for shedding some light. I agree with The Dude in that the protagonist did become a worthy sort of character. It sounds like you’re condemning S more than M&K, when M&K were d-bags too! Survivalist knew time after time that M&K were conniving, and essentially he let it go each time (and ultimately sacrificed hismelf). The white haired woman said herself it was a “farm fit for one person” so if that was indeed the case, then it was fair enough that Survivalist was real touchy about his provisions.
    I am still puzzled about why the young girl didn’t get the chance to complete the sentence “if it’s a boy at the end”… Alas.. I guess since S only ever gave her the name “Augustus” , that’s all she really has to go off.
    Finally, why the hell have the people who pointed out “you weren’t paying attention to the movie”, answered any of these questions themselves? Gosh.

  18. John

    Taylor, thanks for reviewing/explaining/starting the conversation, and all the people who gave constructive input. I think it’s clear everyone in the movie is a survivalist so it doesn’t really matter who “THE” survivalist was, but the majority of the movie shows how S survives and is ultra careful, even if he does put himself in harm’s way for the girl a couple times, ultimately sacrificing himself.
    The movie pits survival against companionship. Sometimes survival and cooperation work in harmony, in a symbiotic relationship (S saved the girl, so the girl convinces her mother to save S). but sometimes they are at odds: survival overcomes companionship (S basically killing his brother), or love overcomes survival (S sacrifices himself at the end for the girl).
    I think the extreme, post-apocalyptic setting and dog-eat-dog environment work to enhance all those human-isms in the movie: love, loss, sex, procreation, mortality. And the ambiguity acts like those Rorschach inkblot tests, letting us project our own experiences, emotions, and personalities onto our understanding of the film. Great movie.

    P.S. we might avoid some harping from the pedantic if we used the free Grammarly browser extension, but who knows, I’ve never tried it.

  19. Iron Seeker

    Hey Taylor thanks for the review I ve been searching for discussion about this movie this is by far the one that gaves a flawless explanation bout the plot, though it probably is a little cause I have seen this fairly recent. This intrigues me so much it haunts me for days, but I guess did Milja use the survivalist? For food and security in exchange of companionship.
    Does she intend to keep the child if its a girl? Or shes just merely aswering a question this so vague it keeps you thinking.
    The survivalist I think has fulfill his mission to let his seeds grow and he did it thru Milja remember at the beginning he fertilizes the seeds thru his semen fluid? This uncomfortable to watch but yoi still wanna see it. I hope more of the questions will be answered.

  20. Matt

    great well thought out review, forget the critics, open discussion is fine with disagreement but the English teacher critique of spelling, is sooooo moronic, like your the only typo on the web, 2 thumbs up Taylor

  21. Andy R

    Sorry, I am very late to the party, but have finally got round to watching this film and it has really stuck with me. After a lot of searching, this comment section is one of the most fertile grounds of discussion I’ve managed to find so I just wanted to float a couple of ideas out there.

    Anyway, two things that I came away with:

    *** 1 ***

    There seems to me to be a lot of symbolism/references to the first modern Holocaust throughout the film and I’m surprised it’s not discussed more.

    For me it was most striking when Milja opens the only book we see in the film, which appears to bear witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust with it’s passage “witness man’s inhumanity to man” alongside shockingly candid photos of WW2 skeletal concentration or death camp victims discarded in shallow open graves.

    This theme seems to me to reverberate later on, through the lingering scene where Kathryn’s emaciated corpse is dragged and buried unceremoniously in her own shallow grave in the dirt.

    The ‘camp’ at the end also had a striking resemblance to the photos widely seen of concentration/death camps from WW2. I’m sure this must have been intentional.

    The horrific experience of the victims of these camps and yet their drive to somehow still survive feels very relevant to the experience of the inhabitants of the film’s post-apocalyptic world.

    *** 2 ***

    I don’t think that “The Survivalist” refers to any person in particular, but rather the more abstract nature of human survival and the meaning of life itself… and as such, all of us.

    All three main characters survive in most basic and important sense of existence… i.e. as human beings we have only one biological purpose and that is to keep our DNA (or genetic makeup if you like) continuing (or “surviving”?).

    Kathryn “survives” through Milja (her daughter), the leading man “survives” through his unborn child (still alive at the ed of the film) and of course Milja “survives” (still alive at the end of the film).

    This is a fundamental truth of all of human existence and something not only relevant to the post-apolcalyptic world of the film, or the horrific world of the Holocaust, but also to the world we live in right now.


    Anyway, maybe that’s all total BS, but it’s rare that I come away thinking about a film like this and I’d be interested to hear any further thoughts people might have.


  22. Sandy

    Very interesting comments on the movie and the review. By now you’all know that Milja (Mia) was the young girl. And by young, I understood immediately that she was supposed to be underage, even though the movie could not imply that in any way. The two females already understood the concept of quid-pro-quo, so the offering of Milja to the Survivalist was part of their agreed upon survival plan. It was not Milja’s first rodeo. And the request not to “come in her” was to try and ensure Milja’s continued survival. Having a baby while on the run from raiders would be a guaranteed gruesome end.

    But, the true survivalist was Milja, learning the craft at her mother’s knee, so to speak. When she said the Survivalist was useful she wasn’t being sentimental as her mother claimed. Once she realized she was pregnant and couldn’t get rid of her dangerous condition she bet on the Survivalist for her continued survival. Her mother had threatened his death many times, so she had to go.

    The pictures that the Survivalist burned, including the woman’s picture, were taken from the bear trap intruder. The Survivalist was not only lonely, he was horny. Therefore ripe for the picking by two female survivalists. They knew they had the right coin for this trade.

    The females were probably looking for the compound before stumbling across his truck patch. Everyone would have been aware of the rumors of a compound like that and how to approach it. Otherwise, I didn’t get any sense that Milja or Kathryn had been part of the compound. If they had been there would have been no reason to leave on a “quest”. Women don’t do that when there is a safer place to stay. Seriously, we don’t. If they had been sent anywhere on a quest it would have been with a lot better preparation and more weapons than they had. They were just random survivors doing a fairly good job when they stumbled upon the little farm in the woods. And the rest was an interesting tale of the cunning and ingenuity of humans when it comes to survival. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in a nutsell. I sensed absolutely no hatred. It was bare bones survival with no questions asked. I enjoyed it!

  23. Robin

    Ken, he was definitely getting cooked at the end. You can see his feet tied to the spit whilst the attackers look on

  24. John91

    Just finished watching this film – nice to find an interesting discussion about it.
    Just wanted to add one thing, at the end, why did the mother at the camp have no hands!
    Got me thinking of BoneTomahawk ending where the tribe uses its women just for breeding. Cutting they’re limbs off and blinding them.
    Dark but possible theme in this movie..?

  25. Asbjørn Olsen

    Just finished watching. Great review and many insightful comments.

    I loved how the forced intimacy played out, when Milja shaved off the wildlings beard while he was clinging on to his shotgun for comfort. Such a silly level of theatricality, and yet still conveying very real emotions, and even believable in the movies own little setting. This was the moment where the movie was walking very close to the edge of the stage for me, and almost fell off, but ended up making it look like an incredible stunt instead.

    Stealing the shotgun shells was the dick move where the movie really showed me what kind of depressing theater of cruelty this was gonna be – I must admit, seeing that pretty Irish forest I had hoped for sometime more upbeat, what a dream life they had for 3½ minutes there – but of course the only thing artists ever have to say about life is it sucks…

    At first, I was confused about whenever the whole assault was something they had planned – why did they steal those shells? But I just came to the conclusion they just wanted to take control away from the survivalist. Maybe even try to take him out of the picture? The older woman sure seems to hold that shovel a little tight… I didn’t enjoy the whole “will they kill him subplot here, but I did like the control loss leading to his emasculating: Sitting there with no beard, wounded and hurt, the women carrying the gun and tending to his crops. Talking about whenever or not they have the capacity to keep feeding the weak man – lying there broken – a lovely refreshing switch on the survival trope of throwing out the weak.

    There is definitely something interesting going on between the story of the man being a beast. Kathryne knows and fears the male beast, and tries to coerce it and control it, and ultimately kill it. But Mijla finds another way, a sentimental way, with love and compassion, and she manages to tame the beast instead, and make it work for her.

    I think there something very delibert with The Survivalist not having a name – the only man who gets a name – Augustus – named the same as the first roman emperor who is know for bringing peace and prosperity back to Rome – was killed dirty by The Survivalist, his own brother, before the events of the movie. The empires of men have fallen, and men are now only beasts – Women are the only ones worthy of names in this world.

    I mean, oh course is not that simple, we are shown a world larger than this, with male characters that probably have names. But in the script, we only ever get to know the names of two living women and one dead man, and I think that says a little about this movies world.

    I’ve heard many anthropologist and evolutionary thinkers argue that in pre-civilization anarchistic society, the primary pillar and bearers of culture, language, jokes, basic education were women, simply out of necessity. They are the ones that are there with the children of the next generation, where as daddy is probably long off, try to get down with a new lady or getting into at fight with a deadly animal. Anyways – a bit of a tangent here – but I think this movie have a little bit of that feel to it… The men are just beast, the women are the furture.

    That’s also a bit of the feel I get from the last scene – that girl with 2 half arms, she still have a baby. That 2 mounts and 4 really crappy arms, but they’re on the inside, because they are the furture. As opposed to mister “Look at my cool hairstyle and paranoid shotgun wielding”

    Honestly, he did mange to open up a bit in the end, and he had som good in him, but the best thing that could ever happen to him, was probably still being turned to shishkebab.

    I think I really liked it. I’m a sucker for forest living, so enjoyed the intense cinamatopgraphy and beeing a place I wanted to be, evne if the character was jumpy, I was very relaxed.

    Overall – Great Flick – I enjoyed it. Could have played its cards a little closer to the chest maybe, no reason to make it so easy that even the old greybear to peek and get the
    thinc he can get it… but maybe I just missed the whole point and I am just talking nonsense, and then we back to the good old days!


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