UK, Northern Ireland, 2015, 109’
di Stephen Fingleton
con Martin McCann, Olwen Fouéré, Mia Goth, Barry Ward, Douglas Russell
A time of starvation. The Survivalist lives off a small plot of land hidden deep in forest, protecting his crop from intruders with his shotgun and improvised traps. But the long years alone have taken their toll on him, and he is beginning to lose his grip on reality. Everything changes when a starving woman and her teenage daughter discover the farm. Desperate for shelter, the mother offers up her daughter to spend the night with him in return for bed and board. Overcome with desire, Survivalist breaks his strict code of self-preservation and accepts them into his cabin.
“The Survivalist has the feel of a contemporary thriller. The science-fiction setting is in the background; it is primarily a situation thriller centred on characters who are less concerned with why the world has gone the way it has than simply surviving. The film avoids the now cliché vistas of collapsed urban environments or the genre- familiar expositional crawl and/or monologue, and dramatizes some specific outcomes of the calamity. The audience is invited to piece together the backstory of the world from the clues laid out in the story, becoming more invested and believing more in a world they discover for themselves rather than being told how it works. Whilst the film is set on the farm and in the surrounding forest, it takes place in a time of industrial collapse. Therefore I placed importance on every detail being plausible and able to convince the audience of the broader calamity – every detail needed to feel authentic. The nudity and violence are frank and the actors have the appropriate look for a time of prolonged malnutrition. The production design is detailed in such a way to allow the audience to pore over the screen for clues as to the world and the Survivalist’s backstory.” – Stephen Fingleton