SHTFlix: Why The Road Shouldn’t Be on Anyone’s List of Great Prepper Movies


SHTFlix: Why The Road Shouldn’t Be on Anyone’s List of Great Prepper Movies

This post is the first in a new series called SHTFlix, in which I take short looks at movies and TV shows found on Netflix from a prepping/survivalism perspective. I’ve stocked up my Netflix queue with a bunch of SHTF movies and TV shows, and as I work my way through them, I’ll post my thoughts here.

I finally got around to watching The Road this week. What a great movie. It dealt with some of the same themes and used some of the same language (e.g. “carrying fire”) as another favorite of mine, No Country for Old Men. This is unsurprising, because both movies are based on novels by Cormac McCarthy. But as great of a movie as The Road is, about fifteen minutes into it I was totally mystified as to how it has ended up on so many “Best Prepper Movie” lists on the Internet.

I don’t pretend have a list of everything that makes for a good prepper movie, but surely if there is such a list, then somewhere on it is a criterion like “I watched it and learned something about how to prepare for this type of disaster, or one vaguely similar.”

With this in mind, I’m asking myself: are preppers watching this and thinking, “Yes, having watched this movie I’m now better prepared to be one of the last people on earth to starve to death. In the event that all plant and animal life on the planet die off, the last one to starve to death wins!”

I don’t know what sort of disaster McCarthy had in mind here. It looks to me like a particularly nasty super volcano is the most likely culprit, but I can also imagine an asteroid strike causing similar devastation. In any case, anything that involves the death of all the trees and animals is just not the kind of thing that anyone sane preps for. Eventually the canned food is going to run out, and if there are no plants or animals left, then it’s curtains for you and yours. In such a scenario, the difference between preppers and non-preppers would be this: non-preppers would starve to death after a few weeks of abject, hopeless misery, and peppers would starve to death after a few months or years of abject, hopeless misery and fighting off cannibals. Who really sounds better off, here?

Ultimately, in watching The Road I didn’t learn anything about prepping. I also wasn’t encouraged to prep, nor was I really forced to think through any kind of realistic prepping scenario.

But maybe I’m a weirdo. Maybe there are preppers out there who watched the movie and thought, “This movie really forced me to think through a scenario wherein I may have to shoot my own child in order to save him from being eaten alive by redneck cannibals, and for that I am grateful, because otherwise I probably would not have considered all the angles of that particular scenario and I wouldn’t be fully prepared for it.”

If the above describes you, then I suppose I salute your, um, thoroughness. And if it doesn’t describe you, but you still feel that The Road is a prepper classic, then please, enlighten me in the comments. What am I missing?

By way of conclusion, I will admit that the movie did affect my prepping in one small way: it reaffirmed my desire to pack up me and mine and drive directly toward the site of any impending asteroid strike or supervolcano explosion, just so that we don’t accidentally survive the initial cataclysm and end up like Viggo Mortensen’s family.

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billj is currently a writer for AllOutdoor who has chosen not to write a short bio at this time.

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