Survival Quest

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"In the wilderness you can’t call 911."
  • R
  • 1989
  • 1 hr 36 min
  • 6.0  (1,201)

Survival Quest is a 1988 adventure film directed by Don Coscarelli and starring Lance Henriksen, Mark Rolston, and Steve Antin. The movie features a group of city-dwelling, white-collar workers who embark on a "survival quest" led by Hank (Henriksen), an experienced outdoorsman. The group consists of a collection of diverse individuals defying the stereotypical yuppie. Each character brings their strengths and insecurities, which gradually unfold throughout the journey. They enter an unknown forest wilderness, far from civilization, to learn basic survival skills such as foraging, hunting, and building shelter.

The film begins with the leader of the group, Gray (Rolston), approaching a group of homeless people, looking for advice on how to survive in the wilderness. The group of homeless people points Gray in the direction of Hank, who runs a wilderness survival course for people looking for an adventure. Gray and his fellow participants sign up for the course with the expectation of experiencing the thrill of roughing it, but soon realize that surviving in the wilderness is too big a challenge to undertake carelessly.

Hank warns the group that the wilderness can be unforgiving, and as soon as they set foot in the forest, the group begins struggling to adjust to their newfound environment. Soon, they find themselves at the mercy of the wild and left with only their wits and each other's company. In the wilderness, the group encounters a variety of challenges, including a fierce river, steep cliffs, and dangerous wildlife. Even with Hank's guidance, the group's struggles escalate to the point where they begin questioning Hank's authenticity as a guide.

The movie has a lot of character development, where each person brings their unique problems from the city into the forest. For example, a stockbroker named Gray is dealing with a lot of stress in his personal and professional life. In the wilderness, Gray finds himself acting in a much different way than he would in the city, where his wealth provides him with social status. Their survival becomes increasingly important as the group finds themselves stranded in the wilderness with limited supplies and no means of communication.

The film is shot with a mix of adrenaline-fueled action and quiet exploration, often highlighting the importance of teamwork and trust. The journey brings the survivors closer together, and the ensemble cast gives good performances. The characters are interesting, and the story keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. The group's captivation with the wilderness emerges with their experiences and budding admiration and respect for the natural world.

Survival Quest is an underappreciated film due to overshadowing by more prominent survivalist films of the era, such as Deliverance (1972) and Cliffhanger (1993). Unlike the other survivalist films, however, Survival Quest is less about enduring physical challenges and more about the journey of self-reliance and discovery. The movie is unique in its message that nature can be both beautiful and unforgiving, but it often rewards those who show respect and care.

In conclusion, Survival Quest is an adventure story that focuses on the psychological effects of experiencing the great outdoors. The movie is about the melding of personalities and the complex relationship between humans and the natural world. The movie is worth watching for its blend of engaging characters, great performances, and captivating story. In the end, the group's quest for survival in the wilderness comes not just from physical endurance but from their ability to work together, rely on each other, and overcome their individual weaknesses.

Survival Quest
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 36 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.0  (1,201)