What do you do when you live in an age of renewed Trumpian nuclear anxiety and wish to express the doomed future of the youth therein? If you’re William Scoular, you make Survival Box, a film so navel-gazing in its execution that, by the end of its runtime, it can only be described as an answer to a question no one asked.
The first act of the film resembles a Sofia Coppola film, and that is not an accident. Survival Box is hardly a film, instead taking the form of a collage of better-known works to hide its own inadequacy; the sort of film that cannot be adequately described without references to a dozen films that came before it. In the foreground of Trump’s America, this act sees a group of young people getting ready to party after their high school graduation.
This party conveniently takes place in an inactive underground bomb shelter. When seven of our teenagers wander in, the shelter suddenly shuts down, trapping them inside. Is it a false alarm? Has the world indeed come to an end? What follows is about an hour of Riverdale-esque melodrama in a Lord of the Flies package. There are inner struggles, weird anti-choice elements, and a healthy dose of emotionless should-they-shouldn’t-they questions of what to do next.
Despite its average runtime, Survival Box may make you feel like you have been stuck underground with the characters for the entire five months of the narrative. Once the credits role, you may also find yourself breathing a sigh of relief; not because of the claustrophobia of the film, but rather because you realize you can finally leave.
If Survival Box still sounds like it would be up your alley, you would honestly be better off watching one of the films it attempts to be or reminds you of.
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Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam