After recently watching yet another zombie movie I started to wonder what would a post apocalyptic / “Shit Hits The Fan” future be like and have there been any movies that have accurately portrayed it? Let me just say upfront that I do not believe in zombies regardless of how popular the Walking Dead was and therefore will not be discussing the most effective way to kill them. I will on the other hand look at a few possibilities that might get us to the breakdown of all infrastructure, what would that look like and then run through a couple of movies that seemed to accurately portray this type of future.
It’s All About The Juice
The basic necessities that people have come to take for granted are electricity and running water. Of those, electricity is really the most important element of our daily lives. In fact, water purification and sewage removal only happen with electricity. All those pumps that move the water to and from your house, to the fire hydrants, fountains in the park, everywhere, use electricity. I live in Florida which is very a flat state and without help from my neighborhood pumping station moving the sewage to the treatment plant my toilets would back up pretty quickly.
So l would like to focus on that, the loss of electricity as the most important thing. Out of all the “Doomsday” events that could happen I think that the loss of electricity the most likely. Not because of an EMP pulse from alien ships or nuclear war that wipes out all the power plants but most likely some coordinated terrorist event. The “Electric Grid” that we think of is really three grids interconnected and the weak link in the grid is really the electric substation. This is where the main power lines step down the high voltage and distribute it to the city. The reality is that disabling a transformer at a substation and knocking out power to a city or region is not that hard, it’s already been done. A person with a rifle knocked out a transformer in Utah in 2016 and it took six months to have a replacement transformer made. Most transformers are also custom built for their location and therefore they take a long time to replace. The electric company was able to reroute the power but 13,000 customers still lost power for a day all because of one person with a hunting rifle.
I’ll list the movie and my reasons for why it may be an accurate portrayal of a society that has lost its infrastructure. Here are the top three.
The Survivalist: In this movie we are not really sure what happened to the population but the main character is living off the land in a small cabin growing his own crops. He is constantly on the lookout for people trying to steal his food or wanderers looking for opportunity. I feel that this could be a very real scenario and since most people in cities will eventually venture out looking for land of their own when the cities become too dangerous, if this is the case, this film would be very accurate.
The Road: I feel that this movie would be a realistic representation of what it would be like as the population migrates out of cities looking for food while trying to survive. These days the majority of people are middle men, ie; stock brokers, real estate agents, customer service agents, accountants and so on. All these professions make money from someone else, they don’t actually create anything. People that have physical skills such as farming or mechanics will be in demand and that will leave a lot of people scavenging for what they can find or take. The film follows a father and son as the venture to the sea looking for warmer climate.
Into The Forest: This film is probably the most accurate depiction of what would happen if the power goes off. In this film the electricity goes off unexpectedly and as the days stretch on people start to realize that it’s not coming back on. The film doesn’t explain how or why the power is off but people slowly figure out that they need to rely on themselves.
Other Movies to Mention
The Book of Eli: A great movie but didn’t make the list because the underlying event was a nuclear war.
Into the Wild: Another great movie but the main character chose to leave society which knocks it off the list. The movie was based on a true story though.
Here is a New Yorker story about Chris
10 Cloverfield Lane: An interesting film about living in a homemade survival shelter but it didn’t make the list because of the aliens.