So, this weekend is the Oscars. But instead of offering trip ideas that highlight this year’s contenders, I’d rather highlight another kind of movie-centric inspiration: the kind that makes you want to hide under the covers and cancel your upcoming camping (or hiking or caving or diving) trip, thanks to the horror unfolding on the screen. Here, five movies to avoid watching before you’re heading out for your next adventure via land, sea, or air.
Big, bad wolves steal the show of this bone-chilling movie, which also stars Liam Neeson as a burly leader of a group of oil riggers stranded in the Alaskan wilderness after a plane crash. While the men battle the elements, they also must fend off a pack of ruthless, bloodthirsty wolves hell-bent on eviscerating them. Critics raved, but, not surprisingly, animal rights activists and conservationists howled, boycotting the movie and claiming that it provokes unnecessary fear (and killing) of wolves, which almost never attack humans.
Even so, I dare you to try not to cower the next time you hear a wolf howl.
While any movie that involves a horrific plane crash is highly inadvisable within a few weeks of boarding a plane, the gruesome tale of survivors of an ill-fated flight over the Chilean Andes will have you seriously white-knuckling the armrests at the slightest hint of turbulence over the middle of nowhere. The 1993 survival drama is actually based on a book published back in 1974. Upon realizing the search party to find them has been called off, the survivors, who include several members of a Uruguayan rugby team, face the grim task of eating the dead bodies of fellow passengers, not to mention warding off frostbite in below-freezing temperatures.
Mix some buff, badass babes, a seriously scary cave, and the flesh-eating predators that dwell within it, and the result will surely give any spelunker pause before exploring their next cavern. This well-executed horror flick about a girls-only caving trip gone terribly wrong touches on the underlying fears of any underground expedition: falls, injuries, equipment failure, and claustrophobia – and then adds some nightmarish predators that make the I Am Legend zombies look like beauty queens. The trailer alone is guaranteed to make you look a little closer into dark corners on your next subterranean adventure.
The surprise hit of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival provided a grim reminder for dive boat operators everywhere to triple-check their headcounts. That’s because an error doing just that sparked this terrifying based-on-reality tale: In 1998, American couple Tom and Eileen Lonergan disappeared off the Great Barrier Reef after a diving company accidentally left them behind in shark-infested waters. The screen interpretation is a disturbing thriller about the psychological and physical tortures the couple (spoiler alert: whose bodies were never found) endure upon surfacing and seeing nothing but open water. My advice: This is definitely one to skip if you’re considering PADI certification anytime in the near future.
The Blair Witch Project
Whether you loved it or hated it, the budget box-office smash that kicked off the trend for found-footage flicks perfectly captured the terror of being lost in the woods. The storyline goes like this: A trio of obnoxious film students head off into the wilderness to make a movie about a local urban legend called the Blair Witch. They never come back, and the footage of their terrifying fate was eventually made into the “documentary.” Forget Jason, Michael Myers, and the other homicidal maniacs of horror lore: The villains here – the creepier-than-ever woods and the always-unseen evil lurking within it – are the stuff of countless campers’ nightmares.
What movies did we forget? Tell us about them in the comments!
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