MOVIE: Survival Quest (1989)

If you’ve read my write-up on Les Stroud and Bear Grylls, you already know I’m somewhat obsessed with learning how to survive in the wild. My obsession has even gotten to the point where I just shelled out fourteen bucks to subscribe to Backpacker Magazine simply because I so thoroughly enjoy its frequent articles (and usually even a full issue a year!) about wilderness survival. That might not sound that odd, until I point out that A) I don’t backpack; B) I don’t hike; and C) I don’t particularly enjoy camping all that much. (To paraphrase comedian Drake Witham, I try to avoid activities where the primary goal is to live through them.)

There are two explanations for why I seek out books, movies, magazines, or TV shows about survival. The first is because a lot of survival stuff is SCIENCE stuff, and I’m a total nerd. And the second is because I love stories about people overcoming adversity using their brains. What I lack in brawn, I tooootally make up for in gray matter, and it’s nice to know that can come in handy from time to time.

Anyway, this movie is one of the “Watch Instantly” selections on Netflix, and now that I have a Roku Netflix Player, I’m watching a LOT of stuff I never would’ve seen otherwise. I LOVE that gadget — it was practically designed for me, as a matter of fact, as I’d estimate that a good 90% of what’s available on “Watch Instantly” is bad movies and 80’s TV.

Which is, in turn, about 80% of what I watch routinely anyway.

HEAVEN, people!

This movie is a prime example of the “Watch Instantly” options, too. By which I mean, WOW, is it ever bad. And WOW, is that ever some 80’s hair in it! It’s like the most perfect combination of awesome awfulness ever. The only downside is that Lance Henriksen is in it and there’s nary a Sasquatch or Yeti to be seen. More’s the pity.

Alas, I digress.

This flick is about a group of people (ages ranging from about 17 to 60) who have signed up for a several-weeks-long course on wilderness survival called “Survival Quest.” Led by expert Hank (Lance “I Love Bigfoot Movies” Henriksen), the group starts with some trust-building exercises and then quickly heads out into the woods to learn how to build fires, evade bears, and forage for protein-rich edibles (insert ubiquitous worm-eating scene here).

One of the group’s members is a sullen young prisoner (played by Dermot Mulroney, who I barely recognized because of his mullet), and everybody else in the group fears him at first, assuming that he is a nasty, mean, sonovabeeyotch juvenile delinquent, even though the reality is he’s just super misunderstood, you know?

Sullen Young Prisoner gets a chance to redeem himself, though, when the group encounters a bunch of crazy soldiers out on a training exercise who decide nothing could be more fun than tormenting the cute li’l campers. When one of them goes nuts and starts a-killin’, our group of intrepid Survival Questers must band together to get out of the woods alive.

Oh, the dialogue! Oh, the hair! Oh, the outfits! Oh. . . my God, is that CATHERINE KEENER? IT IS! THAT’S CATHERINE KEENER!

Seriously, this movie is totally dope.

I can’t believe I just said that.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Drama
Cast: Lance Henriksen, Catherine Keener (!), Dermot Mulroney (!), Paul Provenza, Steve “YOU GOONIE!” Antin, Mark Rolston


One Response to “MOVIE: Survival Quest (1989)”

  1. Catherine Says:

    All you really need to survive in the wilderness is MacGyver.

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