To be honest, it seems like there aren’t a whole lot of movies that can perfectly capture the fears, motivations, and aspirations, of the prepper movement. Obviously, there are a ton of post-apocalyptic movies that are put out every year, but these aren’t really made with preppers in mind. They mostly play out like your standard action/horror flick, and they often focus on people who are unprepared, since that makes for a more relatable story to the average viewer.
There’s nothing wrong with that, it just means that the movie industry isn’t very interested in preppers. We’re a fairly small demographic, so they make movies that might attract us, but they don’t really make movies just for us.
Coincidentally, the movie I’d like to share with you also wasn’t made with preppers in mind, but somehow it manages to perfectly capture the prepper experience. It’s completely unintentional. Writer and director Jeff Nichols set out to make a movie about human fear and anxiety, but wound up making something that I think most preppers can totally relate to. (Spoilers Ahead)
Take Shelter stars Michael Shannon as Curtis Laforche, a construction worker living in a small town with his wife and daughter. Unlike most preppers, he doesn’t start worrying about his future safety and security by reading the news. Instead, he is consumed by apocalyptic dreams and visions that compel him to start building a storm shelter in his back yard.
Here’s where the film becomes intensely relatable to preppers. Curtis starts stocking up on gear and supplies, and he’s working on this project at the expense of everything else in his life. He’s putting in all this money and effort into something that nobody else understands. He doesn’t even tell most people what he’s up to, because he knows they won’t believe him. He even hides these activities and expenditures from his wife. Raise your hand if you’ve ever done some clandestine prepping because people in your family think you’re crazy.
And while we’re on the subject of crazy, raise your hand if you’ve ever had some serious doubts about your prepping. It’s easy feel that way when society largely thinks that you’re overreacting, or when your (insert family, friends, neighbors) tell you that you’re being paranoid.
There’s a bit of that going on with Curtis, but his doubts stem from something far more frightening. He knows that his mother started to suffer from schizophrenia at around his age, and he isn’t sure if he’s suffering from the same condition. Are his visions a sign that he’s going crazy? Or are his prophetic dreams genuine? Some of the townsfolk certainly think he’s losing it. In one of the most memorable scenes, Curtis goes off on his friends and neighbors at a Lions Club meeting, for thinking he’s crazy and for not being prepared. When you hear this fiery speech, you’ll recognize it as the speech that most preppers wish they could give to their doubters.
I won’t spoil the ending, but I’ll say it definitely catches you off guard. If you’re looking for a real prepper movie, go see Take Shelter. It’s far more poignant and interesting than most of the post-apocalyptic films Hollywood is producing these days.