In this organic post-apocalyptic drama, first-time filmmaker Stephen Fingleton’s main character, known merely as the Survivalist, struggles for his existence on a makeshift farm. He lives in isolation and guards his crops closely, fearing marauding gangs. When Kathryn and her daughter Milja wander into his life looking for food and shelter his carefully ordered world is upset. As the three of them start their restless co-existence, suspicion and dependence intertwine and allegiances shift from day to day. Self-preservation takes on a new meaning as each new mouth stretches the capacity of the farm, and the masked raiders are never too far off.
Fingleton deftly navigates the conventions of the genre by keeping the focus on the farm and its surrounding areas, and so, relies on emotions over special effects. The pared down aesthetic and simplicity of the setting provides an authentic backdrop to this taut drama. By presenting more questions than answers, The Survivalist is a gripping exploration of our most primal instinct—survival at any cost.