Nobody does incredulous impracticality where it’s ultimately hard to suspend your disbelief quite like Hollywood.
And it’s not just for B-rated action/adventure/science fiction movies where the tone allows for things to get silly like in every single Fast and the Furious movie that has something defying physics, but it’s also serious films that just get it totally wrong.
Here are some of the worst survival skills that movies taught you.
Do you remember Ridley Scott’s Academy Award nominated blockbuster, The Martian, starring Matt Damon as an astronaut who gets left behind on Mars?
The opening to the movie shows a violent storm and Mark Watney (Damon) getting blown away by the weather forcing the crew to leave him there.
This is what’s known as the inciting incident where the movie is in stasis and then suddenly something happens that sets the movie in motion.
The thing about The Martian in that particular scene is that even the most violent “storms” on Mars would only feel like a light breeze to humans.
The event that sets the movie into motion is scientifically incorrect and when you consider how much science was the justification for every action that characters make in the film, it’s not just unforgivable, it’s reckless.
A lot of movies are like that with asinine ways of doing certain survival skills that are embarrassingly untrue and, in some cases, could cost peoples’ lives in the real world.
To name which movies have scenes where a medical practitioner, albeit whether it’s a doctor, nurse or EMT, have performed CPR incorrectly, you could probably watch the entire series of Breaking Bad.
First of all, the filmmakers act like CPR takes a few seconds and then the person will magically be brought back to life – how many times do we need to see the cliché of a person drowning and spitting up the water?
But beyond that, CPR is almost exclusively meant for prolonging a life and rarely is it used to bring someone back to life. As in, you do it until you have the equipment that can bring them back to life.
Rubbing Frostbitten Skin
There are a lot of movies that take place in the cold that use the weather as one of the protagonist/antagonist combos i.e., Man vs. Man, Man vs. Himself and Man vs. Nature – this one being the last.
Battling the cold through hypothermia and frostbite exists in, again, too many movies to name. You might come across a clueless character that insists the best way to combat frostbite is to rub the skin with either your hands or clothing.
That’s wrong and dangerous. Frostbite occurs when ice crystals form on your body and the literal worst thing you can do is to rub it because it’ll cause tissue damage.
Drinking Alcohol to Warm Up
“Here, drink this. This’ll warm you up,” as the character hands another a bottle of alcohol in Untraceable, Bunner Sisters, The Slayer, The Thing, and Withnail & I.
It’s emphatically wrong. Firstly, although it seems like alcohol warms you up, it’s actually making your body colder. It causes your blood vessels to dilate and effectively makes you “think” you’re warm.
Also, it causes dehydration and your body needs that to combat freezing temperatures.
Eating Raw Meat or Seafood
Survival movies like Cast Away, The Edge, The Revenant and a slew of other movies have some character eating meat raw to stay alive. You are in the wilderness and your body needs sustenance, what else are you supposed to do?
The problem with that concept is eating meat raw – unless it’s properly cured or flash frozen can cause probable death and cripple any hope you have of escaping your environment.
In fact, eating raw meat is probably more dangerous than your environment. Learn to build a fire without any tools and if that doesn’t work, just remember the human body can survive weeks, even months, on just water.
Cut a Snakebite with Venom
This is in so many different movies and television shows like True Grit, Kung Fu and it’s honestly been a thing since the birth of the film medium.
The problem is that there is a higher risk of infection by creating a bigger wound and putting bacteria-laden human spit inside of it. Clean it, wrap it and you’ll probably survive most poisonous snakes.
Just remember not to put your life in a movie’s hands. Do the research about basic survival things that are depicted before you take it as a fact.
It might save your life.