In Quibi's Survive, Jane (Sophie Turner) is a privileged girl who wants to end her life, when she survives a plane crash with a nice, non-suicidal guy named Paul (Corey Hawkins). They have to trek through the snowy mountains to survive. Wasn't there a more expensive version of this movie that starred Kate Winslet and Idris Elba? Oh yeah, there was. It was called The Mountain Between Us and it didn't have any suicidal ideation. I don't know why I do this to myself. After sitting through the first segments of the mediocre The Most Dangerous Game, I decided to look at Survive. Surely it couldn't be worse, right? Man, I didn't know how seriously wrong I was. Just a quick heads-up to start: this review contains discussions of suicide. Avoid reading if you are triggered. Definitely avoid watching Survive if you are triggered by any mention or depictions of suicide attempts.
Like The Most Dangerous Game, Survive is a movie chopped up into 7 or 8-minute segments for the Quibi app. The first segments of the movie depict Jane's suicidal mindset in the most mawkish, romanticized, crass, self-aggrandizing manner that just feels wrong. There's no context or reason for why she's suicidal other than that her father and grandmother were suicides. That's not really how it works. She leaves a young people's facility to fly home, but plans to overdose on the flight. Then just as she's about to down the pills in the bathroom, her plane crashes. Everything about this is crass, clichéd and contrived. Jane and Paul are ciphers. She's the stereotype of a moody, suicidal self-pitying girl with no context. Paul is just… a nice guy. He pep-talks her to keep going and survive. That seems to be all there is to the characters and the story.
Someone Thought Survive Was a Good Idea
The depiction of Jane's suicidal ideation is even worse than what Netflix did with 13 Reasons Why. It makes being suicidal look slick with quick cuts, flashy colors and pop video montages. She finds her strength and the will to live from being forced to survive in the wild after a plane crash. All it took was for everyone else to die. Really. This is cringingly wrongheaded and awful. Who does Quibi think this movie is for? Suicidal millennials who watched Game of Thrones? If you're suicidal, Quibi is the last thing you should be watching. It might erode your faith in humanity so much it'll make you even more depressed. Who thought anyone would want to watch Suicidal Sansa Stark?! Even getting in a plane crash doesn't improve her mood!
Quibi is Misreading Its Audience
I rooted around the Quibi shows and found nothing that's a must-see. The selection of material (derivative dramas, obvious dumb comedies, copycat talk shows, and game shows) is all inessential. They also seem to think their audience consists of shallow, brain-dead, celebrity millennials. Even the news shows, including one made by the BBC, are horribly empty of social and political context. It's like the app wants to be opium for the really dumb masses. I get the feeling Quibi has actual contempt for its audience. Do they honestly believe everyone wants to watch Chrissy Teigen cosplay as Judge Judy? Or an even more mean-spirited version of Punk'd? The teenagers and millennials Quibi wants to attract already have streamers that are free. Quibi offers nothing that YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, and TikTok don't already offer, and with more substance. They have no real incentive to pay a subscription fee for the also-ran content on Quibi. Why would they download it when they already have all those other services on their phones?