“Leave the World Behind”

Hector Santana
4 min readMar 24, 2024


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If you have not seen the movie, do not read this story. I do not want to spoil it for you. But in my small world several folks I know had nothing but praise for this Netflix movie. Of course, after some time I was curious to see what all the fanfare was about. Online, lots of folks loved the movie’s plot and held it up as a model for what to do, or not do-depending on who you ask.

The movie portrays a Brooklyn family on vacation to a luxurious house in the middle of nowhere (Long Island), when they are interrupted by a series of bizarre, unexplained events. An oil tanker crashes onto the beach, the owners of their vacation rental return to the house and explain that they are escaping a blackout in New York City. What seems like a cyberattack is keeping them from communicating with anyone or getting any news. Everyone is bewildered by the events, and no one is aware of what is happening anywhere- not even where they are located. Yes, it's that bad.

Now having seen the movie, I can say that it is a very well-done piece on what would happen if everyone suddenly disappeared. However, I had my doubts about how an entire population in a small town, and its transient vacationers (it was summer) would suddenly disappear. First off, where did all the people go? Where were all the folks that would have been on the roads trying to get out of the area. That would have been happening even if by foot. The roadway scenes only had one lady on the road and that was an excellent example of how not being able to communicate will leave you in the lurch. That’s because sadly, she was left behind by the nicest guy in the movie. Ok, the cast was somewhat boring and seemed ill matched, but that might have been intentional because it brought a sense of craziness to the movie.

The strange deer and flamingo sightings and the mysterious music made for some tense moments. Did those things stand out? Yes, but not until after the movie. Thats because I was absorbed by what I did not know in the movie, which was plenty. My brain was like, nah but my eyes were like, keep going. Nearly to the end, you did not know what was causing all of this calamity.

That Tesla attack was a stroke of genius. I loved the focus on self-driving cars that could ultimately be used as a weapon by our adversaries. Notice that all of the Tesla’s were new, meaning they were never programed by owners and therefore more susceptible to electronic tampering. While that was a nice touch, it would seem impossible for them to operate after an Electro Magnetic Pulse. Something that more than likely would have destroyed all of their communications as well. Yes, everyone was completely incommunicado, meaning no way to talk to anyone electronically.

The movie was great at representing the complex needs of people of different socio-economic means and education. Both families were as far as you were going to get from each other, but in a time of calamity, they had to make it work. Much like in real life. Yes, if I owned a house in the sticks that I rented out and shit hit the fan, I would absolutely bug out to that location. And yes, if I had rented that house and its owners came knocking to stay there, I would absolutely be guarded and puzzled by what is going on. Would I stay there with them, yes because not knowing and leaving is more dangerous than knowing and staying.

Of course, I would not get drunk during such a situation and no, I would not have walked in the woods without long pants and yes, I would have identification at home to prove who I was. But the bottom line is the movie is believable. It does conjure up images of what life would be like if all of our technology just stopped working. The scene with Kevin Bacon was a great portrayal of what could happen between friends as the two men confronted each other for the medication needed to treat the boy's apparent radiation related condition. Kevin’s reaction was completely understandable given all the uncertainty. But it is also a good example of what can happen when too many people know what you have.

That is why as a prepper, you must be discrete about your preparations. Only sharing the preps with folks, you know are going to be part of your trust group. Having said that, ultimately Kevin Bacon did give them the pills they needed, but he had to be convinced and of course paid. Proof that cash will still be important in a SHTF situation. Ironically, the movie portrays sex as an important thing on the mind of the perky teenage boy who spent considerable time checking out the lusty daughter of the property owner. Yes, teenage boys will still be horny even in an end of the world situation. Go figure.

The movie takes twist and turns but ultimately comes back to the message that when people need each other they will find ways to co-exist, even if they are worlds apart in their day to day lives. A great message considering the divides we face as a society today. Is it a model for what to do in a SHTF situation? No, but overall, I am happy to say that it was a great watch, but yes, like many, I was a little perturbed by the lackluster ending. It would have been nice to know who won the war…



Hector Santana

*Top Writer-Camping and Survival. I love to write about the great outdoors, survival and foreign policy. An avid outdoorsman and survival instructor.