I subscribed to Netflix over New Year’s Eve to watch the viral movie “Leave the World Behind”.
The movie is loosely based on a 2020 novel written by Rumaan Alam.
As someone in the preparedness world before the term” prepper” became popular, I feel qualified to critique this film.
I hold an amateur (ham) radio license, have trained in Ares (Amateur Radio Emergency System), was a home health nurse in some of the more remote areas of Central Idaho, lived off-grid for 3 years (we moved and are working towards off grid living again), attended wilderness medicine classes and have taught medical prep and food storage locally over the past 20 plus years. These qualifications give me a perspective that may not be popular, albeit a more accurate view of this film’s validity.
Here is a summary of this movie for those who haven’t seen it: Family rents an upscale home for a vacation. They live in New York, and the vacation home is on Long Island, not too far from NYC. At first, everything seemed idyllic. There is a pool, the home is nestled in the woods, and no nearby neighbors. The lights and internet are working. Over hours, the internet stops working. Late at night, the owner (George, or G.H.) of the house and his daughter arrive, stating New York is experiencing a blackout and asking to stay. Eventually, we learn that George has a high-ranking client in the Department of Defense who warned him of an impending cyberattack. We never learn who the official is and how George knows him; we only know that he is his client.
As the film progresses, the family encounters a series of events and encounters that show what NOT to do if/when a large-scale cyberattack hits a major city.
I have only listed a few discrepancies:
Excessive alcohol consumption. In the film, the adults are constantly drinking. Alcohol impairs the mind, dehydrates, and lowers immunity. These reasons alone are enough reason to limit or eliminate alcohol consumption during a grid-down scenario of any kind. Storing high-proof alcohol for making tinctures is a good idea, however.
Cigarette smoking- The wife purchases a pack of cigarettes for the husband “since they are on vacation”. The reality is that if someone has a nicotine addiction, either stock up or quit smoking immediately. Just like alcohol use, nicotine withdrawal during times of extreme stress isn’t ideal.
They waited too long to fill up the bathtub for water storage. A cyberattack can take out the controls and electricity in the municipal water system, leaving only a day or so for gravity-fed water to flow out of the faucets. And even then, the water could be contaminated or poisoned.
One sobering true-to-life example was the February 2021 cyberattack on the Oldsmar, Florida municipal water supply- twice in one day. Hackers attempted to increase the chemical sodium hydroxide, known as lye, to 100 times its normal levels. Cyberattacks on our water supply are the deadliest, potentially wiping out entire communities or towns. You can often not see or smell chemicals put into the water and could inadvertently drink the poisoned water. The EPA and other government agencies take this threat seriously and are working to prevent or mitigate these attacks.
Stock up on water, at least 3 gallons per person for a week, more if you have room.
The movie attributes the teenage son Archie’s teeth falling out to an infected bug or tick bite, causing Lyme disease. However, this storyline is not plausible. Lyme disease doesn’t cause vomiting or teeth to fall out. Archie did run a fever, however, indicating an infection.
It has been speculated that his teeth fell out because of sound warfare, like the 2016-2017 attack on Cuban Embassy where officials were exposed to weaponized microwaves.
According to the book’s storyline, Archie’s mother’s teeth also started loosening. (I haven’t read the book). The agonizing, undisclosed sound that pierced the ears and caused anguish to the families and was heard several times during the movie gives credence to this theory.
Prepper neighbor sells antibiotics- for $1,000.00. The prepper neighbor sells Archie’s dad some random antibiotics to save his son’s life. This is about the most ridiculous part of the entire movie. There was no information on the antibiotic and what it was effective against. Was it the correct dose? How often to take? Could Archie be allergic to the antibiotic? So many unanswered questions. Antibiotics aren’t to be given randomly. Each one has a specific mechanism of action and use. Don’t play Russian roulette with your family’s health.
Get the Jase Case, prescription antibiotics tailored to your and your family’s needs. It is only a matter of WHEN, not IF, a cyberattack will take down our fragile grid.
- Brooke Lounsbury, RN
Medical Content Writer
Keeping you informed and safe.
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