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Leave The World Behind is a little too realistic…

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Plattsburgh chapter.

Spoilers Down Below! By Brionne Thompson

Leave the world behind is a modern-day horror that needs to be given more attention. It has a futuristic tone and it’s definitely a slow burn movie. It has A-List stars like Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke and Kevin Bacon. This movie was directed by Sam Esmail and Executively produced by President Barack Obama. This movie has a concept of a world cyberattack on America, and the director Sam Esmail has talked about why this film is important, he states “…I specifically wanted to do one surrounding a cyberattack because I don’t think a lot of people have a concrete idea of what that would look like or how detrimental it would be, not just in America, but globally.”

This movie is about a mother, Amanda Sandford (Julia Roberts) who decides to go on a local get-away with her husband, Clay (Ethan Hawke) and 2 children. But, while she’s shopping for groceries for the AirBnb she rented, she notices a man packing his car with canned goods, and water. Later, when she arrives on the beach with her husband and kids, an oil tank washes up a little too close on shore. Worried enough, she takes her family back to their AirBnb, where none of their devices or TV are working due to having no Wi-Fi. During the night, the owner of the AirBnb G.H. Scott (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter, Ruth (Myha’la) arrive at the home looking for shelter because they are also having a blackout. Distrustful of others, Amanda asks him for his ID, and still prefers that they sleep in the basement of the house since she never got to speak to G.H. Scott on the phone, therefore not knowing his voice. Ruth notices Amanda’s distrust and frames it as racial prejudice.

Through the movie, we get to see the most opposing characters, Ruth and Amanda get over their differences and stick together. At first, they have a conversation about why Amanda judges people so easily, and Ruth explains that interpersonal relationships and good faith in people is what holds us together as a society, which seems to be an ongoing theme throughout the movie. I like that they give both perspectives of these characters and allow them to come to a middle ground early on in the film. It’s very rare with issues like prejudice in movies that two people from completely different perspectives have enough screen time without there being a fight or argument.

One of the most likable and friendly characters in this movie is Clay. He is very trusting of others, especially when G.H. and his daughter arrived. After their first night in the house, Clay decides to venture out to another grocery store to try and talk to someone about this outage. On his way, he pulls over to meet a spanish-speaking woman out on the highway. This is the scariest part of the movie in my opinion, especially because there were no subtitles…which I think was the director’s choice. When Clay rolled down the window, the lady was exasperated and scared. She screamed in Spanish that Clay was the only person around for miles, and that there were planes dropping red dust, claiming there might be a chemical attack. She also explained that there were about 50 deers running near her, and she needed to find a way home. You can watch the clip here. Worried, Clay tries to conversate, but he can’t use his translator on his phone because there is no Wi-Fi. He eventually panics and drives off, leaving the woman begging him not to leave her alone. This scene shows how lost we’d be without technology.

Since there is no Wi-Fi, there begins to be news alerts claiming there may be hackers involved, and there begins to be animals not following their regular migrating processes. There begins to be deer everywhere, even flamingoes invading their pool. While Clay is still driving off, there are pamphlets of letters in Arabic translating in “Death to America”, that he shows to his family in fear when he arrives back home. Meanwhile, G.H. investigates his neighbors home and sees a plane crash nearby, and then soon after is seen running away from another plane falling down. This scene made me especially sad for those being on a plane and how technology really controls our entire lives and what we do.

Another really super creepy scene that made my bones chill—the Tesla scene. Since most technology is down, the main ways into the city were held up by traffic of white Teslas that drove themselves without anyone being in the car. I’m usually a person who is all for technology making our lives easier but this film definitely serves as a wake up call. It really shows us that we don’t really all control our lives anymore, I mean even in our retail stores they are starting to have less cashiers and only electronic self-checkouts.

In conclusion, Leave the World Behind is less of a horror movie and more of an examination of our tech-controlled society. I think it’s definitely a movie to be watched for a second time without being too boring, because of how much symbolism is in this movie.

Brionne Thompson

Plattsburgh '26

Hi! Im a sophomore at SUNY Plattsburgh! I am a Journalism major, and I am from Yonkers, NY. If I’m not writing, I can be found scrolling through Pinterest, making too many vision boards and reading mystery novels.