Top 10 Survival Lessons from World War Z

Top 10 Survival Lessons from World War Z

Producer Brad Pitt recently released a big budget movie based on the popular apocalyptic zombie book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and starring…you guessed it, Brad Pitt.  I had a chance to see World War Z recently and have condensed the survival lessons presented down to the… Top 10 Survival Lessons from World War Z.

In addition to a big name cast headed by Brad Pitt as United Nations Inspector turned stay-at-home dad Gerry Lane and Mireille Enos as Karen Lane (not to mention a wonderful supporting cast for the international scenes) it has special effects so amazing that they took years to develop.

As I recall the book was written as a faux history based on oral interviews conducted after the recovery from a zombie war.  It was essentially a series of vignettes describing how different groups of survivors got through zombie plague.  Pitt’s movie draws on the environment developed by Max Brooks in his book for inspiration but is essentially a different story following Pitt’s character as he travels around the world searching for a cure to the zombie epidemic.

I’ve written before about how the proliferation of the zombie phenomenon is likely due to the fact that it’s a safe way for the average Joe to think about a collapse or TEOTWAWKI event in a relatively non-threatening way.  Think about that for a minute… with a zombie apocalypse the only thing you have to prepare for is animated corpses that don’t compete with you for resources… other than your own skin.

Warning:  Minor Spoilers Ahead

Top 10 Survival Lessons from World War Z

  1. World War Z HallwaySurvivors Adapt Quickly:  InWorld War Z, Pitt’s character is able to adapt his mindset very quickly when the zombie hoards first appear because of his character’s experiences in the Bosnian and Liberian civil wars.  In one scene Pitt’s character even offers to help a family escape an infected apartment building but they perish because they can’t adapt and just want to wait until things go back to normal.
  2. Survivors Fight:   Your momma lied to you when she told you that ‘violence never solved anything’ …when someone attacks you or your family, fighting back is likely the only way to survive if that person…or zombie is bent on your death or destruction.
  3. Survivors Turn Off Their Cellphones:  There’s a reminder before the movies now to turn off your cellphone and that’s just to keep from annoying the other patrons.  Can you imagine what happens when your wife calls to check up on you and you’re not surrounded by moviegoers, but by the ravenous undead.  Seriously though, if you’re in a situation where it would be dangerous or deadly if you were distracted…turn the thing off.  That also goes for alarmed watches and any other mechanical or electric items that might alert someone (or thing) bent on your destruction.
  4. First Responders Have Families Too:  There’s a great scene in World War Z where Pitt’s character uses a gun to defend his wife from human monsters and looks up to see a police officer charging at him.  He immediately prepares to surrender to the peace officer who rushes right past him to grab the last of the baby food.  When widespread disaster strikes expect most first responders to be helping their own loved ones, not yours… would you do any different?
  5. “Movement Is Life:”  There’s a great line that Pitt’s character says at one point in the movie that “movement is life” and I agree that it may be true sometimes…but it’s certainly not an axiom.  Knowing whether to move or hunker down is the true survival lesson.  For example…hurricane is on it’s way, move inland…hurricane is here, hunker down.
  6. Your Network Is a Survival Tool:  Human being are social animals and sometimes the only way to survive is with the help of your personal network.  In World War Z Pitt’s character gets his family out of the city thanks to the help of his former boss at the United Nations.
  7. Stock Your Car:  You never know when the tornado, tsunami, earthquake, terrorist attack or even zombie attack (at least for the sake of this article) can happen.  Pitt’s character’s family is caught up in the zombie attack wave while riding in the family car, they had no food, no water, no tools, no spare clothing and no way to defend themselves.  I don’t care whether you call it a Get Home Bag, a Bug Out Bag, a 72 Hour Kit or a Go Bag but stock your car up just in case.  If you’re a walker, bike rider or mass transit commuter then you’ll have to think much smaller but you can supplement whatever supplies and equipment you are able to carry.
  8. No Guns For Amateurs:  In a stressful situation don’t EVER give a firearm to anyone who hasn’t been trained in their safe and effective use…it can end very badly!  Additionally, if you give a seasoned shooter a weapon they haven’t fired before or recently…spend a minute familiarizing them with it or letting them familiarize themselves with it.
  9. Take Drugs:  No, I don’t mean get high…I mean if there are any drugs or medical devices you or your family members rely on to live…keep extra on you, in your Bug Out Bag, in your desk or workbench at work, etc.
  10. Improvise:  In World War Z there are several scenes where characters fashion makeshift zombie armor on their arms and legs with items like magazines.  When faced with novel situations, don’t be afraid to try novel approaches but I’m not so sure about that kitchen knife bayonet pictured above.

World War Z Zombie Ants

Brad Pitt’s World War Z is different than any other movie in the genre in a number of ways.  It’s budget, scope, acting, sets (if you can call the city of Jerusalem a set) special effects and lack of gore all transcend the genre.  Check it out, I think you’ll like it, but beware as one of the characters laments…””Mother Nature is a serial killer…”

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