'The Decline' / 'Jusqu'au déclin': Netflix's survivalist thriller is the escape you need in the current crisis

'The Decline' is a Canadian French thriller film directed by Patrice Laliberté and set in rural Nord-du-Québec about a group of people in a survivalist training camp turning against one other


                            'The Decline' / 'Jusqu'au déclin': Netflix's survivalist thriller is the escape you need in the current crisis
(Netflix)
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Spoilers for 'The Decline' aka 'Jusqu'au déclin' on Netflix

Perhaps a movie about a group of people isolating themselves in a far corner of the world is not the best idea amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, but 'The Decline' could serve as a cautionary tale during these trying times.

What that cautionary tale is might be interpreted differently by each viewer, but that's where the movie's success lies. 'The Decline' is a Canadian French thriller film on Netflix directed by Patrice Laliberté and set in rural Nord-du-Québec.

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As the movie begins, we see Antoine and his family quickly evacuate their home in the middle of the night, taking everything they have deemed necessary, including Antoine's daughter's pet turtle. It turns out, Antoine is preparing himself and his family to be ready for any situation — be it an economic crash or a natural disaster.

Later, Antoine watches a video with his daughter on how to preserve rice as they do the same. The video is by a man named Alain who conducts survivalist training camps.

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Antoine goes for Alain's training camp where he meets Francois, David, Rachel, Sebastian and Helene. Among them, Francois is the only one who has not been part of this kind of training camp — something that shows through the movie.

Alain's retreat is prepared with everything including solar panels for power, a chicken coop, a greenhouse, extra wood, an emergency shed and even booby traps to catch intruders and animals. On the first day, Alain takes everyone through his land.

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It is quite telling to help us know what this group is preparing for. More than natural disasters, this group of predominantly white people are worried about climate refugees, who they believe will come to take their land.

Alain sees this group and himself as "lucid citizens with a common ideal." He tells them that they need to work hard together. From there on, the group takes part in multiple activities designed by Alain to train them.

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There is a target practice activity where they are paired up — we see Antoine and Rachel excel at this. There is hunting — Alain shows them a captured rabbit and teaches them what can be eaten and how it can be prepared — something Francois is unable to do.

'The Decline' (Netflix)

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In the final activity, before things go south, Alain teaches them how to make bombs. Once the activity is done, while Alain and Sebastian head to prepare dinner, the rest of them carry the equipment back. However, something goes wrong and as Francois carries it to the storage, the bomb explodes in his hands killing him.

From there, everyone falls apart. Antoine, Rachel, Helene and Sebastian want to call an ambulance. However, Alain wants to bury him because he knows once the police get involved, he will get arrested for domestic terrorism.

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David steps up at this moment in support of Alain — earlier it was shown that he was a man with ego when he reacted badly to Rachel beating him — and tries threatening the group with a gun. When he doesn't succeed, Alain shoots Helene in the leg.

Soon, Sebastian falls prey to one of the booby traps set by Alain. Antoine and Helene manage to get away and survive for longer, but Antoine succumbs soon enough when it becomes clear that David is out for blood. David is taken out by Helene who literally beats him to death.

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'The Decline' is quite reminiscent of 'Revenge', the 2017 French rape and revenge action horror film where Jennifer, an American socialite, and her tormentors go on a hunting game of sorts.

'Revenge' had the iconic scene where Jennifer and another character, Richard, run in circles around the house drenched in blood, and while 'The Decline' does not have any similarly haunting scenes, it is still quite jarring and would leave viewers feeling stunned.

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Admittedly, watching a group of people murder one another while trapped in a location may not sound like the best thing to watch while in quarantine, but hey, perhaps it could make us thankful for the situation we are not in. 

'The Decline' aka 'Jusqu'au déclin' is now streaming on Netflix.

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