TruPrep Movie Review: How It Ends (2018)

TruPrep Movie Review: How It Ends (2018)

Often people come into the store and talk about disaster and end of the world movies and how it relates to prepping and survival. Recently several folks have come in and asked, “have you seen How It Ends?” So finally last night I watched it on Netflix and here are my thoughts.

How It Ends is directed by David M. Rosenthal (A Single Shot) and stars Theo James (Divergent Series) and Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Starwars Story) and takes place in present day United States.

The story starts out with James’ character, Will Younger visiting his girlfriend’s parents in Chicago to ask permission to marry their daughter. The father (Whitaker), named Tom Sutherland, is reluctant to give permission to marry his daughter as he is a cautious man because of his 20-years training in the Marine Corps.  Younger calls his girlfriend in Seattle via Facetime to tell her how the night went with her parents when you hear a rumbling in the background and the girl friend says that there is something wrong then the phone cuts out.

The main characters then decide to drive from Chicago to Seattle to rescue Youngers girlfriend. The movie chronicles the problems of civil unrest, power outages, gas shortages and many other issues that arise after a disaster.



******SPOILER ALERT (Do not read below if you plan on seeing the movie)******

This movie basically takes place over 10-days with the disaster happening on the first with Younger and Sutherland traveling across the northwestern part of the US.

The journey begins with infrastructure slowly breaking down. The power goes out, people start to panic within a day and cash, gas and guns are king by the end of the 2nd day.

The duo get into a tangle with some fake cops early in their trek which causes damage to their Cadillac. So they are forced to barter for repair services in return for a seat in the car for the mechanic as she is trying to get her way to California.

During the incident with the fake cops Sutherland breaks some ribs which causes some internal injuries. His bug out bag is full of first aid goodies as well as a 9mm Sig. In a few of the shots you can see Sutherland wearing a paracord bracelet.

After a few more run-ins with gangs and thieves, Sutherland’s injuries really start to mount, and death is looming so he makes sure that Younger has the knowledge that he needs to survive and to rescue his daughter.    

Eventually Sutherland passes away and Younger makes it to Seattle. The city is covered in ash and is completely devastated. The girlfriend is nowhere to be seen but leaves an address on her front door of where she bugged out to.  Younger makes it to the address and finds his girlfriend and within 12-hours they are forced to leave again because of what looks to be a pyroclastic flow from Mount Saint Helens or another volcano close to the area.

This movie gets a lot of stuff right and some of stuff wrong in my opinion.  I believe that their journey would be a lot harder than they made it out to be in the movie.  The issue of gasoline alone would have made it very difficult. The movie made it look like they only filled up 3-4 times while crossing half of the north american continent.

The other detail that concerned me was how extremely outgunned they were. It looked like they had only a 9mm Sig and a box of ammo for their 2000-mile journey through what they knew was going to be hostile territory.  At one point the travelers had the opportunity to get some sort of weapons (probably) when they come upon a derailed train that was shipping military cargo. There were bodies, vehicles and fuel strewn about. I am pretty sure he could have found some other weapons to protect themselves with. Or.. even traded out their car for one of those HMMWV’s that were still upright on the train.

The details that they got right were that cash and barter would be king after the power goes out. I was surprised that Sutherland did not also have some silver to trade for the journey.

The detail that they leave out in the movie is the cause of this event.  Is it a military test like one of the characters suggests? Was it earthquakes? How about global warming symptoms?  My guess is no on all three…. My guess is a shifting of the magnetic poles. You see several clues for this in the movie.

The first was the way the birds and animals were behaving. The second was the appearance of the Aurora Borealis in the lower 48. This is not uncommon but it did seem that the story was taking place in the Spring or Summer so that would make the Aurora Borealis being sighted pretty rare. The third was the spinning compass.  Maybe I am wrong but this is by best guess as to the problem.

Overall, this was a good movie for all survival/prepping folks to watch and take notes.  It shows that you and your family need a plan just in case something happens. Stock up on survival items to ensure that you can survive anything that nature or Hollywood can throw at you.

I give this movie a solid 8-out-of-10 stars!  Check it out and see for yourself.


Comments 2

  • Great review and spot on with your comments.

    I also came away with some other lessons that relate to dealing with other people. We currently live in a society where helping others and giving folks the benefit of the doubt are common, but in SHTF situations you must adjust your thinking. Recall the girl (damsel in distress) on the road and how she was used as bait for our pithy heroes. Then there is the mechanic that is just loony tunes and wanders off in the middle of nowhere. Younger gets it by the end and realizes that his girlfriends protector is dangerous and holds back his last bullet when showing him his gun.

    I really like the way the movie shows us that entering this situation with our current way of thinking is disastrous.

  • Thanks for the review.
    I recommend ONE SECOND AFTER by William R. Forstchen which deals with an EMP strike on North America. There are two books that follow THE FINAL DAY and ONE YEAR AFTER.

    Keep up the good work.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Mike Lambert

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