Fantasia Review: ‘Survival Skills’ is way more than just a weird VHS nostalgia trip

Survival Skills (Large)

There are many ways a film might examine some aspects of our society. Whether drama, comedy, horror, or science fiction, each genre provides a different lens for us to take a closer look at what and who we are. Satire is, if used correctly, maybe the most powerful of these lenses. By taking some subject and twisting it to an extreme position, we can expose some of the absurdity of the world we live in.

Survival Skills is one of those movies. Taking the form of a lost 1980s police training tape, it follows Jim (Vayu O’Donnell), a childlike rookie police officer going through his first day. Things take a turn, though, when the narrator (Stacy Keach) walks him through a domestic violence call, and he begins to disagree with the proper procedure.

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