I’m the type of person who applauds something new and creative, regardless of whether it works or not. For that reason alone, I was very intrigued by the new streaming service by the name of Quibi. Made solely to be viewed through mobile devices and in any aspect ratio of your choosing, it makes for a fun experience. Now, the main issue I was also foreseeing was the fact that this format may become distracting if the subject matter was possibly too well-made to be viewed here. Well, I’ve made it through one of their first pieces of content in SURVIVE, and if that any indication of how the rest of their shows are, I’ll gladly continue watching.
Jane, a troubled young woman, finds herself at a very dark place in her life when the plane she’s on goes down. For her, this is pretty much a wake-up call, as she and Paul are the only survivors. Fighting for their lives to escape the wilderness, this story never stops moving. Told in 10-minute segments or less over the course of 12 episodes, SURVIVE basically feels like a film that has been chopped up in order to feel like a short television series. This format definitely won’t work for every story that will be on this service, that’s for sure, but this particular story worked fairly well. Still, I would’ve preferred watching this as an uninterrupted movie, even though that probably would’ve put an accent on its flaws.
SURVIVE is hellbent on keeping you on the edge of your seat, so much so the point that every time you start an episode, you expect brief character moments, an incident that places them both in danger, and then a cliffhanger that will bring you back for the next 10 minutes. This format worked, due to the fact that it kept me hooked, but this was clearly made in the same way a feature film is made. If this movie hit theaters, it would’ve felt very repetitive. Watching characters continuously getting themselves into danger every 5–10 minutes probably wouldn’t have worked for everyone.
Even though SURVIVE does also get bogged down with some melodrama and goes a little over-the-top in certain areas, I found myself compelled for the majority of it, and that was absolutely due to the commitment by both Sophie Turner (GAME OF THRONES, X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX) and Corey Hawkins (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, KONG: SKULL ISLAND). This is easily one of Turner’s best performances, even though her dialogue is pretty conventional at times and Hawkins plays off her very well. Yes, due to some of the dialogue, their chemistry felt a little forced, but they were both giving it their all. By the end, I found myself attached to both of them and choosing to brush off some of the bad or cliched dialogue.
Overall, even though I haven’t had the chance to check out other offerings on the Quibi streaming service, SURVIVE proves to me that they aren’t just trying to be a new fad. They’re going for some solid storytelling and even though I have issues with this particular story, it was still a good series, which I’ll just choose to call an uneven film. It was in good hands in front of and being the lens and it really goes show as a final product. Is it a must-watch, no, but the service is absolutely worth checking out and SURVIVE is worth your time, since it’s not very long.