Name that (sub)genre!

I need a palate cleanser, because reasons, and I’ve been thinking about something recently that I thought might make a fun game (for very me-specific values of fun).

Here’s the general idea: There are groups of movies that have similar attributes, and are generally in the same genre, but there are specific aspects of them that I think qualifies them as a new (sub)genre. The fun is in either proposing new names for the (sub)genre, or identifying additional movies that fit that (sub)genre. Maybe we work on a group for a little while, then vote on the (sub)genre titles, and then move on to another.

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Here’s the first group I could come up with:

Key Similarities (in no particular order):

  • The protagonist(s) is/are trapped in an extreme and isolating situation.
  • They are frequently injured or partially incapacitated during their attempts to escape.
  • If there are multiple characters trapped together, one of them will die, often off-screen, and this will not be revealed to the audience until later.
  • The main protagonist will often hallucinate or have flashbacks in order to move the plot forward.
  • The main protagonist will often have to overcome some personal trauma or flaw in order to survive and escape.
  • There are often antagonizing elements that are placing pressure on the protagonist(s) in addition to their general situation.
  • There is often a tragic backstory that has led the protagonist(s) to climb this mountain/tower, visit this beach, dive into this ocean/pool, go into space, etc.
    • This backstory is often key to the trauma/flaw that they must overcome in order to find the strength to survive.

There, I think that’s a pretty good start. I’d also like help refining/expanding the list above, in addition to the activities described in the first post.


Seems like The Martian would fit in?

Only one of those I’ve seen is Gravity.

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That’s an interesting suggestion. I hadn’t considered it. Maybe it makes sense to create a checklist foe each of the movies on the list to see how they score on the criteria? I may try to do that later.

There’s definitely a quality gap between movies like Gravity and the Martian, and the rest of the items on the list.

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