Four teams with five participants, each specialized in separate survival skills set on their reality tv show stint on Hawkesbury Island, a remote island in British Columbia, to win $1 million prize money. With their communication suddenly dropped, the teams lose contact with the primary support team. Long before the end, it becomes evident that they are on their own when it comes to surviving in the ruthless terrain of the desolate island. Tenney is adept at maintaining a fraught atmosphere, and effortlessly integrates the thriller plot with wilderness adventure tropes as he explores the unforgiving nature of the wild world. Through his characters’ stories, especially Gray, Gary, and Levon, he delves deeper into the dark side of human psyche, illuminating the greed and malice that drive the man to extreme measures. The characters’ emotional and interpersonal dynamics are sketched with skill and perception. Tenney is able to skewer reality show culture, and his eye for detail imbues even the most mundane detail with meaning. This is as much an action thriller as it’s a testament to human endurance and survival.
The meticulously researched detail and the characters’ experience of trying to push beyond all endurance make for a suspenseful and occasionally sinister odyssey.