Amazon Prime’s ‘Thirteen Lives’ is a rescue story based on real-life events. At its focus are thirteen people who are trapped inside a cave that has been heavily flooded. As the rescuers and volunteers arrive, and the media gathers outside, the whole world holds its breath and waits for the twelve boys and their soccer coach to come out safely. The film uses the feeling of claustrophobia and the sense of urgency to heighten the tension. As the divers traverse the path that is more than a mile long and spend hours on end there, a sense of uneasiness is induced, which doesn’t go away even after the film ends.
The most frightening thing about the film is that the fight is not against some big, scary thing from some other world. It is Mother Nature that poses the toughest battles. If you are looking for more films that explore the themes of a fight against nature, the time running out, and the choking sense of confined spaces, then we have a few suggestions. Here are the films like ‘Thirteen Lives’ that you can watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or other streaming services:
7. 47 Meters Down (2017)
If you thought cave diving was an extreme sport then you should watch ‘47 Meters Down’. Starring Mandy Moore in the lead role, it follows the story of two sisters who decide to go cage diving. It involves them getting inside a cave that is held by a winch system as they are lowered into the sea with sharks lurking in the surroundings. Things get tricky when the winch system breaks and the sisters are trapped inside the cage on the ocean floor while their oxygen supply runs low.
6. The Finest Hours (2016)
Starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck in the lead roles, this is another film that is based on the true story of a daring rescue. Set in the 50s, it follows a coast guard who leads a team of men to rescue the crew of an oil tanker that has been sheared in half in the middle of the ocean. The crew members are trapped and the situation is dire as the weather grows worse with every passing minute, which means that the rescuers are risking just as much as the crew to complete this mission. They have to survive the wrath of the mighty ocean that is just as unforgiving as the rains pouring down on them.
5. Tunnel (2016)
This South Korean survival drama follows the story of a man who is trapped inside his car which is buried under the debris of a collapsed tunnel. Lee Jung-soo was on his way home to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. But now that he is trapped in a situation that seems impossible to come out of, the only thing that keeps him hoping is his wife speaking to him through the radio. What makes it worse is that the rescue operation is rather sluggish and doesn’t give much hope to the outside world regarding his survival.
4. Against the Ice (2022)
If you thought getting trapped in a flooded cave for two weeks was a horrifying ordeal, prepare yourself for this true story that has two men trapped in the Arctic, with no hope of rescue for years. Set in the early 1900s, ‘Against the Ice‘ follows two men who embark on an expedition to recover a map that has strong political implications on the fate of Greenland. In doing so, they are abandoned by crew members who cannot launch an immediate rescue. The two men battle harsh winters and bouts of insanity while a rescue is planned for them.
3. The Tunnel (2019)
Based on a true story, this Norwegian film relies on themes similar to ‘Thirteen Lives’. It is set in a tunnel that collapses when the collision of a tanker truck leads to a fire in the tunnel. With a terrible blizzard outside, a huge number of people are trapped inside. The difficult situations outside the tunnel also make it difficult for the first responders to get there in time and rescue everyone. But no matter how tricky it gets, they have to get everyone out of the tunnel as the fire rages inside and threatens a very bad fate for them.
2. Bølgen (2015)
‘Bølgen’ aka ‘The Wave’ is another Norwegian disaster film to find a place in this list. Inspired by a real incident, that happened more than once, it points towards the fact that there is no greater force than nature, and it has the singular capacity to destroy things like nothing else can. Things were scenic in Geiranger, but a natural disaster had been predicted. Still, no one was ready to face a tsunami that emerges when a mountain pass collapses and threatens to kill a lot of people. While ‘Thirteen Lives’ keeps the viewers’ hopes up with the promise of a rescue on the way, things get direr for the people in ‘The Wave’ because rescue always arrives after a disaster, not during it. Who will save these people now?
1. Apollo 13 (1995)
Ron Howard is not new to making films about rescuing people who are trapped in impossible situations. His experience with ‘Apollo 13’ informed a lot of creative decisions in ‘Thirteen Lives’, which is what makes it an essential watch for anyone looking for something that delivers the same feelings and effects as the one about the Thai rescue. Based on the real moon mission that turned into a critical emergency, it focuses on three astronauts who are trapped in space en route to the moon, inside their spacecraft which has suffered an explosion that has depleted much of the oxygen supply. How does one rescue people who are not even on Earth?