In the new post-apocalyptic Tubi Original film Castaways, two women find themselves shipwrecked and alone on a deserted island. As the girls fight to survive, their shared experience bonds them together in ways they could never have imagined.
After an outbreak of an unknown and deadly new virus begins to devastate the population, only a select few still remain. With no known cure for the virus, it becomes apparent that death is all but assured, unless you’re lucky enough to find yourself in possession of a “safe band” – your only ticket off the mainland and a chance of survival.
After obtaining “safe bands” by giving up her entire life savings, Lillia and her daughter, Emily, board a ship intended to take them away from the death and sickness plaguing the continent.
But Emily can’t help but wonder if they should have stayed and watched the world burn. After all, where do they go from here? Is there anywhere that’s truly safe or is humanity destined for extinction?
When a catastrophic storm capsizes their boat one night, Emily and her fellow passenger, Cara, find themselves marooned on a deserted island.
After it becomes apparent that her mother didn’t survive the wreck, Emily must begin to put her faith in Cara if she hopes to survive on this uncharted island.
Despite their grave situation, Emily and Cara find that they have managed to adapt and prosper and, as the years go by, they find that their friendship is beginning to blossom into something more.
After deciding to explore the island further, Emily is involved in a terrible accident which ignites the two women in a heated debate about their relationship and what life would be like without the other in it. This eventually leads to them giving in to the feelings they have been hiding from one another for so long.
As the two begin to explore their new relationship, an unexpected visitor arrives on the island and states that he works for the company that owned the boat they were traveling on. Introducing himself as Finn, he claims that he is part of a rescue crew that has been searching for survivors of the crash. He also claims that Cara and Emily are the last two survivors he has been searching for, having already rescued all the other survivors of the crash, including Emily’s mother.
As he waits for the rest of his crew to arrive to take the pair off of the island, Finn begins to slink into their lives and it isn’t long until he starts to gain their trust. But as he slowly starts to weave his way into their lives, you can’t help but be suspicious of Finn and wonder if he really is who he claims to be.
Finally, when the day comes that they are set to be rescued, Emily decides to go for a walk to contemplate whether she is really ready to leave the island she has called home for the past two years behind. While considering her options, she makes a dark and grisly discovery – one that shatters her existence and opens her eyes to the fact that she has been manipulated.
Now faced with a deadly decision, Emily must decide how far she is willing to go for love and to protect the world she has built on this island.
Is this island truly Heaven on Earth or just Hell’s purgatory?
When watching the film, one can’t help but draw comparisons to the film Cast Away starring Tom Hanks. Similar to that film, Castaways focuses on its primary protagonist being marooned on a deserted island, though Emily does have the advantage of being stranded with another human instead of a volleyball.
Unlike Hanks, though, the two survivors appear to have suffered no ill effects from being stranded for so long. In fact, it isn’t until we catch up with them two years later that they begin to experience the dangers of living on the island, including twisting an ankle and being stung by a jellyfish.
Additionally, despite the fact that the pair have been stranded together alone on an island for two years, they seem to know very little about each other as, throughout the course of the film, they begin to reveal more details about their lives to one another. You would think being stranded alone with someone for two years would result in you knowing every detail about them.
It would have been better to have Castaways focus on Cara and Emily’s first days on the island, having them share their stories with one another early in the film. It would have also made more sense having them experience the hardships of living on the island early on, instead of introducing this concept later, as it’s during these moments we can see the love these women have for one another.
As the audience, when he watched Hanks’ pain and anguish, we became invested in his struggles; we cared for this character and became emotionally invested in his survival. Showing these women struggle and fight for survival, like Hanks, would have worked to add depth to these characters and would have allowed the audience to connect with them on a deeper level.
Castaways’ writer could have used their struggles as a means to bring the two characters closer together, as this is what they are ultimately trying to achieve. Instead, they use a mild accident as the catalyst to begin exploring the deep-rooted feelings the two women have been harboring for each other.
Also, as both women eventually reveal they fell in love with one another the moment they laid eyes on one another, why did they have to wait two years to express their feelings?
Where the time jump also proves to be a fatal flaw in the story is in the make-up and wardrobe department.
In Cast Away, we see Hanks’ character become sickly and gaunt after spending years on an island. His clothes have become tattered and are falling off his bones. Yet in Castaways, the two women’s physical appearance never changes in any way from the day they first arrived on the island. Cara’s nails still have the same nail polish from the day of the crash.
Along with their physical appearance, they are still wearing the same clothes which look to still be in immaculate shape. Along with their clothes, they also appear to be wearing the same jewelry, apparently never feeling the need to remove it.
At its core, Castaways is about the feelings the two women have for one another. It attempts to weave in the story about a deadly virus that has devastated humanity, but this element is largely forgotten throughout the course of the film and is only briefly mentioned at the very beginning and ending of the film.
Where Castaways falters in its story is choosing to time jump too early into its run time. This decision proves to be a flaw in the story and only serves to shine a spotlight on the overlooked wardrobe and the plot holes in the story.
You can watch the Tubi Original film Castaways currently streaming for free on Tubi.