10 Horrific Wilderness Horror Movies Based On True Events

All of these wilderness horror films are based on shocking true stories.

The Widow (2020)
Central Partnership/Scream Factory

The wilderness is a dangerous place. Without adding cannibal serial killers into the equation, nature is already full of terrifying carnivorous predators and hazardous obstacles. And if ferocious terrors aren’t enough to convince you that nature is scary, there’s the dangers that come with becoming lost. Dehydration, starvation, even hypothermia, too, are all potential ways to meet your end if you venture too far off the beaten path.

This overwhelming sense of helplessness and isolation is at the centre of dozens of outdoor horror films. With the group of ill-fated characters sometimes hundreds of miles from any sort of civilisation or assistance, they’re left completely at the mercy of whatever monsters are lurking in the dark.

Man-eating predators and separation are more than enough inspiration for effective outdoor horror films. However, some of these films are inspired by true events – and that makes them that little more frightening.

Though filmmakers may have taken some artistic liberty with the true events that inspired them, that doesn’t change how unpleasant those true events are.

Kowing these harrowing tales are based on true stories will make you think twice about stepping into the great outdoors.

Beware of spoilers ahead.

10. Black Water (2007)

The Widow (2020)
AV Pictures

From Lake Placid, Crawl, and that harrowing scene from X, crocodiles are no stranger to the horror genre.

Although the reptiles and events in those films are completely fictional, however, those in indie Aussie flick Black Water were not.

The flick sees Grace (Diana Glen) embark on a holiday alongside her husband (Andy Rodoreda) and sister (Meeve Dermody). The trip gets off to a good start but takes a disastrous turn when they go on a fishing trip deep into a mangrove swamp. Their boat is attacked by a crocodile, killing their guide, and leaving the holidaymakers stranded on a nearby tree. With the boat just out of reach and the croc unrelenting in its hunt, Black Water is an effective and fun horror.

Alongside using real crocodiles in the production, filmmakers David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki added an extra realism to this premise by basing it on real accounts of crocodile attacks in Australia.

The main premise for the film drew upon the nightmarish ordeal that two teenagers faced on 21 December 2003. After a crocodile killed their friend, the teenagers found themselves trapped in a tree overnight while the animal circled below.

Thankfully, the teenagers were rescued.


Glasgow-based cinephile who earned a Masters degree in film studies to spend their time writing about cinema, video games, and horror.