A Harrowing Real-Life Tragedy You Didn't Realize Yellowjackets is Based On
Despite its overuse, Hollywood loves the "based on real life events" disclaimer because it’s really effective in creating excitement among various audiences, especially for the thriller and horror movies.
When Yellowjackets was released, it was immediately compared to W. Golding's famous novel Lord of the Flies. The portrayal of teenagers stranded in wilderness and losing any signs of civilization was so close to the 1954 book.
Apart from many other differences, the most striking one is that the characters of Yellowjackets are females. As showrunner Ashley Lyle said in an interview after the series' release, it was very important for her to offer a female take on such a situation.
Lyle didn't hesitate to admit that she took inspiration in another well-known movie – Alive. When it was released in 1993, the film fascinated many people including Ashly Lyle who must have been in the eighth grade, according to her. The adaptation of Piers Paul Read's 1974 book Alive, the film showed the story of a Uruguayan rugby team whose plane to Chile crashed in the Andes.
This is where it must ring a bell.
Yellowjackets features a female school soccer team left stranded for nineteen months in Canadian forests after their plane crashed. The series takes place in a different time, in a different place, and with a different group of people, yet it has a lot in common with the harrowing real-life story later made known worldwide by a book and a film.
The Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 that was transferring the rugby team to Chile crashed in the Andes in 1972. Twelve people died instantly. The survivors had to cannibalize the remains to sustain themselves, with only sixteen people finally rescued from the site. One of them, Roberto Canessa, described the dehumanizing experience in an interview to National Geographic.
Cannibalism hasn't yet been overtly demonstrated in the series. But as the showrunner has admitted its similarity with the tragedy told in Alive, we are probably yet to see the grimmest details of Yellowjackets. The series' second season premieres on March 26th on Showtime.