8 harrowing survival films that test the human spirit

From the wilds in 'The Revenant' to the deep waters of 'Sanctum,' these films offer a breathtaking glimpse at humanity and nature.

8 / 9

The Grey The Grey (Photo: The Grey)

8 / 9

'The Grey'

One of the big surprises of 2012 was "The Grey" by American director Joe Carnahan. Pitched as a "man vs. wolves" survival trope, this thriller actually manages to offer some beautiful quiet moments and well-rounded character development. By the end, you'll not only be emotionally invested, but exhausted as well.

Irish actor Liam Neeson plays John Ottway, a sharpshooter who kills wolves threatening an oil drilling team. When a plane crash strands the group, the playing field is leveled between predator and prey. What happens next offers plenty of seat-jumping moments, as well as some gorgeous filmmaking courtesy of Japanese cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi.

The film went on to earn wide critical praise, including a "Top 10 of 2012" nod from film critic Richard Roeper.

Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows