Okay so this is a bit of a weird one. I really didn’t think I would ever be revisiting this movie but here we are. Today I will be explaining the ending to the Australian survival movie Outback from 2019. I actually reviewed this movie back in March. The review didn’t get a ton of interest but, all of a sudden, it is doing pretty well. The only reason I can imagine for that is that Outback has hit a specific streaming service somewhere and has suddenly gained a bit of traction. In fact, I believe it has recently hit Tubi so maybe that is why?
Farcical Survival Silliness
Naturally, with a movie like Outback, a few people are going to want to know a little more about what happened. After all, it advertises itself as being based on a true story. Not only that but it features some of the most utterly ridiculous depictions of survival that I have ever seen in a movie. Drinking human piss that has been concentrated 6 times over. Chugging down gallons of wiper fluid. Trying to avoid getting bitten by a snake that somehow found the keys to the car and let itself in. Outback is one of the sillier survival movies I have watched.
In fact, just writing the above makes me suddenly feel like it is my civic duty to dispel some of the crap in this film. I went in on it pretty hard in my review but that was nowhere near the real trashing that the events of this film deserved. I really like survival movies and they always push the realms of believability a little far but Outback, frankly, takes the piss. Pun intended! Anyways, let’s get into it.
I have adopted a new format for these articles. I tend to answer a few questions regarding the movie before explaining events. Feel free to skip to the applicable part. Obviously this article will contain spoilers so if you haven’t watched Outback you might want to take a look at my review, first. All of my reviews are spoiler free. Without further ado, let’s get to answering some questions about Outback.
Is Outback a True Story?
This is the obvious opening question, right? I mean, the producers themselves claim that the movie is based on a true story. They even offer up a bit of flavour text at the end. “Wade’s SOS sign was spotted by a farmer. Wade died of kidney failure. Lisa enrolled in nursing school and currently lives in Minnesota”. So what’s the deal? Why didn’t they give us the character’s real names? Why does a search result in nothing but the movie itself? Did the producers really just add text at the end despite the characters not being real and the events never happening?
Well, the answer there is a resounding yes, they did. This isn’t a true story; there is no Lisa, there is no Wade, there is no snake riding shotgun in their car. This is as true of a story as Annabelle or The Blair Witch Project. The claim that it is a true story is purely marketing. Designed to get people talking and to make people invest in what is an extremely below average survival movie.
The importance is in the detail when it comes to the words “based on a true story”. This movie is based on things that really happen but not a specific case itself. People really do get lost in the outback; people often venture out into dangerous areas unprepared. People die all the time by doing this.
A Fictional Story Based on Non-Fictional Events
That’s probably the best way to describe Outback. The story is completely fictional, as are the characters. Writers Mike Green and Brien Kelly simply heard about similar things happening and thought it would make for an interesting movie. And things like this do happen all the time. Hell, here is a case from just this year. Luckily the woman managed to survive on candy and wine (the average daily diet of us Brits). But it is further proof that people end up in bad situations in the outback frequently.
Outback is an amalgamation of a number of different cases but none specifically. The characters here are not real people. They aren’t based on real people. They are simply place holder “dumb tourists” to act as tools to push the story along. A story which many Australians will see in their news frequently. Just as people in the USA see cases of people dying out in Death Valley during the summer. There is, however, one case that is somewhat close to the events of Outback. We will go into that after we answer a couple more questions.
Why Did Wade and Lisa Fall Out?
This one is pretty simple. Wade and Lisa had been a couple for awhile. Wade was training to join the military and, apparently, was on some leave from basic so planned a trip. This is a bit of a dumb plot point as I am not sure you actually even get leave during basic training. In my experience, anyone I knew who joined the army was gone for the entire duration of basic. Occasionally coming back for a day here and there. Those people work hard so this plot piece makes no sense at all to me. But anyways, the pair decide to head out to Australia on a vacation.
While on the plane, Wade decided to propose to Lisa in front of everyone. Lisa, who simply wasn’t ready for marriage yet, refused. Wade, who only ever seems to think of himself, felt a bit embarrassed which is to be expected. And was probably a little concerned that someone filmed the entire thing to upload straight to TikTok. We live in a modern age with modern concerns… Even if this movie is set in 2015.
A Shitty Thing To Do
Naturally, this is an awful thing to do on Wade’s part. Proposing to someone in a public place is putting them in a really shitty predicament. You are basically daring them to refuse. They won’t want to humiliate you and may feel even more pressure than someone already does when being asked to commit to another for life. Outback has a terribly misogynistic view on this subject. Basically lambasting Lisa’s decision to build her life first before marriage. And turning her into the bad guy because she didn’t acquiesce to Wade’s grandiose and humiliating gesture.
Screw her for wanting more from life, right? I seriously suspect one of the writers had something similar happen to him. As a dude that has proposed to a woman. I feel qualified to say that it should be done with the agreement and knowledge that it is something that is right for both of you. Don’t just dive in with both feet not knowing what your partner wants from life. Certainly don’t do it in a public place unless you are sure your partner will say yes. It’s not fair on anyone in that situation.
What Happens to Wade at the Beach?
The pair do a whole bunch of tourist stuff. Checking out amazing locations in Sydney and generally having a great time. Despite the prevailing awkwardness of what happened on the plane. The pair also head to the beach and, naturally, go for a swim. I mean, it is Australia after all. Even if these scenes look like they were filmed in the middle of the British Autumn. How cold does poor Lauren Lofberg look when they get out of the water?
Anyways, Wade seems to be a magnet for bad luck as not only does he have to deal with the receding of both his relationship and his hairline. He also has to deal with a pretty nasty Jellyfish sting. In a moment of foreshadowing, he asks Lisa to pee on him. Lisa refuses to piss on Wade’s leg because she would prefer him be in pain rather than suffer a little bit of minor embarrassment. But would it have helped, anyway?
One of Many Myths
The answer there is a resounding no. Peeing on a Jellyfish sting is a common myth with absolutely nothing to support that it works. No studies have been able to prove that it helps even in the slightest. In fact, it may even make things even worse. When a Jellyfish tentacle contacts your skin, it releases stinging cells called nematocysts which contain venom. The addition of anything other than seawater to these nematocysts will cause them to fire. Or in other words, release more venom. You know what pee is mostly comprised of? Water. You need to remove any barbs before exposing the sting to any kind of water. Peeing on it would be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and rather painful. Depending on Lisa’s choice of breakfast, it may have been quite smelly as well.
Now this film is going to go pretty deep on the whole pissing thing. In fact, we are going to be spending a lot of this movie watching two people trying really hard to urinate. And the interesting thing is that the writers will constantly get the facts wrong when it comes to urine and it’s usefulness in survival. Anyways, Wade’s Jellyfish sting is going to really cause him problems later on. Leading to an infection and giving him serious trouble walking.
How Do Lisa and Wade Get Lost?
Lisa and Wade plan a trip to visit the Australian landmark Uluru. The only problem? They are in Sydney and Uluru is nearly 3,000 KM away. That’s a thirty hour drive, much of which is through the Outback in sweltering conditions with no cover or help for miles around. Naturally they are going to want to prepare for the trip, right? So what do they do? Well, they buy some kangaroo jerky, a bottle of water, a tank full of gas and a 10l container of gas just in case.
Yes, that is all that they buy. Lisa and Wade don’t buy 40 litres of water, they don’t buy 5 10 litre containers of fuel, they don’t buy enough food for three days. They don’t even buy any sunblock. They literally buy supplies that wouldn’t even last a two hour car journey. I know Outback wants to play up the “dumb tourist” trope. But come on. That’s farcical even by naive tourist levels.
As Lisa and Wade get deeper into the Outback, they begin to lose their way. Their sat nav system has taken them massively off route and they are lost. I can only imagine the service is unreliable in the middle of nowhere. This prompts Wade, in a moment of utter stupidity, to suggest the pair head to a hill to check where they are. Fuel is limited because they barely bought any. And they don’t know which way to go. Despite Lisa’s objections, the pair head away from the car and towards a hill.
And From Bad to Worse
And things get worse and worse and worse. A rule of thumb in the Outback is to never leave your car. The sun can burn you to a crisp in no time at all resulting in massive dehydration. You won’t be able to find food or water out in the desert, you won’t find help and you won’t find civilisation. You stand a much better chance of being found on a well traveled road. Be it from air or from the road itself. Stay in your car, try to create some shade, and use your supplies until help arrives. Wade, obviously, didn’t realise this.
The pair can’t find their way back to the car. Every direction appears to look exactly the same because that’s how things are in the outback. And the pair are forced to sleep outside. Wade’s survival skills are basically zero and he is stumbling everywhere because of the sting on his leg. They have no water with them and they ate all the granola bars almost instantly for some reason. Leaving them with no supplies at all and completely lost in the barren landscape of the outback.
Horrific Days and Freezing Nights
As if the day time temperatures aren’t bad enough. At night the pair have to content with the cold. For those of you who don’t know, the Outback is classed as an arid region. Meaning it is far away from oceans and far away from any type of humidity. When night falls, the dry air cannot hold the warmth that has radiated from the sand during the day. This leads to significant variations in temperature during darker hours and nights that can be ridiculously cold.
Whereas most people will be prepared for cold temperatures when expecting them. If you ventured into the desert in shorts and a shirt. A 30 degree temperature drop is going to hit you like a brick and finding a warm place to shelter is impossible in the Outback. Meaning anyone lost there is facing tremendous heat in the day and significant drops during the night time. Lisa and Wade will be suffering the worst of both extremes. Cold at night and warm in the day.
Lisa Ain’t Looking So Good
After a night or two of sleeping on the floor, shit really hits the fan. Lisa is stung in her sleep by a scorpion. Resulting in her entering a comatose state and not waking up the next morning. If you would allow me to “Well Ackchyually” for a moment. Despite Australia’s willingness to find new and inventive ways to dispose of human life. Scorpions are not one of their specialties. Don’t get me wrong, scorpions kill thousands every year across the world. But most of these deaths take place in India, Africa, South America and other similar places. A scorpion fatality has never actually occurred in Australia and no lethal species exist there. Australia is populated by more of the big pincers, bee sting, style scorpions.
I’ve had a few of those as pets and they are fascinating creatures. But the likelihood of one stinging Lisa and putting her in a multi-day coma is somewhere between almost impossible and not going to happen. Hell, if it was a deadly species. It is highly unlikely that she would ever wake up at all. But as we have clarified here, there are no deadly species of Scorpion in Australia. The most likely outcome is that the scorpion would head down her top. Give her a quick sting on her knockers resulting in a bit of pain for a few hours. Outback is a very poorly fact checked movie but hey, it’s added drama so we’ll allow it.
Wade to the Rescue
Realising that Lisa is not looking so good. Wade drags her into some shade and decides it’s about time he actually tried to do something useful for a change. It becomes apparent to Wade that there are planes appearing occasionally overhead. He gathers up a bunch of rocks and makes an SOS sign in an exposed area. Probably the only correct thing Wade has done in the entire movie. This is a good tip and has resulted in many hikers and missing people being found alive. Including in the case of a woman who had been missing for four days having her SOS sign found by a man viewing his CCTV system. And another woman who was found alive in Sequoia National Park after spelling out SOS in rocks.
This is what Lisa and Wade should have done from the start and it is ultimately what saves Lisa. Make a beacon or a distress sign and stay where you are. Some people make SOS signs in sand, others with stones, some build black smoke fires with car tires. Whatever you do, you have to let people know you are there and stay in the location. Don’t move. You are infinitely harder to find when you won’t just sit the hell down in the same spot.
And then the stupid idiot has to go wandering off again. Wade covers his head with his shirt to protect him from the sun. He grabs a long stick and drags it through the sand to mark his position. Allowing him to find his way back to Lisa once he was done searching. I doubt this would be particularly effective as there is bound to be some wind to disturb the sand leaving you shit out of luck when you go looking to retrace your steps. But for the sake of the movie we will go with it.
As he goes, he is pissing into a bottle. The idea being that he will have a tasty treat for Lisa when she wakes up. Naturally he hasn’t drank a lot so he is finding it a bit difficult to go. Something that must only be compounded by the entire camera crew watching. Wade somehow manages to find his way back to the car where he discovers that the pair really didn’t pack any supplies. There is no water, no food and nothing to help Wade recover. Not only that, but Wade left the hazard lights on on the car. Which, in turn, drained the battery. He has found the car but they are no better off because they can’t use it to drive away.
Now if you think it is a bit stupid that Wade left the hazard lights on but they still couldn’t find the car. Despite this obnoxious, repetitive, ridiculously bright amber flashing disco that would have been seen from miles around in the middle of the desert. Then you are not the only one but it is going to get worse. Wade needs to drink so he can piss because that is his genius idea to save Lisa. Better pop the hood and grab a straw.
Why Does Wade Drink Wiper Fluid?
Why indeed? Wade drinks the wiper fluid from the car because he wants to hydrate himself enough so that he can manage to piss. He can then give this super concentrated piss to Lisa to save her life. There is a slight hitch, though. You know what is delicious looking but actually incredibly poisonous? Wiper fluid. In fact, it contains between 30-50% methanol – a highly toxic type of alcohol. You could slap soap and water in your wiper fluid container and it would do just fine. The only problem is, it would have a nasty tendency to freeze when temperatures dropped. To combat this, wiper fluid tends to have high concentrations of methanol to act as a type of anti-freeze.
Methanol is the UPS Overnight of delivery services to the afterlife. One single shot of methanol would be enough to kill a child. A glass of it would expedite an adult’s journey to the forever after in about a day. Wade seems to drink the entire thing. So it is no surprise that he starts feeling a little bit ginger rather quickly. The wiper fluid tastes disgusting but he carries on for Lisa’s sake. I mean, it is the least he can do after getting her into this situation.
Would Drinking Wiper Fluid Work?
The big question here is would this work? Well, the answer is absolutely not. You would vomit way before you would piss resulting in even further dehydration. You would experience horrific stomach pain, dizziness, potential convulsions and then blindness. Followed by the shutting down of your liver and kidneys. Shortly after they realise that they aren’t best equipped for removing this substance from your body and are rather sick of your shit for putting it in their in the first place.
There is a case of an elderly man who claims he survived on wiper fluid for five days. Despite being almost a corpse anyway and an obese diabetic. But we can likely put that down to an old man embellishing his tale of survival to seem like he survived because of machismo rather than coincidence. If he did drink wiper fluid he was a cheap ass and only put water in there. His claim of filtering it through a napkin is beyond ridiculous. Don’t drink wiper fluid, even as a last resort.
Lisa Finally Finds Wade
Meanwhile, Lisa has woken up from her scorpion sting induced desert nap and gone for a stroll of her own. Resulting in her not being there when Wade stumbles back. While she wanders through the desert at night. She whips out her phone and rather than using the torch on it as a beacon for Wade to find her. She uses it to record a message basically stating that she was an idiot for not accepting Wade’s proposal. And how all her dreams are pointless if she is alone. A pathetic segment of writing from Mike Green and Brien Kelly that reeks of misogyny. Who hurt you guys? They actually made a villain out of a woman who didn’t want to marry some ridiculously self centred and idiotic dude.
The next morning she finds the trail left by Wade’s stick. She follows it back to Wade who is lying on the floor looking every bit like someone who spent a day chugging wiper fluid. In a rare moment of honesty from Outback. Wade actually pays the ultimate price for sipping from the forbidden soda cup under the hood. Not before he manages to piss out about a gallon of, likely extremely toxic, piss, though.
He tells Lisa that she needs to get back to the car and then he dies. Lisa realises that the dirty bugger will get his ultimate wish after all. She is going to have to drink his piss. She holds her nose and throws it back like you would with the sixth Jager Bomb of the night. Repulsed but, apparently, grateful. Lisa resumes her search for the car.
Can You Drink Pee to Survive?
This is something that Outback dwells on incessantly. In fact, the entire movie is basically Wade trying to piss and demanding Lisa drinks it. But would this work? Is this good advice. Well, let me answer that with a question. Would you drink a nice refreshing glass of sea water to alleviate dehydration? Because that would be a better idea than drinking your own piss while dehydrated.
Now if you were to engage in one of a number of alternative lifestyles. One which involves you drinking your own pee for supposed health benefits for example. Or even one where you happen to do this as part of a fetish or something similar. You would likely be completely fine. No ill effects beyond a rapid need to wretch and a desire to grab the strongest toothpaste and mouthwash you own to freshen up. You aren’t likely to harm yourself doing this though. In fact, it could be described as relatively safe.
But that’s not the situation Wade is in. That is not the situation we are talking about in this hypothetical scenario. Wade is horrendously dehydrated, as is Lisa. Remember when we said earlier that urine is mostly made up of water. When you are dehydrated, your body does not have the ability to actually dilute the urine. What actually happens is that the urine becomes concentrated. This is compounded by the consumption of more urine. Resulting in, what is little more than, a slightly thick broth of minerals, urea, sodium, and waste.
Your body wants to get rid of pee. It doesn’t contain anything particularly useful. It is waste product. On top of that, it contains more sodium and minerals than sea water. As you pee and drink the pee. The water is extracted and the product is concentrated even further. Drinking pee that comes from a dehydrated person would be akin to sipping from a rock pool at your local beach… Only much, much worse.
But Bear Grylls Said..
Yeah and Bear Grylls said to run away from a grizzly bear if you encounter one.. Yes run away from an animal that can sprint at nearly 40MPH. Bear Grylls is full of shit. He makes crappy TV shows designed to appeal to idiots who consider themselves survivalists despite never leaving the house. He has found a way to exploit the mentality of beta people who genuinely believe that if you threw them to the wolves they would come out as the pack leader. His advice is almost always complete horse shit. Designed to get views and make for entertaining television for people who don’t ask too many questions.
If you were incredibly well hydrated. You may be able to store some of your pee and consume it for some minor alleviation of thirst. I doubt you would actually be doing anything for your hydration levels, though. The second you are dehydrated, which is sooner than you think, you are no longer able to do this. When you start to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated and have been for awhile. The general rule of thumb is to never drink urine in a survival situation. Even if it is the only fluid available. Anyone who has survived from drinking urine is the exception, not the rule. They are probably here by coincidence, not because they drank urine. Unless you use some advanced techniques to extract the water from the urine, you will make matters worse.
But A Woman Did Survive on Piss and Wiper Fluid
It’s true that there is a supposed case of survival that involves a woman trapped in the outback surviving on her pee and wiper fluid. But, to be honest, I find her story hard to believe. I think she likely had more supplies than she admitted to. There is a lot of sensationalising with survival stories. After all, the opportunity to make money from books and films is hard to pass up. I doubt this woman really only had half a litre of water with her, though. I mean, she had practically an entire kitchen of condiments in her car. Her dog and cat were with her and they both survived as well. I am fairly sure this story was greatly embellished.
When examined, she was found to be in better than expected condition. Another sure sign that this story doesn’t entirely add up. Urine and wiper fluid are the last thing you want to do in survival situations. Despite what the writers of Outback want you to think. They probably just heard of some of these cases that are obviously full of lies and exaggerations. Thought it would make for a good story and so put pen to paper with no consideration to facts.
Lisa Gets Back to The Car
Lisa chugs back the concentrated urine. Somehow not throwing up or dying from the remnants of methanol that likely passed straight through Wade’s body as his kidneys died. Before struggling her way back to the car. She gets in before realising that, what looks like, an absolutely stunning Black Headed Python (Aspidites melanocephalus) has taken up residence in the passenger seat. She nervously attempts to stay calm as the snake gets all up in her business. Continuing a theme of creatures molesting poor Lisa. Lisa seemingly doesn’t realise that they don’t come much more harmless than pythons (pythons are non-venomous) that typically only hit the six foot mark. So she moves slowly and methodically to avoid provoking the animal. She grabs the engagement ring and slips out of the car before the python, that is far smaller than her, can devour her in one bite.
Lisa then decides to do exactly what the couple should have done all along. She stays next to the car. As night falls, she watches a video she recorded on the plane. In the video she explains that she loves Wade and wants to marry him eventually. She just doesn’t feel ready yet. What is the rush? Pretty reasonable, right? You wouldn’t think so with the way the writers of this movie shit on her the entire time.
Lisa is Saved and Wade is a…. Hero?
The next morning a farmer comes along having seen Wade’s SOS sign and finds Lisa next to the car. She has managed to survive the night thanks to Wade’s methanol laced excreta. Rather than immediately administering first aid. The farmer administers a hug and all is right with the world… Except for Wade… Wade is dead. But he did everything he could to save Lisa so I guess that makes him a hero, right? Or an idiot that was responsible for getting them into this mess in the first place. I was really happy he bit the bullet and glad that Lisa survived. I was also really glad that this stupid and rather boring movie was over.
So that is Outback. A very silly survival movie full of terrible advice that advertises itself as a true story despite being entirely fictional. Do you feel a bit ripped off? I did. I was really hoping that two people genuinely existed who were as stupid and incompetent as Lisa and Wade. Are there any lessons we can take from Outback? Yes! Don’t drink your own piss if you are in a survival situation. Don’t drink wiper fluid. Stay by your vehicle. Make an SOS sign and try to pick better movies when you hit up your preferred streaming service.
If you made it to the end, massive thanks. I waffle on a bit but that’s kind of what this site is about. I like to write as if we are two friends chatting in a room together. If that sounds like something you might enjoy. Why not check out some Horror Movie Reviews, some Horror Movie Lists or some Horror Movie Ending Explained articles? We don’t tend to follow what is popular but I update a lot and all of my content is very substantial. Catch you later!