‘The Volcano’ Is A Harrowing Tale Of Our Planet’s Violence And Power


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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“The Volcano: Rescue From Whakaari” is one of the most harrowing documentaries you’ll ever see, and definitely isn’t recommended for Christmas viewing.

“The Volcano” tells the story of 47 tourists and guides trapped as a volcanic eruption engulfs them off the coast of New Zealand, and is currently ranked as the number one film in the country, according to Variety. I watched it last night, and my stomach still hasn’t settled.

The film follows first-hand accounts of the 2019 eruption of Whakaari, a stratovolcano that erupts, spewing out superheated ash, steam and debris rather than molten lava. The volcano is situated on its own island, only accessible by a 90 minute boat ride or 20 minute helicopter flight.

Despite monitoring, a group of international tourists visited the island on the day of the eruption, and were caught as the superheated ash and steam coated their bodies due to the sudden onset of a violent eruption. Without being too grotesque, when any living animal is caught in the cloud of superheated gases — known as a pyroclastic flow — our bodies boil from inside and out. Our clothes are largely left unscathed, but the effect on human flesh is similar to what happens when we boil pork or chicken. (RELATED: Netflix Documentary Could Rewrite All Of Human History)

There was no individual story in this documentary that ranked above another. For me, the most devastating yet empowering was that of a young man, Jesse Langford, who watched his father, mother, and sister die as the clouds boiled and burned them alive. I can’t do justice to Langford’s tale, so I highly recommend watching this documentary to hear it from him.

Twenty-two of the 47 people on Whakaari died as a result of the eruption, many of them among relatives. It’s no wonder that people are calling it the saddest film they’ve ever seen, according to Tyla.

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to the power of our planet and our surrounding solar system. No matter your thoughts, feelings, opinions or data, this planet will always win out in a battle with humans. We are guests here, and our place here is constantly under threat. In no way do humans hurt the planet. Her ability to heal herself is so strong that she can wipe out any trace of our existence in the blink of an eye.