Black Dude Dies First: The first member of Colqhoun's party to bite it in the flashback is the token black servant.
Also George, a resident native, dies before any of the other (white) main characters.
Though it's worth pointing out that while George dies first, he's shot after another character has been stabbed in the gut. While the knife is still inside him. And another knife is in his back. Almost an inversion, anyway, since Hart doesn't die.
Downer Ending: But a hilarious downer ending, which, in this movie, is somehow possible.
Ives: That was... really... sneaky.
With a touch of Died Happily Ever After - Boyd got Reassigned To The Frontier because of his cowardice, becomes a cannibal because he's afraid to die, but in the end he willingly accepts death hoping to stop Ives' cannibal conspiracy. If he had only thrown out the "Stew a la Major Knox" beforehand...
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: More like "Determinator Cannot Comprehend Coward". Ives is visibly shocked that Boyd would jump to seemingly certain death rather than stay and fight for his only real chance at survival. (Bear in mind that Boyd really wascommitting suicide with that jump, and the fact that he lived was pure luck.)
Faux Affably Evil: Again, Ives, who manages to make Boyd look absolutely insane by virtue of being so damn convincingly charismatic to everyone else.
Foreshadowing: Colqhoun has a rosary wrapped around his hand when he arrives at the fort. The same rosary can be seen in his flashbacks belonging to the woman that he claims to have left behind with Colonel Ives. This is the first sign that Colqhoun is not what he seems at all.
Mad Eye: Every time Ives is about to do something even more grotesque than normal, one eye half-closes and the other eye gets wider. When he's sane (or acting sane), they're both perfectly normal.
Magical Native American: Mostly averted. George and Martha do tell the cast about the Wendigo Myth, but the rest of the time spend time either caring for the horses and doing other chores (Martha) or getting stoned (George).
Mildly Military: The guys at Fort Spencer spend most of their time just kind of hanging out, eating, or getting stoned. Granted, there's not much better to do in the middle of nowhere, but still.
Mood Dissonance: Blood, murder, freezing weather, ambiguous moral decisions, character flaws, and... stoners. Comedy, drug humor, everybody here was Reassigned to Antarctica... but the emotional impact is unhindered.
Mr. Fanservice: Boyd, played by Guy Pearce. Also, the extremely-muscular Reich seems to have his shirt off a lot.
New Meat: Boyd starts out like this, but unfortunately doesn't get any better, resulting in his reassignment.
No Escape but Down: When Boyd is cornered by Ives/Colqhoun at the cliff's top. He jumps, without any landing spot. He survives, but his leg is badly broken. It's one of the film's more memorable scenes.
Shown Their Work: The movie is, on occasion, oppressively realistic in its portrayal of its mountainous, unpleasant terrain and the military of its time.
It's with touch of Real Life Writes the Plot - there were serious problems with weather during production. The constant dissonance between heavy snow, thaw and relatively high temperatures around Fort Spencer? It's all Throw It In.
Snow Means Death: Sure, the trek into the mountains is dangerous, but it's really the cannibals you need to watch out for.
Suicidal Gotcha: Messy, and without the common convenient landing spot. Boyd actually jumps off a cliff, falls down through tree limbs and into a Pit Trap, breaking the ever-loving crap out of his leg in the process. Also, the end of the movie, where Boyd lures Ives into a bear trap, which kills them both.
Took a Level in Badass: Boyd spends the entire film as the designated wimp (he even gets a medal of cowardice), until the last 3 scenes when he decides to fight Ives, using all of his new cannibal superpowers.
In the backstory, Ives, who went from a tubercular, suicidal mess to a Diabolical Master MindMade of Iron. And Col. Hart, who, in his first scene, cracks walnut shells under a giant book, but in a later scene, is able to crush them with his bare hands. All through the magic of cannibalism.
Trailers Always Spoil: One of the biggest offenders of '99. Before even the lector starts to comment the film, we already see Robert Carlyle's character as an inhabitant of Fort Spencer. Then half way through we also learn that Jeffrey Jones' character is a cannibal, Major Knox is killed and turned into a stew and Guy Pearce will fight to death with Robert Carlyle. And just to add insult to the injury, Robert Carlyle is shown in his Colqhoun persona, pointing a gun at Jeremy Davies. The trailer spoiled every single twist aside from the final scene.