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You Wake Up in a Room
"This is weird... No doors
, no windows..."
"You wake up locked in a deserted jail cell, completely alone. There is nothing at all in your cell, useful or otherwise."
A specific type of Ontological Mystery
(which covers this trope in passing). There is also a sub-genre of gaming, the Room Escape Game
, that virtually always starts with this trope.
A character wakes up in a setting that's unfamiliar to them. They don't know how they got there, who brought them, or for what reason. Frequently, getting out is not so simple as simply walking out the door.
Sometimes the character, or characters, will have no memory of prior events
whatsoever, although this is not a necessary component. In more extreme examples, the character may not exactly know even who they are
If the piece begins In Medias Res
and the character wakes up in a room, and the audience
has no idea where they are or what has gone before (or the character has only limited knowledge, possibly having been drunk the night before
, or something bad happened to him
, or he's in an alternate reality that only the audience
seems to pick up on) that may be sufficient to meet this trope. Compare Good Morning, Crono
. For extra points, may overlap with White Void Room
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Gantz. Upon their deaths, the main characters are sent to a mysterious room; the room is obviously located in Tokyo, but cannot be accessed unless you are called there by Gantz.
- Happens at least twice to Rosa in Umineko no Naku Koro ni. The first time is in the second arc's tea party. The second time occurs in the fourth arc, in what is implied-ish? to be a Dream Sequence Maria had.
- Happens to somebody (actually Battler) early on in the sixth arc.
- Kirika in Noir woke up one day with no memory of who she was in an empty house that despite having photographs of parents, had no actual parents in sight. She found with her a pocketwatch, school ID with her name on it and a gun and killed a bunch of Mooks who showed up to harass her. The rest of the series deals with her trying to discover her identity.
- Dangaioh: The four ESP'ers are all suddenly find themselves in service to Dr. Tarsan without knowing who they are/were, or how they got there.
- In aptly named Locked Room arc of Psychic Detective Yakumo, when Takaoka-sensei (in the original novels & Ritsu version) / Yuuichi (in the Suzuka version) thinks he killed Yuri after hitting her a little too hard, he hides her body in the basement. Turns out she wasn't dead after all. Until she died trying to get out of the room.
- Rainbow in the Dark starts with the main character, Brownie, waking up in a train going to Ponyville.
- Fallout: Equestria: Project Horizons: Chapter 11: Blackjack after being hauled out of a slaver camp half dead and emotionality worn out from making a Sadistic Choice passes out in a mine-cart... Only to wake up in a room next to a strange stallion named Prist who then explains that she was found unconscious and alone in the rain, a week prior, she has no idea how she got miles away from the slaver camp or what happened to her friends along the way.
- The first chapter of Composure starts out like this when Princess Celestia wakes up in a hospital bed injured, unable to perform magic, and amnesic. Her last memory is of Princess Luna in her room...
- Along with Composure, the first chapter of Asylum starts out this way, with Twilight in a straitjacket, no less.
- Happens to Shadowfax in You Obey.
- Dark City
- A Scanner Darkly (film)
- This is the modus operandi for the "Jigsaw Killer" in Saw: nearly every victim wakes up in a room, and the punishemnt for failure (when it's not immediate and messy death, is usually turning it into a Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere.
- Pandorum... in a hypersleep capsule.
- In Cube, its sequel Cube 2: Hypercube, and its prequel Cube Zero, all the victims of the cube wake up in a cube-shaped room with no memory of how they got there.
- The teleplay The Cube (unrelated to the above series) where a man awakes in a solid white room with people coming in and out doing various wacky things, but he cannot get anyone to tell him where he is or why he's there, he's only told that somewhere on the wall is a hidden door made just for him.
- In the 2006 film Unknown, the entire cast wakes up with amnesia and locked in a warehouse.
- Occurs in both The Hangover and its sequel.
- In 28 Days Later, Jim wakes up from a coma
- The captives in Persons Unknown wake up in hotel rooms with little clue how they got there or why.
- The Twilight Zone Classic episodes ''Stopover in a Quiet Town" and "Five Characters In Search Of An Exit".
- The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries has "Sole Survivor", where Joe Hardy wakes up in a hospital room with no clue where he is or how he got there, only to find out that he's not only been in a coma for a year, but that his father and brother are dead. Of course, Frank and Fenton are very much alive, and the whole thing is a Mind Screw to get Joe to reveal information on a defection attempt.
- Castle: The season 4 episode "Cuffed" opened with Beckett and the titular writer handcuffed together in a sealed room, with no memory of how they got there.
- "Legacy", the penultimate episode of the second season of Criminal Minds, features an UnSub that kidnaps transients, knocks them out and throws them into an abandoned factory, where they wake up and are forced to find their own way out of the factory.
- The surreal 1960s drama series The Prisoner begins with this trope: spy Patrick McGoohan wakes up in The Village with a headache not knowing why he has been transported there from London, nor why he is now only Number Six, and realises how difficult it is to escape.
- Dollhouse plays with this trope in "Needs", in which the Actives wake up in their sleeping chambers with their original personalities before they were mind-wiped, but with no memory of how they came to be there.
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Allegiance" has this, but with a twist. We see Picard wake up in a strange room, while his double walks around on the ship.
- The 4400: In the fourth season episode "No Exit" Tom Baldwin, Diana Skouris, Meghan Doyle, Marco Pacella, Brady and P.J. wake up to find themselves locked into the NTAC offices in Seattle where they work joined by Tom's son Kyle and oldest nephew Shawn Farrell, Diana's adopted daughter Maia, as well as Jordan Collier and Isabelle Tyler. During the episode they have to fight the building itself as it turns on them, cooperate, find out why they're there and find a way out.
- Lindsey Stirling's "Song of the Caged Bird" video features this — in the beginning, Lindsey gets up off the floor of a small, dirty room with no apparrant knowledge of where she is or how to get out.
- In an example without the room, Willow of Earthsong wakes up under a purple willow/wiple tree with no idea whatsoever of what's going on.* This is echoed in a later wake-up, though she quickly remembers and the audience knows.
- Furrocious starts with the main character waking up in a a gray room with a large door.
- MS Paint Adventures likes this trope. Jailbreak fits the definition perfectly, and Homestuck begins in a similar manner (three times).
- A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe begins with the protagonist waking up in an apartment building floating in a white void.
- morphE begins with 8 people waking up inside crates being moved in the back of a truck. No one knows how they got there and when they are released they are pit against one another in combat.
- In Fleep, the "room" is a phone booth encased in concrete.
- In both Mata Nui Online Games, your character wakes up with no memories — on a beach in the first, and in their own hut in the second. MNOG II explains that your temporal memory-loss is due to a storm, but the first game offers no explanation, as it's a direct continuation of the Game Boy Advance game Quest for the Toa, which ended with a bolt of energy launching you into the sky and sending you slamming into the sand.