* CompleteMonster: All of the Mayan warriors are a particularly nasty lot, but none stand out so much as the vicious [[TheDragon Dragon]] to the [[BigBad lead hunter Zero Wolf]] Middle-Eye. One of their best hunters and fighters, Middle-Eye is also the only rapist, who takes one of the women of a conquered village into a hut to violate her, and kills her after, as her husband Blunt struggles futilely to save her. When [[TheHero Jaguar Paw]] nearly kills Middle-Eye in a fight, Middle-Eye vengefully slits his father's throat in front of him and names Jaguar Paw 'Almost' in response. When the new captives are being marched back to the capital city, Middle-Eye at one point decides to lighten the load by throwing an exhausted slave to his death. Middle-eye stands above his fellow slave hunters in depravity and the others consider him sick.
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: Jaguar Paw's "rebirth" from the mud and its immediate aftermath.
* CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming: Blunt's mother-in-law constantly berates and humiliates him, but tries to comfort him when he is captured.
* FridgeHorror: Without its mother around, that black jaguar cub most likely starved to death.
* HilariousInHindsight: Every time Middle Eye tells Jaguar Paw to "run". Boy does he run.
* MoralEventHorizon: Zero Wolf, Middle Eye and the other slavers collectively cross the horizon during the attack on the village and the grueling march to the Mayan city. The one that takes the cake must be Middle Eye gloating and killing Flint Sky in front of his son Jaguar Paw, simply for the crime of being Jaguar Paw's father (and for stopping Middle Eye's rape of a girl earlier on).
* NightmareFuel: Quite a bit of it.
** The refugees are kind of creepy when they appear. Then Jaguar Paw has his eerie prophetic dream which features one of the refugees standing before him, [[BeatStillMyHeart beating heart still in hand]], eyes bulging widely, panting desperately, his heart beating faster and faster until it's thundering loudly. Then he manages to gasp out one word: "Run!"
** The raid sequence, which features children being slaughtered and women raped.
** The scene of the decaying Mayan civilisation and the desperate people thereof.
** The sacrifices.
* SpecialEffectsFailure: The black jaguar is a very obvious puppet when it gets killed by the slavers.
* UnfortunateImplications: The movie was seen by [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6216414.stm a reviewer]] as controversial in its portrayal of the Mayan people as savages, and a critic [[http://archive.archaeology.org/online/reviews/apocalypto.html said]] that the final scene of the Spanish conquistadors arriving might send a pro-colonial message that Mayans were so barbaric that they deserved to be "saved" by the white Europeans.
* TheWoobie: Blunt, being the object of cruel pranks and mockery from his fellow villagers while being constantly insulted by his wife's mother for being unable to have children. Then, when the Holcanes arrive, Blunt bravely fights back but gets overpowered...and has to watch his wife being raped and killed ''in front of him'' by Middle Eye.
** It becomes a TearJerker when Blunt and the other men are marched off to be sacrificed, and his wife's mother touches his face as if to comfort him...and his later [[spoiler:HeroicSacrifice to give Jaguar Paw a chance to escape.]]