Follow TV Tropes


Film / Apaches

Go To
Apaches is a 1977 public information film from the United Kingdom. Intended to remind children of the dangers of playing around with farm equipment, this 26-minute-long film was distributed to and screened at schools all over Britain. The film was directed by John Mackenzie, written by Neville Smith, and produced by John Arnold and Leon Clore.

It was shot on a farm in the Home Counties in February 1977, with the child cast recruited from a junior school in Maidenhead, Berkshire, and was produced by Graphic Films for the Central Office of Information for the Health and Safety Executive. It was not only shown in schools, but it was also broadcast on television by ITV companies, particularly Southern, Westward, Anglia and ATV, whose regions covered large agricultural areas. It was also shown in schools in rural areas in other countries of the Anglosphere, including Australia, Canada and the United States.

It focuses on six children who pretend to be Apaches (the Native American tribe) in their make-believe. They play their games on a farm where, one by one, they fall victim to fatal accidents. After that, they continue as if nothing happened, until only one is left.

Oddly, while most of the crew receive credits, none of the children who starred in the film were credited.

You can watch Guru Larry's review here. Or if you prefer, you can watch the entire film here.

Tropes featured in the film:

  • An Aesop: Farms are not playgrounds. The point of the film was to show how dangerous it is for children to play recklessly around farm equipment, so this is a given.
  • Bookends: Kim and Danny are respectively the first and last child to die, and both deaths result from the misuse of a tractor.
  • Children Are Innocent: The kids don't have a very firm grasp on the concept of death, so when Kim gets mowed down by a tractor, they're all left in stunned silence.
  • Dead All Along: The dinner party is revealed to be for Danny's wake.
  • Death of a Child: If it wasn't in broad daylight already.
  • Deer in the Headlights: Danny's expression every time one of his friends is killed, or about to be. Strongly subverted in the case of his own death, where he goes down screaming.
  • Downer Ending: Everyone except Michael dies horribly.
  • Dull Surprise: Danny's reaction to his friends dying.
  • Dwindling Party: The six friends (Danny, Kim, Sharon, Michael, Tom, Robert) all start dying one by one. In more detail, Kim is run over by a tractor, Tom drowns in a slurry pit, Sharon drinks weed killer, Robert is crushed by a fence, and finally, Danny is killed by crashing a tractor down a hill. Only Michael lives to tell the tale.
  • Free-Range Children: This short is a pretty good example of what made this type of parenting fall out of fashion: All but one of the children end up dying in freak accidents that could very well have been avoided or mitigated if they were just being properly supervised.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: When one of the kids dies, the rest of them are acting in the next scene as if nothing happened.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Kim's death. We see the tractor bounce as it runs her over, and then it cuts to a blood splatter on the ground.
  • I Drank WHAT?!: Sharon meets her unseen-yet-brutal demise upon accidentally drinking weed killer. Given the tone as a whole, it's Played for Horror rather than laughs.
  • Irony: Despite being considered the "daft one" of the group, Michael ends up being the sole survivor of them all.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Sharon's death. In her agony, she can plainly be heard screaming for her mother.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Four out of the six kids get proper introductions. The last two? "Tom, Robert."
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Sharon's death is made all the more frightening due to the fact that, though we hear all of her agonized screams of pain, nothing is shown of her dying from ingesting weed killer.
  • Only Sane Man: Michael, the "daft" one in the bunch, survives everything. He refuses to drink from the bottle found in the tool shed (which contains deadly paraquat)note , and always seems to be lagging slightly behind all the others. It turns out that he has a reason to be concerned.
  • Parental Neglect: The kids' parents are happy to let them run around the farm unsupervised, even after they start dying in brutal accidents involving the farm equipment.
  • Posthumous Narration: Danny's spirit narrates the short as he looks over a "party" (which unbeknownst to him is actually his own wake).
  • Red Herring Shirt: The lack of a proper introduction for Tom and Robert doubles as this.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: This short was intended to show rural kids the dangers of fooling around on farms. It may have worked too well.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Sharon's death from ingesting weed killer is not shown on-camera. Instead, the view lingers on her house at night as she wakes up screaming in agony from her organs corroding.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the six children, only Michael walks out alive.
  • Time-Delayed Death: Sharon unintentionally drinks weed killer and just decides to walk it off. It doesn't kick in until a few hours later, when she wakes up screaming in agony in the middle of the night. She even spit most of it out. Not like it could have saved her, though, given the likely ingredients.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Just about all the children. They do stupid things that get them killed, and then keep on doing them. The parents and the farmers count as well, since they keep letting the kids run around the farm without supervision. Sadly, this is very much a case of Truth in Television, as many children do indeed die in farm accidents such as those seen in the film each year.
  • Undignified Death: Tom's death by drowning in a slurry pit is definitely this (for those who don't know, slurry is essentially liquefied cow dung).invoked


Video Example(s):


Sharon's Death

After accidentally ingesting weed killer, Sharon is left to brutally perish as the paraquat corrodes her organs from the inside out. We see nothing of it, and only get to hear her cries of despair.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / NothingIsScarier

Media sources: