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Film / Occupation

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Aliens invade Down Under. Nobody warn them about the drop bears.

Occupation is a 2018 science fiction action movie directed by Luke Sparke, starring Dan Ewing and Temuera Morrison.

A sleepy town in rural Australia is attacked by alien invaders, who capture the majority of the populace. A band of locals and visitors escape and form into a guerrilla force to resist the alien occupation.

Basically, it's The Tomorrow Series (itself basically Red Dawn Down Under) meets War of the Worlds.

Notable for its relatively impressive special effects for an indie Australian film (director Luke Sparke is a former propmaster).

It was followed by a sequel Occupation Rainfall that got a general release on January 28, 2021.


Occupation provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Many, including the establishing scenes in Taylor's Corner before the attack and whenever the resistance members are holed up at various safe locations.
  • Action Girl: Just about every single female character in the film qualifies. Quiet, pregnant nurse Vanessa is actually the first human to kill an alien by blasting it with its own Chainsaw Grip BFG.
  • Achilles' Heel: Matty has a severe head injury from his footy-playing days (which was mentioned to have put him in a coma). When he cops an explosion to the head during an alien ambush, it puts him back in the coma. Additionally, the aliens have one of their own - the the vision mode in their helmets displays living organisms - all living organisms, including trees and other plant life. In the forests, there's so much life that the human resistance fighters are almost invisible, preventing aliens simply finding them and obliterating them from the air. Marcus speculates that this is because where the aliens come from, there are no other living organisms.
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  • Alien Invasion: A textbook version. The aliens have apparently invaded the entire planet, devastating major cities such as Sydney. They capture hundreds of humans and are obviously planning to settle in permanently.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The alliance between the resistance, Army and alien defectors begins an assault the ruins of Sydney in the final seconds of the film. Amelia's voiceover claims more and more aliens defectors are joining the cause, and they fully intend to be victorious.
  • Aussies with Artillery: One of the best modern examples on-screen. The elite 2nd Commando Regiment features prominently and puts up a hell of a fight against the aliens, using Steyr assault rifles, mounted machine guns and sniper rifles to cut down alien after alien, all without a break in their Casual Danger Dialogue. Later, the rest of the Australian military gets in on the action with Tiger attack helicopters and F/A-18A Super Hornet jets taking on the alien drone aircraft. Director Luke Sparke's company Sparkefilms is a primary provider of accurate historical and modern Australian military props, and it shows.
  • Australian Rules Football: Matty and Jackson are the former and current captain of the local team and at the end of the film, end up saving the world by throwing the alien MacGuffin with a rugby-style pass.
  • Boss Battle: an alien Commander provides one of sorts to Major Davis, easily overpowering him, but turns his back at the wrong moment and is reduced to Ludicrous Gibs by his own emplaced weapon for his overconfidence.
  • The Cavalry: Provided by the Australian Army several times, including when the commando unit arrives during the alien assault on the forest encampment and Tiger attack helicopters performing a spectacular Gunship Rescue during the final assault.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Matt, Peter and Arnold fall into leadership roles in the resistance and have to struggle with rebellious younger fighters, interpersonal conflict and their own fears of not being able to protect their loved ones. Colonel Grant likewise knows the fate of the Sydney assault (and possibly all human resistance in Australia) rests on her decisions.
  • Cool Old Guy: Arnold, combined with a healthy dose of Grumpy Old Man. A former rifleman in the Army Reserve, he feels he knows better than most people and doesn't hesitate to tell them, but is still built like a tree trunk and strong enough to pull an alien soldier right through a wooden wall.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Helpless civilians can do nothing but run in the face of overwhelming alien firepower during the opening attack. True to form for Aussies, some hurl bricks at the alien infantry but are swiftly gunned down.
  • Darkest Hour: Eight months after the initial invasion, the aliens track the resistance to their hideout in the forest and assault it, killing the majority of them. Vanessa goes into labour just before the attack and Seth attempts to bludgeon her to death to avoid giving their position away. She dies minutes after giving birth, surrounded by grieving comrades.
  • Death from Above: The aliens's air support is provided by unmanned UFO drones armed with powerful energy weapons. They rain fire indiscriminately on civilians and human soldiers alike.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Seth, Vanessa and Jackson have plenty of character development and don't make it to the end of the film alive.
  • Elite Mook: Alien Commanders, distinguished by their brown hoods and capes, are far tougher and smarter than the regular troopers. A helmetless commander converses with Matty near the end of the film, laying out the aliens' motivations.
  • Fake Video Camera View: Near the beginning, a young lady stepping out of her family RV to do some vlogging while her family is stopped at a gas station/convenience store. The camera view is apparently intended to be universal, as opposed to being directed to users of English. The recording indicators are a timer display in top center, and a recording indicator of a red square surrounded by a white circle.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Matty and Jackson clash continuously through the film but team up for the final assault on the alien ship.
  • Green Aesop: The aliens state that they destroyed their own world (to the point where there was nothing left alive but themselves) and need Earth as a replacement. The alien commander scoffs at the human resistance, claiming humanity clings to a planet they were in the process of destroying themselves.
  • Heavily Armoured Mook: The aliens's basic infantry soldier is a towering humanoid clad in heavy pressed metal armour, armed with a Chainsaw Grip BFG. Only armour-piercing rounds, powerful explosions or their own weaponry can penetrate alien armour, but a lucky shot through gaps (such as under the chin) will still be fatal.
  • Heroic BSoD: Hardened former criminal and resistance fighter Peter is reduced to a blank stare after he fails to resuscitate Vanessa.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jackson is wounded during during the final battle in the factory and goes down shooting against a horde of aliens, even taking out the commander, before triggering the explosives and destroying the entire ship along with himself. Major Davis also assaults an emplaced weapon manned by an alien commander without backup. he lives.
  • Hollywood Tactics: After making all their progress against the invaders using insurgency strategies (hit-and-run ambushes and sabotage), the resistance joins the Australian Army charge a platoon of alien infantry (who are supported by a powerful emplaced weapon) across an open field, sustaining huge casualties in the process. Granted, their entire attack was a diversion from the off-screen Sydney operation, so this was probably intentional.
  • Humanoid Aliens: With their armour removed, The aliens are revealed to be a taller, human-proportioned version of The Greys (and are even named as such by the military), featuring slimy grey skin and large black oval-shaped eyes. They are vulnerable to much of the same physical damage as humans (dying from gunshots, explosions, bludgeoning) and also obviously need to eat as they start growing crops in Earth's soil.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Jackson and Vanessa's baby daughter Alison survives to the end of the film after losing both her parents, and is adopted by Peter and his family.
  • Invaded States Of Australia: The invasion is implied to be worldwide but the film only covers a small slice of rural Australia and a a brief shot of a ruined Sydney after the climax. All major Australian cities are stated to be destroyed or flooded due to the atmospheric effects of the alien's ships.
  • The Load: Local radio host Seth proves to be fairly useless and even attempts to kill Vanessa mid-childbirth to save his own skin. He gets his neck snapped by Pete for his trouble.
  • The Mothership: A kilometres-tall one parks above the factory just outside Taylor's Corner and functions as the alien's headquarters. More are seen hovering over Sydney.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: The aliens claim that humans are in the process of destroying Earth just as they destroyed their own planet. They need Earth as a replacement for their homeworld, and if they must kill to survive, they will. Amelia manages to forge a human-alien alliance by the end of the film by showing mercy to alien prisoners and offering to cooperate and share Earth.
  • Planet Looters: The aliens need Earth to survive, and don't particularly care that humans were here first.
  • Red Shirt: Lots of unnamed civilians, resistance fighters and Australian Army soldiers get gunned down on-screen.
  • Scenery Porn: Less in-your-face than most Australian films, but still very pretty.
  • Sequel Hook: While Taylor's corner has been freed by the destruction of the mothership, the alien army still occupies Sydney and many other cities. A human-alien alliance continues the battle at the film's end.