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Film / Subject Two

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Subject Two is a 2006 Sci-Horror film in the vein of Frankenstein that explores the consequences and morality of bringing the dead back to life.

Adam Schmidt (Christian Oliver) is a willful young medical student who is invited to take part in groundbreaking research being led by Dr. Franklin Vick (Dean Stapleton). Curious and fed up with the rigidity of medical ethics, Adam accepts and leaves his school for snowcapped mountains, where Dr. Vick has a cabin isolated from the rest of society. After having an amiable chat with a local delivery girl named Kate (Courtney Mace), Adam and the doctor have a wary first encounter, but Vick manages to win the younger man over by calling him out on his curiosity and hinting at the potential of his work. Adam agrees to become Dr. Vick’s new assistant…

And then Dr. Vick kills him so the research can really begin.

Adam is subsequently revived and killed repeatedly throughout the film for the sake of the experiment. But as time passes, complications arise that require drastic action.


Subject Two includes examples of:

  • Achey Scars: Adam gains a few, while he can still feel pain.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Dr. Vick has developed an ambiguous serum able to resurrect the dead. Beyond the fact that it contains nanites, the audience is given no real clue how it works.
  • Back from the Dead: The central premise of the film.
  • Blackmail: Dr. Vick attempts to dissuade the Hunter from telling anyone about Adam by pointing out that he’s been hunting illegally.
  • Blood from the Mouth
  • Cassandra Truth: This is why Dr. Vick argues in favor of letting the Hunter go. Adam doesn’t buy it.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The man Adam knows as Dr. Vick through the film is actually the real Dr. Vick’s assistant, Ethan.
  • Death Is Cheap: Over the course of the film, Adam is strangled, stabbed, bled to death from the wrists, stabbed again by himself with a ski pole, shot, stabbed a third time, shot again and killed due to head trauma in a snowmobile accident. Subject One also comes back, despite being shot through the head.
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  • Death Seeker: Adam, toward the end.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Just like Dr. Vick says, Adam never sees Kate (in the movie) again.
  • Driven to Suicide: Adam edges toward this as he spirals into depression after Vick’s surgeries.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Arguably Adam’s burden by the end.
  • Feel No Pain: Adam after his nerves are severed following his Sensory Overload, causing a growing sense of depersonalization during the latter half of the movie.
  • For Science!!: It’s implied that Adam feels this way when his professor gives him a lecture on the value of medical ethics. This also seems to be Dr. Vick’s philosophy. And Ethan’s.
  • Friendless Background: There is no mention or indication that Adam has any friends before meeting Vick, which plays a large role in why Vick chooses him in the first place. Might be a result of Intelligence = Isolation.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal
  • Harmful Healing: A major plot point, as Vick’s serum causes this in Adam over the course of the film.
  • Healing Factor: Adam develops this during the film thanks to the serum. Counts as Cursed With Awesome, thanks to the above trope and his inability to feel anything by the end.
  • Hunting "Accident": A genuine one that ends with a bullet through Adam’s chest.
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: The Hunter who shoots Adam in the chest.
  • Immortality: The ultimate result of the serum.
  • Immortality Hurts
  • Insistent Terminology: Dr. Vick refers to Adam exclusively as “Subject Two” in his recordings.
  • In Medias Res: The movie opens to two men fighting violently on a snowy mountain, ending when one shoots the other through the head.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Adam kills the Hunter to keep his condition (and the research that caused it) secret.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ethan’s fate at the end. May double as Hoist by His Own Petard, considering the way he dies. Though since he drank the serum…
  • Loss of Identity: Adam claims that he “doesn’t exist” without his ability to feel.
  • Mad Scientist
  • Manipulative Bastard: Dr. Vick lures Adam to a remote cabin in the mountains to kill him for his experiment. He also lies about Adam being contagious and his true identity.
  • Minimalist Cast: Six. There’s the Professor, Adam, a girl named Kate whom he meets at the foot of the mountain, Dr. Vick, the Hunter and Subject One/the real Dr. Vick.
  • Mutilation Conga: Played for Drama.
  • Nanomachines: These make up part of Dr. Vick’s serum.
  • Nominal Importance: Despite thinking him bright and strong-willed, this is essentially how Dr. Vick sees, and thus chooses, Adam.
  • No One Could Survive That!: The Hunter’s reaction after he shoots Adam and Dr. Vick claims it to be Only a Flesh Wound.
  • Not Quite Dead: Adam. Later, Subject One.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ethan completely deflates when the real Dr. Vick reappears.
  • Pride Before a Fall: Adam at the start of the film. Ethan at the end, who is implied to have a God complex. Just before he’s hoisted by his own petard, he’s called him out on it;
    The Real Dr. Vick: You’re an assistant, not God.
  • The Reveal: By the end of the film, we learn that Subject One is the real Dr. Vick and Dr. Vick is actually his assistant/the intended Subject One, Ethan. This is foreshadowed from the very beginning.
  • Scale of Scientific Sins: A solid 6.
  • Schmuck Bait: Dr. Vick’s invitation is this for Adam.
  • Science Is Bad: Hints of this.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Adam after Dr. Vick’s surgeries.
  • Sensory Overload: Adam experiences this after he comes back to life the first time and it gradually increases, eventually causing him extreme pain and necessitating suicide. This motivates Vick to rework the serum’s formula and performs several surgeries to inhibit Adam’s reactions, ultimately leading to him deadening Adam’s ability to feel any physical sensations whatsoever. This comes back to haunt them both later, when it’s revealed pain is a part of the process and severing Adam’s capacity for tactile sensation was completely unnecessary and permanent.
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • Dr. Vick.
    • Ethan, according to the real Dr. Vick.
  • Snow Means Death: Most of the film takes place in the mountains. Ironically, Dr. Vick argues snow means life, as it it freezes the body and thus preserves it from cellular decay.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Arguably happens to Adam toward Dr. Vick during their experiments.
  • Super Serum: In addition to bringing him back to life, Vick’s serum also gives Adam heightened physical sensitivity, as well as superhuman endurance and healing.
  • Synthetic Plague: Adam assumes he’s contagious after taking the serum, based on how Dr. Vick handles him. Vick agrees and advises he keep away from “the population”. A later slip reveals he doesn’t really know, but lied to keep Adam from leaving.
  • Trust Me, I'm an X: Dr. Vick tries to reassure the Hunter that he’s a doctor and knows Adam’s gunshot wound to be nothing serious.
  • "Uh-Oh" Eyes: Adam’s eyes turn and remain white after he comes back to life the first time, though they aren’t particularly important aside from highlighting his undeath. Subject One also has them when he reappears.
  • Ultimate Life Form: Vick sees Adam as this post-serum.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Adam.
  • Wandering Off into the Snowstorm: Adam abandons Vick and his research at the end of the film, aimlessly disappearing into the mountains.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Adam may well ask this, once he can’t feel anything anymore. Contrast Vick.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Adam, according to Dr. Vick


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