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Film / Zygote

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Zygote is a 2017 Sci-Fi Horror short film directed by Neill Blomkamp from Oats Studios. It briefly tells the story of the last two employees of an asteroid mining site in the Arctic Circle, part of the Far North Mining Operation owned by the mysterious Mega-Corp Cerberus Minerals in the future. However, although only two living people remain on the station, they are certainly not alone, nor are the other employees truly dead.

The film is very similar in atmosphere and setting to films like Alien and The Thing (1982) , while also bearing a resemblance to SOMA.


Zygote Contains Examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Word of God states that asteroids begin to fall to Earth much more often sometime in the 2040s, kicking off the creation of major asteroid mining companies like Cerberus.
  • Airvent Escape: Averted; at the start of the movie Barklay wants to continue hiding in the steam vents, but this is rejected by Quinn — they're running out of food and water, and the Creature knows everything about the station from the people it assimilated, so it's smart enough to track them down there.
  • An Axe to Grind: Barklay uses a fireaxe to cut one of the creature's arms off after incapacitating it, to find a fingerprint ID that will open the vault after Quinn's severed finger doesn't work.
  • Artificial Humans: Mining corporations are said to commonly use "synthetics" to do more dangerous mining operations, such as the risky job of diving deep into the hearts of asteroids to mine their cores. Barklay thinks that she is one due to her status as Canary-class, though Quinn reveals to her that creating synths is expensive, thus companies like Cerberus tend to instead buy human orphans like Barklay at young ages, convincing them that they are manufactured instead.
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  • The Assimilator: The creature is definitely this, as it has obtained body parts from everyone in the mining center except for Quinn and Barkley by the time the film begins. This is also the means by which it is able to move throughout the facility by acquiring the hands and fingers of staff members with different levels of finger print scanner authentification.
  • Asteroid Miners: Downplayed as the asteroids have fallen to Earth and buried themselves in the Arctic ice.
  • Body of Bodies: Jesus Christ, is the monster not fucking around. Managing to assimilate the 96 other workers in the facility, it's a huge, hulking, and absolutely grotesque mass of limbs and Extra Eyes.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass:
    • The Creature can gain access to all parts of the station as it's made up of the hands of those it has assimilated into itself.
    • Quinn cuts off his own finger and gives it to Barklay so she can get into the Vault. However this doesn't work so Barklay chops off one of the creature's appendages, although she has trouble locating a finger with the proper security credentials.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted; there's only two magazines for the rifle, and they don't last long.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The monster began as a creature living in an asteroid which "transmitted gigabytes of data" via light waves to instruct the miners who discovered it how to constuct a suitable host body for itself. They evidently followed its instructions.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: Barklay comes across an eviscerated corpse while being pursued by a Body Horror monster, as the computer announces. "If you are injured, remain calm."
  • Cliffhanger: Barklay makes to the Vault, but the Creature is still outside and has assimilated people who have biometric access to the Vault.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Canary-class miners of Cerberus are taught to hold the well-being of higher-class staff above their own at all times. Even worse, their purpose in the mining process involves mining at deeper levels in order to insure that expendable Canaries will face an emergency before higher-ranking staff are involved, much like actual canaries used for detecting gas in coal mines.
  • Cut the Juice: The power keeps dropping out and so the backup generator kicks in, but it's unreliable. Quinn says they can't stay there because they'll freeze to death if the power goes completely.
  • Eat Brain for Memories: Quinn warns Barklay that when the Creature kills him it will know everything he knows, including their plan to head for the Vault.
  • Eye Scream: Quinn gouged out his eyes when he was first exposed to the monster's light to avoid suffering the same fate as his colleagues. He didn't do it quickly enough, and so feels himself falling under the Creature's influence.
  • Fingore: Quinn cuts off his own index finger to give Barklay access to a vault.
  • Flesh Golem: The creature's body was created by the miners it had brainwashed.
  • Immune to Bullets: No, just very hard to stop. Barkley puts it down with a clip full of explosive bullets, but it eventually hauls itself to its feet.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Quinn realises he's falling under the influence of the Creature, which is outside the door trying to break it down. Barklay can't move quickly dragging a blind and injured man, so he tells her the truth about her being human and tells Barklay to warn the world about what's happened there.
  • Light Is Not Good: Flashes of light are the medium used by the creature to influence the station's staff to construct a body for it to inhabit.
  • Mega-Corp: Earth's bombardment by asteroids 20 years in the future caused asteroid mining companies to become these, dominating the global economy.
  • Population: X, and Counting
    CREW - 98
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot: The plot involves them heading for the Corporate Vault which has food and supplies behind a safe-like door. However Quinn warns that if he is assimilated the Creature will also know all about the Vault.
  • Slow Doors: The door to the Vault closes very slowly, just as the Creature is hauling itself to its feet and starting to shamble after Barklay.
  • Smart Gun: Quinn deactivates the fingerprint safety on his rifle so Barklay can use it.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: When Barklay hesitates to use the rifle because as a Canary she's not allowed to use it, Quinn deactivates the safety. "NOW PICK UP THE FUCKING GUN!"
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Barklay is revealed to be a human, rather than being a synthetic.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Synthetics are used as expendable labor. Subverted with The Reveal that Barklay is actually human, as the real synthetics are too expensive and durable to use in this manner.

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