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Room Full of Zombies

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Don't dead open inside? I don't get it.

Almost every zombie film has a scene where the survivors go into a house or building because it looks safe... but then there's that one room someone overlooked. They open the door and a swarm of zombies start to pour out. Usually this happens when people refuse to properly dispose of infected loved ones and they reanimate hours later. Some refuse to kill their loved ones out of simple grief and decide to hide them in the basement, attic, closet, etc. Also common in hospitals, where loads of infected may have been treated before anyone truly knew what was going on.

Overlaps with Safe Zone Hope Spot, Failed a Spot Check, Creepy Basement, and possibly Blackout Basement.


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    Comic Books 
  • In the Chilean comic Zombies en la Moneda, in an upper-class neighborhood that apparently is 100% safe, there are several mysterious containers that keep hundreds of zombies inside, this is part of the plan of a zombified Augusto Pinochet (It Makes Sense in Context) to punish the population in case of being betrayed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • George A. Romero, the godfather of the zombie movie, naturally used this quite a bit.
    • The original Dawn of the Dead (1978) had a SWAT team raid a housing complex that had their basement filled with zombies. The trope also shows up at a refueling station, and towards the end with Stephen's death when his elevator opens up on a floor filled with zombies.
    • At the end of Day of the Dead (1985), Captain Rhodes, while trying to escape from the semi-intelligent "domesticated" zombie Bub, gets chased to the end of a hallway with only a single door offering escape. He opens the door to find one of these, then gets shot by Bub and Devoured by the Horde.
    • In Diary of the Dead the pool house has zombies at the bottom of the pool. They were corpses at first... but then they reanimate.
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse: This happens when the team sent by the Umbrella Corporation unlocks the Hive below Raccoon City in the opening scenes.
  • In 28 Weeks Later, one of the Infected creates this by getting into a room of normal people during a lockdown.
  • Juan of the Dead: The padlocked basement shelter to which Juan leads his gang turns out be an example of this. Primo breaks in, unaware there are zombies inside, and they drag him in. Ludicrous Gibs ensue.
  • There's an elevator full of zombies that opens up and released them in The Cabin in the Woods. It's possible to overlook, as there are seven more elevators opening at the same time, which spill out other kinds of monster.
  • Dance of the Dead: Features a version where the characters have to deliberately go into the room. The school gym gathers most of the zombies in town during prom, with all but a handful of students having been turned into the undead, after the group arrives too little too late. When they attempt to blow up all of the zombies, someone crawling through the vents accidentally drops the remote into the middle of the dance floor, with part of the climax involving trying to get to it without being eaten.
  • Boy Eats Girl: Discussed while Diggs, Henry and Cheryl are hiding in a broom closet.
    Henry: We’ve got to get out of here.
    Diggs : Are you crazy? They’re out there, we’re in here, I don’t see the problem.
    Henry: The Problem is, if they open this door, we’ve nowhere to run.
    Diggs: Why are they gonna open this door? They’re flesh eating zombies, not cleaning ladies.

  • Zombies are a recurring enemy in the Fighting Fantasy series, and more often than not you'll end up randomly opening a door and be greeted by a small legion of undead foes.
    • A small antechamber in a seemingly-empty dungeon in Eye of the Dragon turns out to contain six zombies, which ambush you the moment you enter the room. If you have a Ring of Zombie Control, you can order them to back off, otherwise you (and your friend, Littlebig the Dwarf) will have to battle the entire group.
    • Blood of the Zombies: The interiors of Goraya Castle; every random room will contain nearly ten of these undeads, and there are chambers literally crowded with zombified foes in the double digits. But luckily this adventure happens to be set in modern times (unlike most of the books which took place in the Medieval era), therefore your character would've had access to firearms and grenades to battle the undead.

  • A variation happens in John Ringo's Black Tide Rising, when Faith is training a pilot (who has no personal combat training or experience) how to clear a ship of zombies, and the pilot isn't doing well. He enters a room which he thought was clear but which Faith knew had dozens of sleeping zombies. So this trope is played straight from his point of view, but not from hers.
  • Star Wars Legends: Happens in Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead... because these zombies follow the orders of the man who turned them undead, and he was having his Not a Zombie lead the heroes to them.
  • In World War Z, South Korea was afraid that this might be the case with North Korea. The entire population of North Korea disappears after the zombie outbreak. It is theorized that the entire country disappeared into underground tunnels. It is left ambiguous whether they remain uninfected, in which case there's a highly militarized nation down there that thinks the entire surface is zombie-infested, or whether they were infected. No one wants to mount an expedition for fear of releasing nearly twenty-three million zombies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel has several rooms full in "Habeus Corpus", where the zombies swarm all over the Wolfram and Hart building.
  • The final episode of Deadliest Warrior has Zombies vs. Vampires, where the lair of three vampires is swarmed with zombies.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • In the series premiere, Rick is faced with a room that's been barred shut. Fortunately, the helpful sign on the door, as seen on the trope image above, helped warn him from unsecuring it and letting out the zombies that were behind it. It's later pointed out the sign is confusing — it was the chained door and the guttural snarling that frightened him off.
    • Shows up again in season 3, where Andrea opens a door that leads to a staircase FILLED with the dead bastards.
    • The Hunters make camp at a school they used to live at, which now just barely contains a horde of starving walkers. Sure enough, a few episodes later, Father Gabriel accidentally unleashes the horde and gets his own church overrun.
    • The Wolves have a trap set to kill innocent people where the victim can accidentally open several food trucks full of walkers.

    Video Games 
  • DOOM (2016): This is a common occurrence in the game, but the most notable one is right after getting the BFG9000, where you land in an area with about twenty Possessed. It's pretty much a testing ground for the aforementioned weapon.
  • Resident Evil 2:
    • Shows up where you open an unassuming door (in a save room, no less) and zombies shamble in. If you pay very close attention, you can be Genre Savvy before opening it. Seeing as the room has a window to the outside, and it's been well established early on that all of outside is filled with zombies.
    • In one of the RPD's save rooms, there's a fuckload of them in HUNK's minigame, to the point that players have a margin for error of literally one half a second to get away from the entrance before the zombies swarm and inevitably kill them.
  • Past a certain point, every time you call the service elevator in the first Dead Rising, the doors *ding* open only to reveal that the car is packed with the undead. In order to use the elevator, you must melee like crazy until they all fall.
  • Left 4 Dead:
    • Because of the way zombies spawn, an otherwise empty house might have a single room packed with zombies or be an area that a zombie horde spawns from.
    • The official comic featured a boat that the cast initially thought as a good means of escape, but was quickly declined since its cargo hold was full of witches.
    • Due to some Early-Installment Weirdness, occasionally the original game would see zombie hordes spawning out of a bathroom stall.
  • Diablo III has a scene where your character must go in a room like this with a blacksmith in order to assist him in disposing of the infected, including his own wife. Justified as it was where the town was housing the bite victims from earlier zombie attacks who hadn't turned yet.
  • Played with in The Last of Us: the group enters the sewers in order to take a shortcut to their destination (hopefully avoiding the raiders along the way), only to find the place home to hordes of Infected. They barely make it out the other side... where they see the entrance has been barricaded and has big, obvious warnings: "INFECTED INSIDE! DO NOT OPEN!"
    Ellie: Are you shitting me? Well, thanks for the warning on the other side, guys!
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 1 has a particularly nasty trap involving a room that looks perfectly harmless, with only a single cut-in-half zombie in plain sight. Step on the wrong spot, though, and the floor will give way, dropping you into a cluster of a half-dozen other zombies. Headcrab zombies are also fond of luring Gordon into a false sense of security by pretending to be dead bodies or hiding in (opaque) toxic waste until he comes too close.
  • Can happen in Cataclysm fairly often, and refugee centers in particular always generate with a sealed-up room or two full of undead. Even if the center is inhabited by NPCs, though in that case they'll usually assign a mission to clear out the sealed-off rooms if prompted. Nothing's guaranteeing it'll STAY sealed though, especially considering zombies gain a bonus to their ability to smash obstacles when surrounded by fellow undead.
  • In Halo Wars 2, the ruined city of High Charity is this on a gigantic scale, sealed under a solid dome by the sentinels of the Ark and kept under heavy guard. Unfortunately, the Banished destroy most of the defences so they can salvage resources from the surrounding debris field, and one of their commanders decides to slice open a tiny passage through the shield so he can search for greater treasures. A few minutes later, the Flood emerge from the breach, overrunning the landscape and devouring everything they see.