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Safe Zone Hope Spot

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Michael: Truck's not gonna make it to Fort Pastor.
Steve: No, forget the truck. That place is fucked, man. Bloodbath city.
Kenneth: How do you know?
Norma: We just came from there.

Usually when there's a Zombie Apocalypse, Alien Invasion, or some type of pandemic thanks to The Virus or The Plague, there will eventually be rumors that start to spread amongst survivors and refugees about a "safe zone" or an "outpost" or something to that effect. Maybe they find an abandoned journal that describes it, or hear a radio broadcast. It may be a fortified structure or bunker or a location that offers natural protection from threats, such as a remote island.

Hearing news of a possible refuge, the desperate characters go on an arduous and harrowing pilgrimage to said place where there's hopefully food, shelter, and uninfected (and sane) humans.

Of course the characters eventually reach said destination only for them to find out the hope- and soul-crushing truth. Truth being that the outpost/Safe Zone has been either overrun, abandoned, and desolate (and probably has been for hours, days, weeks, or months), or maybe they have been Lured into a Trap. Or worse, there never was an outpost or safe zone to begin with, likely due to misinformation (or false hope). Could result in a Shoot the Shaggy Dog moment, and or Downer Ending.

Compare Room Full of Zombies and Unsafe Haven. Overlaps with Abandoned Area and the cynical variants of The Promised Land in some cases.

Due to this trope inherently involving a reveal, there are unmarked spoilers below.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Shinzo: The whole plot is about a girl named Yakumo, after waking up from hibernation centuries After the End, trying to reach the last human stronghold somewhere out west. Only at the end of the season does she learn that Shinzo was already destroyed by the Dark King of the Enterrans at the end of the war and she's really the Last of Her Kind. Her quest wasn't for nothing, though. When she killed the time-displaced Dark King Mushrambo, she erased the exinction of humanity, allowing both Humans and Enterrans to coexist. Shinzo's still ruined, but humans still exist.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In 28 Days Later a broadcast on the radio claims that there is a safe zone north of London and a cure for the virus. When the main characters arrive, it turns out that the point of the broadcast was to attract more people (specifically women) to the tiny group of soldiers holed up there, and the "cure" for the virus is waiting until the Infected die off. Incidentally, this was actually a perfectly reasonable strategy: The location was reasonably defensible and the Infected were Technically Living Zombies who weren't smart enough to operate a tin opener, so within a few more weeks they'd starve. The trope would have been totally averted if the commanding officer of the squad hadn't gone off the deep end.
  • The Birds fades out on the survivors leaving Bodega Bay for San Francisco, hoping to find help. Hitchcock's original plan was to have it fade back in to a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge covered in birds, but the studio felt that was too dark and made him leave it open.
  • Cargo (2013): During the Zombie Apocalypse, Andy and his family briefly head to a rumored hospital which turns out to be just an old, underfunded rural infirmary.
    Andy: This place looked bigger on a map.
    Etta: We never cease to disappoint.
  • In the film Carriers the main characters hear of a safe zone where supposedly there's a group of scientists who found a vaccine. By the time the travelers get there, the outpost/safe zone is abandoned with garbage trucks stuffed cartoonishly to capacity with body bags. They eventually find ONE scientist doctor inside a plastic chamber with 2 kids. He does a Face-Revealing Turn showing that he's infected. He tells how the vaccine was a failure, and how everything fell apart. He pours himself and the 2 kids something in red cups, which was indicated to be poisoned fruit punch. Later on, the characters find an abandoned golf resort that is as luxurious as it can get, as well as stocked up with massive amounts of food... the big problem is that it had already been taken over by a Crazy Survivalist group, and if that in and of itself wasn't enough, one of them (that they had left behind to keep the place safe) had gotten infected somehow (even if they had their own strict biohazard rules in place to try to prevent this) and died on the resort's pool, turning only-God-knows how much of the place into a "poisoned well".
  • In Children of Men, the final destination of the MacGuffin Escort Mission is to bring Kee in contact with a mysterious, non-governmental group called the "Human Project", supposedly based in the Azores. This group is sought to be humanity's last hope for curing infertility. The movie ends right before Kee is being picked up by the group and we never learn if they manage to live up to their expectation.
  • Subverted in the post-nuclear film Damnation Alley. The main characters receive a radio signal from Albany, New York, the only major American city to survive Doomsday. Despite fears that this trope is in play, when they reach their destination it turns out that the people of Albany have been doing just fine. This trope is discussed early on with Tanner fearing that, after they have sacrificed so much to arrive to Albany, they end up finding that the radio station is some kind of automated system that managed to survive the apocalypse while everything else in the city did not.
  • The Dead
    • The military base the heroes spend most of the film traveling to turns out to be surrounded by zombies, who are weakening the walls while the soldiers inside are almost out of bullets.
    • The United States of America turns out to be a national example, as Brian thinks it is safe from zombies and his government can send a plane to rescue him, but the nation has severe zombie problems of its own.
  • The First Purge: Nya spends several scenes trying to take Isaiah to a church to ride out the night. By the time she gets him back there, mercenaries are killing everyone in sight.
  • While trudging through the empty town at the start of Five, Roseanne hears a church bell chiming and hurries to the church hoping to find more survivors. Instead she finds that bell rope is being jerked about by the wind, causing the bell to ring.
  • In I Am Legend, Anna and Ethan are traveling north to a supposed outpost filled with other people who were immune to the virus that wiped out mankind. They heard Robert's radio transmissions and travel to New York along the way. At the end of the film, it is shown that a well-defended walled settlement did exist, and Anna & Ethan made it there safely.
  • I Am Mother: Woman tells Daughter of a colony of human survivors hiding out in a mine. When they actually get to Woman's residence, she reveals that she fled the mine years ago and the people she used to know are all most likely dead.
  • Independence Day: After the aliens destroy the world's biggest cities, the heroes are flying toward NORAD, the most heavily defended bunker in the world, when they learn it has been destroyed as well.
  • Jason X: The spaceship spends several scenes heading for the Solaris station, where sixty soldiers are on standby to restrain Jason. Jason kills the pilot once they arrive, causing the ship to blow through several key areas of Solaris. The ship survives. The space city doesn't.
  • Sanctuary in Logan's Run. Note that this is only true in the movie; in the book, it's quite real.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. Furiosa is taking the Five Wives to "the green place", an oasis where she was born and raised before being abducted by Immortan Joe. She eventually learns that since her abduction, the green place turned toxic and dried up, forcing her tribemates to scavenge like everyone else. It's Max who realises there still is a 'green place' — the Citadel they all fled from is fed by artesian wells, and if they can just blast their way through Immortan Joe's pursuing forces...
  • No Blade of Grass: Zigzagged. Throughout the famine and accompanying Apocalypse Anarchy, the main characters determinedly trek toward a valley that has a crop of potatoes for food and can be defended against intruders. Once they get there, there are already a lot of refugees there and John's brother and his men turn the group away at gunpoint. They are prepared to let John, his family, and Roger in if they'll abandon the others, but John elects to launch an attack on the barricade and force the people already settled in the valley to let his entire group in. His brother dies in the fight, to John's distress.
  • There are a couple in Romero's Of The Dead series;
    • In the original Dawn of the Dead (1978) there are rumours that the infection isn't so bad in Canada and that was where the gang was originally heading before they entered the mall.
    • With Day of the Dead (1985) you could say the bunker was one before the events of the movie but at the end, the survivors don't seem to be having any problems on their tropical island, perhaps the happiest Romero ending.
    • In Land of the Dead Pittsburgh was one of the last remaining cities in the world (perhaps the last) to survive the zombie horde but the events of the movie soon change that.
    • Survival of the Dead has an island that is meant to be free of zombies but it turns out that isn't 100% correct either.
    • In Dawn of the Dead (2004), this happens twice. First, the local army base, Ft. Pastor is overrun. Second, they attempt to head off to an island in Lake Michigan... which doesn't end so well either.
  • This happens in Pandorum. They find a survivor in a secure room who seems to be relatively sane and healthy and are confused as to how he's getting enough to eat. Then he drugs them and tries to eat them.
  • Rats: Night of Terror: After the End, a band of survivors discover a city with a water purifier, fresh growing food, and even some amenities. Naturally there's a catch. Thousands of bitey little catches, actually. Several large ones, as well, depending on the Rat-people's disposition.
  • In Red Planet, most of the crew is forced to evacuate the ship. They end up crash-landing far away from their intended destination, a prefab outpost, that has been set up by automated probes. With not much air in their suits, they are forced to walk the Martian landscape. They end up making it with only a few minutes of air left... only to find the outpost destroyed by something. While suffocating, one of them cracks open his helmet and realizes that Mars has a breathable atmosphere thanks to humanity's attempts at terraforming the planet.
  • Resident Evil Film Series:
    • Resident Evil: Extinction: The plot is partially driven by Alice finding an old notebook that indicates that the virus that killed off the planet itself is unable to travel north to Alaska. Claire Redfield takes the remaining survivors in a helicopter in that direction at the end of the film, but it isn't shown whether or not it was true.
    • Resident Evil: Afterlife: Alice arrives at the aforementioned coordinates in Alaska that she found on Extinction, only to discover that Arcadia, the so-called safe haven where survivors are supposed to have gathered, is in fact a trap laid by the Big Bad.
  • Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse: In a short-term example, one of the first things the main characters do after encountering zombies is drive to the sheriff's station. They find it abandoned, with a sign on the front door saying the town has been evacuated and a set of directions to the nearest military checkpoint outside of town.
  • Stake Land: Zigzagged.
    • The first film shows three towns holding out against the vampires and their Brotherhood followers. The first two towns featured are entirely safe (albeit low on supplies), but the main characters are only interested in passing through them. The third town, Strivington, is doing much better and almost inspires them to stay. Then the Brotherhood drops vampires into the town square with helicopters. Strivington and most of its people survive the ensuing battle, but the casualties they do take are grimly emphasized, and the main characters decide not to stick around.
    • The first film ends with Martin and Belle reaching New Eden, a fabled safe zone that the vampires can't access due to the cold temperatures, but which some people claim is inhabited by cannibals. According to the sequel, the cannibalism stories weren't true, but the vampires make it into New Eden after all several years later through unclear means.
    • In the sequel, the fortified compound well outside of New Eden is equipped with UV lights to ward off vampires. A brotherhood infiltrator destroys their defenses, and in the ensuing battle, the compound's leaders are forced to make a Heroic Sacrifice as their surviving people flee into the wilderness.
  • Inverted in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, where the T-850 tricks John into thinking that they're going to Skynet's core to stop Judgment Day. Instead the T-850 is taking him to a hardened bunker so John can survive Judgment Day and lead the resistance. It still serves as a Hope Spot and leads to a depressing ending.
  • The train in Time of the Wolf. The hope that the survivors are holding on to that someone will eventually come and they'll be rescued. We never learn if the train actually comes to take them away.
  • Train to Busan: The people on the train think Daegu — the next stop after Seoul — is a safe zone from the Zombie Apocalypse, with Seok-woo even being promised a haven by his company. Of course, the city's actually been overrun by zombies, and the survivors have to make a break for the train. Busan, however, remains a safe zone at the end of the film.
  • Played bleakly straight with World Of The Dead The Zombi Diaries 2. A group of British soldiers was told to go to a military outpost where survivors would be evacuated by boats, cause the British military was gonna bomb Britain's cities. What's left of the military unit finally arrives as the bombing sirens sound only to find that the base was overrun during a firefight and that everyone was dead presumably the zombie attackers as well. The group decides to hold up there anyway. Turns out this was a bad idea as there were SEVERAL dozen zombies hidden in the bunker. The unit attempts a Last Stand only to be overrun themselves. The final guy survives the Safe Zone Hope Spot just due to the fact he had a Heroic BSoD and decided to go to the beach and look for the boats anyway while the rest stayed behind in the outpost. He makes it to the beach only to realize that the boats left (or maybe they never arrived). Later on the beach, he meets a couple who say they're coming from the area the survivor was trying to get to. Telling him they heard that it was safer where he was because Britain was an island. The survivor just gives a subtle disturbed horrified glare to the oblivious couple, while the woman caressed her pregnant belly.
  • In World War Z, a city in Israel is one of the only places not overrun by zombies due to a giant wall, so many people head there. However, many of them feel the need to celebrate their safety to the point that it attracts enough zombies that they form a tall pile and are able to get over the wall.
  • Zombieland has one specifically named safe zone (Pacific Playland) and two more vague locations. Each one contradicts the others and all of the characters except one are aware that the zones are just rumors and gossip fueled by desperation and ignorance; Tallahassee explains that people on the West coast say it is safe on the East coast, and people on the East coast say it is safe on the West coast. Wichita is deliberately lying about Pacific Playland to her little sister in order to give her hope and something to look forward to. Cut out from the film was Wichita's plan to kill Little Rock and herself after they reached Playland because she knew there was no real hope to surviving.
  • A self-inflicted version in Zombieland: Double Tap: the Babylon compound is a nice safe place to live, lots of food and people, yay! Except that they are all pacifists in the worst possible way to be in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, having melted all of their weapons to make Peace-symbol necklaces, living next door to the worst kind of zombie sub-species that exists, and making a lot of noise with their constant partying. The climax happens because the zombies finally catch on to the fact that they have been living close to a smorgasbord of human flesh all of these years and attack.

  • Not strictly this trope but in the same vein — Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell has safehouses kept by international agreement among the world's intelligence agencies where no one is allowed to be harmed, including three luxurious 'retirement homes'. When the main characters finally arrive at a retirement home, it's revealed they've actually got a massive suicide rate, as their formerly ambitious residents can't cope with being cooped up in a Gilded Cage from which You Can Never Leave.
  • In Stephen King's Cell, the rumors about an area protected from the cell phone Zombie Apocalypse turn out to have been manufactured to lure and turn the remaining humans. The main characters aren't dumb enough to believe it, but they're just forced to go there regardless.
  • The Day of the Triffids has at least three of these, depending on how you look at it. Only the fourth safe zone turns out to be really and truly safe.
  • Down to a Sunless Sea: After a nuclear war wipes out nearly every airport in the world (along with nearly every country) the narrators plane spends a while attempting to make it to Funchal Airport in Santa Cruz, the only surviving airport they're aware of that can take planes their size. The Hero of Another Story air traffic controller they contact tells them that, based on where everyone else who called him asking for help is, he has room for them (and a few more passenger planes) to land, but a little while later he calls back to report that the runway is blocked due to a collision between a private plane that tried to sneak in behind a landing passenger plane. This forces the dismayed main characters to try to find another place to land (although the place they do find proves safer from fallout in the long term).
  • The Girl With All the Gifts: After Hotel Echo is overrun, the main characters retreat toward the Citadel City of Beacon. However, once they reach Beacon, they intend to vivisect the main character (a sentient zombie). Based on Gallagher's memories and the prequel novel, Beacon is also a resource-starved military dictatorship that even uninfected humans dislike. Additionally, Hotel Echo hasn't received a radio message from Beacon in months and isn't even sure whether it's still there. Near the end of The Film of the Book, Parks receives a message from Beacon revealing that zombies have breached the perimeter and the residents view Hotel Echo as their safe-zone hope spot due to being ignorant of its abandonment.
  • Ray Bradbury's short story "The Long Rain". A group of men is trapped on Venus. They journey in search of one of the human-built Sun Domes, where they can find shelter from the constant rain. The first one they find has been attacked and destroyed by the native Venusians, causing them to despair.
  • The Road has a boy and a man heading south to get to a warmer climate. Of course, this place doesn't exist.
  • In Dmitry Glukhovsky's Metro 2033, dwellers of Moscow Metro believe that Russian leaders survived the nuclear holocaust and are pulling the strings from their deep underground hideout Metro-2, somewhere below the Kremlin. When the main characters finally find the Metro-2, it is dead and empty, and right under the Kremlin there's a giant man-eating jelly mutant.
  • On the Beach: After World War III, a nuclear fallout cloud has enshrouded the world, leaving only Australia non-irradiated (and this is expected to end soon), communications (a radio Morse transmission in the original book and film, a web broadcast in the 2000's remake) are intercepted coming from the United States, which leads to an expedition being sent in the hope that this may mean another non-irradiated area (or at least some survivors). It turns out that (in the book and first film) some branch had smashed through a window and occasionally tapped a telegraph key when the wind picked up, and (in the remake) a solar-powered laptop on a TV station booted up every time it recharged and sent out the webcast.
  • The Betsy Byars middle grade western Trouble River features young Dewey Martin and his grandmother, who flee their cabin after encountering a hostile Native American scout. Knowing that he will come back with the rest of his war party, Dewey and his grandmother construct a raft and flee down the river. They spend several chapters fleeing downriver toward the refuge of their friends, the Dargans. Upon arriving, they discover that the Dargan homestead was burned to the ground in a surprise attack before they left their own home. This forces Jeremy and his grandmother to raft a great deal further, through dangerous rapids, to reach a town that the war party avoided.
  • Early in the Warm Bodies prequel book The New Hunger, Julie and her parents drive to Canada, which has fortified itself against the zombies while the rest of North America is ravaged. Shortly after reading the fortified border, they realize that the soldiers on the walls are dead, and cities are burning in the distance.
  • Cowslip's Warren in Watership Down. Traps and despair and lies, oh my.
  • World War Z is filled with stories and allusions to this trope. One story (the mercenary's) stands out in that the "hope spot" part was self-inflicted by the people in the safe zone who were stupid enough to broadcast on the Internet that they were partying and feasting in the place, which led to thousands of desperate, hungry people trying to get inside. When the rich and famous safety zone occupants didn't let them in, those people promptly forced their way inside and tried to make it a real safe zone. Since the mercenary decided to leave as soon as he realized he was being asked to gun down ordinary people looking for safety, we don't get to learn how it turned out for them.
    • The Redeker Plan (and its many variants) is largely based around both invoking and subverting this trope: safe zones are to be established throughout the country, and people encouraged to gather in and defend them. These are not expected to survive, as the government is putting most of its resources onto the real safe zone, where the people important to the war effort are gathered. The other zones are just there to keep the zombies busy, and keep the real safe zone from being overrun by refugees.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide lampshades how often this trope appears in zombie fiction in one of its rules: "There is no 'safe', only 'safer'." As in, you are only as safe as you work in making yourself safe, and when it comes to zombies it's best to assume it'll never be enough.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica
    • Battlestar Galactica (1978)
      • Pilot episode "Saga of a Star World". The Colonial refugees reach the planet Carillon and find it to be a paradise, with plentiful food, fuel, and gambling. It turns out that the native aliens capture humans as food for their larvae.
      • Galactica 1980: The refugee fleet reaches Earth but discovers that its technology is too primitive to fight the Cylons, so the fleet has to leave in order to avoid drawing the Cylons' genocidal attention to the planet. Several refugees head down to the planet in the hopes of providing it a means of raising Earths' tech levels so they could withstand Cylon attacks.
    • In the Battlestar Galactica (2003)
      • New Caprica was a planet located in the middle of a nebula that made it impossible for Cylons to track down the survivors of the attack on the Twelve Colonies, however a nuclear explosion caused by one of the fleets' ships alerted the Cylons and forcing the Humans to abandon New Caprica.
      • episode "Revelations," they finally find Earth! And it's a nuclear wasteland. Frak. Fortunately; they end up finding the actual Earth through a blind jump later; where its' revealed that the Colonials cross-bred with the primitive Humans to give rise to Humanity in the modern day.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Last of the Time Lords", it's belatedly revealed that the "Utopia" that the last survivors of humanity were trying to reach in the episode of the same name was not the promised safe haven in which they could ride out the end of the universe. Worse still, the resulting despair drove the survivors into an insane series of experiments in a desperate attempt to become something that could withstand the apocalypse, transforming them into the Toclafane.
  • House of the Dragon uses this trope brilliantly in the first season finale, as Lucaerys and Arrax break through the stormclouds into the atmosphere above them and a glorious, peaceful sky. Vhagar does the same shortly afterward and shreds mount and rider both into gobbets with one ferocious bite, rising out of the storm clouds like a shark from the ocean.
  • Key & Peele: Played for laughs in a sketch about an Alien Invasion by shapeshifters who can appear human. The two black protagonists come across a white man wearing confederate flag clothing who invites them to join his community of survivors. Peele's character responds by just shooting him, which reveals that he was just an alien impostor trying to trick them.
    Key: Wait, how did you know?
    Peele: Come on. Redneck wants us to move into his community? Us?
  • The Odd Couple (1970): This trope supplies one of the final punchlines in the episode "Security Arms": after their apartment is robbed (not much of a surprise, considering they live in 1960s New York in all of its real-life borderline Urban Hellscape status) Felix moves to the titular apartment building, which is fortified up the wazoo but has a large number of repressive and outright creepy security measures that make Felix decide he is not going to trade off his freedom for his security. Just as the landlord boasts that he is going to miss the building's safety, one of the building's guards enters the room and tells the landlord the building has been robbed.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Final Misson", after the shuttle he is riding in crashes on the desert moon Lambda Paz which orbits Pentarus III. Picard decides that he, Wesley, and the ship's Captain Dirgo will make for a group of mountains, believing their best chance of finding water and shelter is there.
  • Van Helsing (2016) repeatedly mentions in-universe rumors that Denver is of a high-enough elevation that it allows the sun to still be visible through the ash cloud from Yellowstone, thus making it safe from the vampires who have overrun the rest of the country. When the heroes finally arrive in Season 3, they find that it is a secure area, with the military further fortifying it against nighttime attacks. Unfortunately, by this point, a new breed of Daywalking Vampires (who also have even more powerful Healing Factors than normal vampires) has emerged, and when they reach Denver they quickly overrun the defenders.
  • The Walking Dead: This trope is the franchise's greatest (and darkest) Running Gag. Most of the time, because the characters didn't Beware the Living hard enough.
    • The show starts with Rick Grimes trying to reach Atlanta, only to find out that there's no one there.
    • And again with the CDC. Safe place, exposition that tells them what is going on (mainly that the zombie virus is incurable), hot water... pity that at the time they arrive there's only a little less than half a day or so to go before it self-destructs.
    • They do manage alright on Hershel's farm for a while, but even that gets overrun with zombies eventually.
    • The prison arguably fares much better until The Governor sends a truck full of zombies through the front gate. They do manage to hold it and seem to have a good and safe life by the start of season four until an epidemic breaks out, zombies start breaking through the fence, and the Governor returns with a tank.
    • And then we have Terminus, a supposed "sanctuary for all". "Those who arrive, survive" as they say. Most of the cast finds themselves locked in a train car, and it is not-so-subtly implied that Terminus is actually run by cannibals who are simply luring other survivors in as a source of food.
  • In the Turkish series Yakamoz S-245, Defne searches the island with the crew of the eponymous submarine for the shelter that her fiancé was heading for. When she finds it, everyone in the shelter is dead as it's not deep enough to protect them from the gamma rays. Worse, several sailors get trapped on the island and have to be left to their fate, and she gets blamed as it was All for Nothing.

     Tabletop Games 
  • The End of the World:
    • In "No More Room In Hell," the most viable refuges from the Zombie Apocalypse are compounds managed by fanatical cults that happily indoctrinate all refugees into virtual slavery, providing an unpleasant wake-up call for any player characters hoping to seek shelter there. Worse still, they continue to gain followers because the cults are the only organizations that have the power to prevent their membership from rising again as zombies... except for a plot encounter in which the leader of one such compound dies and becomes a zombie, resulting in the whole place collapsing into chaos.
    • "Nanopocalypse" features the North and South Poles as the only place where the Grey Goo can't follow due to the extreme cold, making both the Arctic and Antarctica the most sought-after destinations for refugees, to the point that players trapped in nanobot territory can only achieve passage for astronomical prices in supplies and/or favours. Unfortunately, if the players are lucky enough to get to the polar regions, they soon find that the only shelters there are research stations which were not meant to support so many refugees at once. Polar Madness ensues.]]

    Video Games 
  • The Bottom of the Well has a comparatively mild version. Alice can learn of a bomb shelter that would provide protection from the impending nuclear attack, and presumably contain supplies, but there are two problems. First, it's under the control of a self-appointed leader and her thugs, who aren't happy to share it. Second, sheltering there leaves Alice trapped by rubble after the bombs hit, with attempts at escape being potentially lethal (one of them involves digging through piles of radioactive ash, for example). Later on in the game (or quicker, if players don't go to the shelter at all), Alice gets word of a government-run evacuation site further towards the edge of town; this time, it turns out to be exactly as advertised, perhaps surprising more cynical players — although just because Alice gets there, it doesn't mean she hasn't already been exposed to enough radiation for it to be too late.
  • The Stinger of Crysis 3. The CELL Board of Directors are being evacuated to a safe house. And then it turns out Psycho got there first.
  • The safe point from Deadlight is this. It's basically a trap for Seattle militia rebels to round up people.
  • Technically this is always in effect in Fatal Frame. Most gamers believe that an area with a save point will be safe, and granted, they are ghost-proof... for a time. If you stay in any room for too long, a ghost WILL find you. Pray that it's not the Wandering Monk.
  • Flesh Birds: At the beginning, the guy in the cabin you start out in tells you that most of the people hiding from the killer birds are taking shelter in the church. Naturally, the object of the game becomes to get there. When you do, however, the church is full of dead bodies, and huge mounds of flesh from which a giant bird-bug monster rises to serve as the Boss Battle.
  • In the game The Last Stand: Union City, a post-it note left behind by a survivor warns a friend he wasn't optimistic about finding a "safe haven" up north for him and his kids. Especially after seeing so many be overrun by the dead while traveling.
  • Left 4 Dead pulls this one over and over and over again. The finale's safe zones are never safe, but they're usually still valid evacuation points (Mercy hospital, the corn farm military outpost).
    • There's the military holdout in Riverside, that is overrun when the survivors get there.
    • The Sacrifice comic deals with how it appears that the Florida Keys safe zone is real. We never get to find out if it's a true safe haven or not, as the final shot is of Zoey, Louis and Francis navigating towards the Keys.
    • The main destination in Left 4 Dead 2 is New Orleans, based on a map in the hotel in Savannahnote  that notes it as being the last city standing near the US's east coast. When the survivors reach the place, the military's already pulled out, and their only presence is the bombing jets and a single transport helicopter near the Veterans Memorial Bridge. The entire portion of the city that is explored in the "The Parish" campaign has signs of evacuation, like tarps and tents, line-separating rails and posted warnings on nearly every surface, as well as the corpses of several living people, either uninfected or carriers, shot dead near outposts like the bus station.
    • On a lesser scale, there are the Savannah Mall and the Whispering Oaks Amusement Park. They both turn out to be abandoned evacuation zones.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Citadel is an ancient, massive, heavily fortified - and sealable - space station protected by a fleet of warships, and serves as the seat of galactic government and civilization. The station is in fact a giant Mass Relay from which the Reapers intend to launch their invasion of the galaxy, and a smaller mass relay located inside allows the villain Saren to launch a ground assault and seize the station by surprise.
    • On Noveria, the surviving researchers and staff of the Peak 15 labs are holed up in a secured part of the complex, guarded by the lab's security staff. If you deal with the Rachni before visiting this part of the station, the security staff (secretly under Benezia's employ) attack you, and it is implied that they killed the researchers and staff themselves.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • Sanctuary was claimed to be a place where people could wait out the Reaper invasion. The installation is ultimately revealed to be a Cerberus base using refugees in experiments to create controlled Husks. And then the Reapers show up.
    • One or two background characters mention having their children relocated to Thessia, the homeworld of the Asari, which has yet to be attacked. The planet is rapidly overrun within a few hours near the end of the game.
    • And of course, once again, The Citadel, which not only gets invaded by Cerberus but later is attacked and seized by the Reapers during the Endgame.
  • In No Umbrellas Allowed, the Bunker of Freedom is a secret fallout shelter where people can hide to protect themselves from being Fixed by AVAC. However, the ticket price is a steep 25,000V and the closing date is at the end of Week 5. At the last minute, the organizers discount the tickets at 18,000V because they're desperate for more refugees, giving you a better chance to join it, but then Nari sets it on fire as revenge against Junghan Gong for scamming and attacking her friend Bokho, accidentally killing you inside.
  • Resident Evil 2:
    • The RPD building is not a good safe zone at all. The building has overrun barricades and is crawling with zombies and lickers (and an insane police chief). The last survivor turns into a zombie right before your eyes.
    • In one of the save roomsnote , opening the second door out of the room (opposite the one the player entered) allows a small flock of zombies to enter.
  • Every room in the game Shivers (1995) could be one. No matter where you go, there is the possibility of an Ixupi hiding somewhere nearby.
  • Your previously safe apartment in Silent Hill 4 becomes haunted in the game's second act. You no longer regenerate health by resting there, and have to purge the hauntings that periodically pop up unless you're going for certain endings. It's signified by the ceiling fan breaking off its fixture and dropping to the ground.
  • Soma:
    • Theta is widely regarded as the safest region of PATHOS-II, containing most of the base's residential and medical facilities; in the wake of the apocalyptic impact event, many workers from across the base were moved to Theta - especially once the WAU and its creations became a threat to the surviving human populace. As such, a big goal for Simon and Catherine is to get there, both for the safety factor and to access a submersible capable of reaching Site Tau. When they get there, however, Theta appears to be abandoned and the submersible is under lockdown. It's been taken over by Terry Akers and his crew of proxies on behalf of the WAU, and most of the population has been incorporated into a Lotus-Eater Machine.
    • In the wake of Theta's failure, the survivors made their way to Omicron in the hopes of finding safe haven. Unfortunately, Omicron was locked down and nobody inside responded to the hails; with nowhere else to go, the survivors ran out of oxygen and expired one by one. When Simon lifts the quarantine, he finds that the WAU has killed everyone by overloading their black boxes.
  • Telltale's Walking Dead naturally seems to make this a main point in its series just as its comic and TV versions. To wit...
    • Season 1: Originally, Hershel Greene's farm is portrayed like this, only for Lee and the others to be thrown out when Shawn Greene is killed by Walkers, with Hershel blaming the others for not saving him. They then put their hopes on Macon, only for that to already be overrun too by the time they get there, and the cast rides out the next few months in a motel they fortified. Finally, on Kenny's insistance, the survivors head to Savannah in the hopes of finding a boat and find somewhere safe, but this is portrayed as little more than a pipe dream, even after they do find a working boat, as they have no real destination in mind, and it ends up stolen anyway. The season ends with the only survivors being Clem, Christa and Omid.
    • Season 2: A little over two years later, Clem joins another group of survivors hiding in a cabin. While this seems safe enough, they're hiding from a Wasteland Warlord named William Carver, who's settlement the group originally fled from. When Carver tracks them down, the group flees, stumbling across another safe zone living out of an old ski resort, and much to Clem's shock and joy, includes Kenny from season 1, having barely survived his presumed death. Unfortunately, this doesn't last either, as Carver tracks them down, killing several survivors, and forcing the group to return to his settlement. Even after Clem, Kenny and the others succeed in escaping, killing Carver in the process, this trope kicks in again, as they search for a remote settlement called Wellington. It's real, but overpopulated, forcing whichever adult survivor who is still alive to beg them to at least take in Clem and baby AJ.
    • Season 3: If Clem agreed to stay in Wellington at the end of Season 2, it's revealed that it was eventually destroyed by raiders (in reality the New Frontier). Prescott, a settlement built around an old airfield, ends up suffering the same fate, with New Frontier soldiers crashing through their gates with a truck full of Walkers. Finally, New Richmond seemingly suffers this fate during the climax, but is rebuilt by the end with the help of Jesus and a few other soldiers from The Hilltop.
    • Season 4: Ericson's School For Troubled Youth, a boarding school that was abandoned by almost all the adult faculty when the apocalypse started, turns out to be a subversion, as it's held out for 8 years by the time the season starts, and never actually falls, even during the war with the Deltas. No matter who is alive in the ending, Ericson remains intact and safe.

    Web Original 
  • In Club Penguin Shutdown, the Ski Village was touted to be one of these places in which penguin life was mostly normal like life prior to the shutdown, but when Lil_Jeffy actually arrives and we finally get to see it, the place is a little more than a barren, frozen cold wasteland, and while the Ski Lounge held some friendly-looking (and not-so-friendly-looking) penguins, they really just used Lil_Jeffy's craving for Pizza as a tool to help get rid of the gang over on the Ski Hill. Sadly, it too is just like the rest of Club Penguin island; a broken husk of its former self that was corrupted by greed and abandonment.
  • In SCP-5000 (“Why”) the Global Occult Coalition managed to build a fortress called Ganzir in the middle of the ocean and get SCP-076-2 to help protect it. The fortress held up against the SCP Foundations assaults and a seize but was eventually destroyed, all but finishing the GOC and breaking humanities moral. Afterwards, the Church Of The Broken God attempted to rebuild what they could and take up their mantle.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in the nuclear apocalypse episode of Family Guy: The Griffins' trek through the wastes brings them to an incongruous patch of fertile land, with plenty of food and clean water for everyone. It seems like paradise... except it has Randy Newman, who just sits at his piano, 24 hours a day, singing about anything he sees. They move on.
  • In Hey Arnold! episode "Longest Monday", Arnold and Gerald try to get home without suffering the school tradition of having the fifth graders shove them into trash cans. Along the way, they find a safety zone where victims of the tradition are aided, only for it to be discovered by the fifth graders.
  • Parodied in a The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror segment based on 28 Days Later ("Don't Have A Cow, Mankind"). The Simpsons have just fled the overrun town and are wandering the woods in search of the "Safe Zone". They encounter a ragged, crazy-looking survivor.
    Survivor: SAFE ZONE?! You really think there's a safe zone?!! AHAHAHAHAAH!!! Yeah, it's right over there. *points out a peaceful community a small distance away*