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Series / Stag

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Stag is a 2016 BBC comedy-thriller miniseries, about a group of friends on a hunting trip / Stag Party in the Scottish Highlands. The protagonist is the bride's brother, Ian, who was included at the last minute and doesn't really fit in with groom Johnners and his city boy mates. It's raining, it's dark, the game-keeper who was supposed to be leading the trip has gone off and left them, and then an unseen murderer starts picking them off one by one.

It stars Stephen Campbell Moore, JJ Feild, Rufus Jones, Amit Shah, Reece Shearsmith, and Jim Howick as Ian. The director is Jim Field Smith, of The Wrong Mans fame.

Stag provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Cell Phones Are Useless: There's no signal in the woods. Eventually they find a phone booth, but that has its own problems.
  • Closed Circle: You will get back to civilisation "when the river lets you".
  • Deadly Road Trip: To the Highlands. The locals in the pub aren't too keen on the loud, drunk visitors, and that's just the start.
  • Death by Recognition: They don't see the killer's face, but they do hear one of the victims say "I haven't seen you since..."
  • The Faceless: The sniper is in a ghillie suit, concealing that it's someone they all know.
  • Faking the Dead: They found Wendy's wallet on the bisected corpse. That doesn't mean it's Wendy.
  • Fish out of Water: Oh, so much. When Johnners says Wendy is their bookkeeper, Ian thinks he means 'librarian'.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: When one of the early victims disappears, they only find his legs. They carry them around for a bit looking for the rest.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": Poor Mex. If there had only been one mine...
  • Limited Wardrobe: The group are mostly sensibly dressed for hunting, but Ian loses his bag and has to wear someone else's dinner suit.
  • Narrowed It Down To The Guy I Recognise: Some reviewers did point out that Reece Shearsmith is always evil.
  • Nasty Party: The final reveal is that they've all been set up by Johnners, Johnners's ex Sophie, and their accountant Wendy.
  • The Navigator: Ian's a geography teacher! They're saved!
    • Going in Circles: ...until he forgets to take into account that time is passing, and the sun moves during the day.
  • The Nicknamer: Ledge.
    It's Wizbit. It's croupier Gollum. It's Sandi Toksvig. It's R2-D2!
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Johnners, Ledge, Cosmo, Mex... Ian initially seems like the only odd one out, but 'Wendy' turns out to be the man's actual surname.
  • Pet the Dog: Quite literally, with the game-keeper. He loves his spaniel.
  • Sand Necktie: The group become convinced Christoph is behind the killings, and decide to bury him so they can get away. When they change their minds, it's too late.
  • Smoking Gun: Ian wouldn't have realised Johnners was one of the killers if he hadn't seen Ledge clutching a tuft of pink fur.
  • Stag Party: It's Johnners's stag do, and they're hoping to bring some actual venison back from the trip. Just to emphasise the pun, Johnners spends the whole series in a violently pink deer costume.
  • Tontine: The dodgy Channel Islands investment scheme that the group are all in on.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Christoph turns up halfway through and tries to turn it into an action movie.