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Western Animation / Dead Space: Downfall

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Dead Space: Downfall is a Direct to Video animated movie. Set in the Dead Space universe, it serves as a Prequel of the first game, going into detail about what happened onboard the USG Ishimura prior to Isaac Clarke reaching it.

The Red Marker is brought onboard the Ishimura. Meanwhile, the colony on Aegis VII is attacked by Necromorphs. One of the colonists escapes with the corpse of his dead wife and heads to the Ishimura, unaware that his wife is turning into a Necromorph. Onboard the Ishimura, the Unitologists want to worship the Marker, and start to otherwise go insane.

The colonists ship crashes into the Ishimura and the Necromorph escapes, eventually making its way down to the ship's morgue and infecting all the bodies down there. A team of crew members, led by chief of security Alissa Vincent, try to fight their way from the morgue to the top of the ship in a desperate bid to call for aid.

Dead Space: Downfall provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The spaceships and some backgrounds.
  • Accidental Murder: Dr. Kyne's attempt to sedate Captain Mathius goes horribly wrong, ending with the latter dying. The crew members, who had been restraining Mathius after agreeing with Kyne's assertion he was unfit for duty, wonder aloud whether or not it really was an accident; Kyne flees the bridge before he can be detained.
  • Adaptation Expansion: In the first game, a recording of Captain Mathius' death is garbled, leaving it ambiguous whether Dr. Kyne stabbed him in the eye unintentionally or did it on purpose. The movie expands upon this and makes it pretty clear that it was an accident.
  • Agony of the Feet: This happens to Jennifer, Colin Barrow's wife, when she walks on broken glass.
  • All for Nothing: Vincent's sacrifice is rendered pointless because something, possibly the Marker, ensures her final log is too garbled to be understood by the crew of the Kellion. Adding insult, in Dead Space 2 and Dead Space Aftermath, the Unitologist and the Earth's Government covered up the entire Ishimura incident and blamed it on terrorists.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The log Vincent records explaining what happened on the ship.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Dr. Kyne played a fairly small part in the first game, but here he's treated more like a main character.
    • Captain Mathius gets a pretty decent amount of screentime before his death.
  • Asshole Victim: Captain Mathius gets a needle stabbed in his left eye from Dr. Kyne's attempt to sedate him. Given his attitude before his Sanity Slippage, it's hard to muster sympathy for him.
  • Ax-Crazy: Everyone gets this from the Marker eventually, though some take longer to convert than others, and that assumes they live long enough to do so at all.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: Shen's security uniform strangely bares her midriff.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Samuel Irons in the mess hall.
  • Call-Back: At the very beginning of the movie, the first thing you see is the back of an engineer wearing the same suit as Isaac. It looks almost like a shot from the original game, complete with camera angle.
  • The Cameo: Nicole has a non-speaking appearance, being rescued by Vincent with some other civilians.
  • Cerebus Retcon: The retcons to the nature of the Marker in Dead Space 2 heavily alter the tone of this story, particularly Vincent's sacrifice. To whit, in the first game and originally this movie, the Marker was a good thing that was suppressing the Hive Mind, so therefore preventing Kyne's scuttling the Ishimura was the right move. In Dead Space 2, it was changed so that the Marker was the cause of the Necromorph outbreak and so destroying it would have instead been the correct choice. This changes Vincent's death from heroic to unnecessary.
  • Chainsaw Good: Irons uses a plasma chainsaw in a heroic moment. As it's far more effective than their pistols, the security team trades up in kind.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Vincent repeatedly screams "Shit! Shit!" when seeing a Necromorph for the first time.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The movie timeline runs much faster than is implied to have happened in the game; the game's audio logs suggest the Sanity Slippage took days to manifest alongside the Necromorphs. Other differences include the Marker being much larger and the Necromorphs being unable to approach it. Though that may be because it has use for Vincent.
    • The Necromorphs shown in the film can be killed by getting cut in half or beheaded. In the game, doing that couldn't be further away from killing them. The average Slasher can continue to function without its head, and is at least capable of pressing on with both legs amputated.
    • This movie shows all of the Ishimura's escape pods being launched, making escape impossible. However, in the game there's still a pod left on the bridge that Hammond uses to seal away a Necromorph and which later kills the crew of the USM Valor.
  • Continuous Decompression: How Vincent deals with the Necromorphs between her and the shuttle's emergency beacon.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Suffered by anyone who gets nabbed by a Necromorph. However, Shen is instead violently and brutally killed by a member of her own team gone insane.
  • Darkness Equals Death: After Colin suggests a Let's Split Up, Gang!, the lights flick off for a moment. When they come on, his partner has vanished.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dobbs, the rookie in Vincent's security team, is snarking all the time:
    Dobbs: There's a hell of a lot of blood, but no bodies.
    Shen: Sounds like one of your parties.
  • Doomed by Canon: Everyone other than Dr. Kyne since he appears in the first game.
  • Downer Ending: Almost everyone is killed and the Ishimura is a death trap.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Colin seems to hit this when he sees Jennifer commit suicide in front of him, becoming suicidally determined to bring her body home at any cost and becomes completely uncaring of anything else, smashing the comm monitor on his ship when Mathius warns him to stop.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: While Colin was preoccupied getting the deceased Jennifer back home, he was unaware they had picked up a stowaway Infector that went to work on her while on-route to the Ishimura. This results in Colin being attacked and killed by his newly infected wife just as they make it into the Planetcracker's shuttle bay.
  • Eye Scream: In the first game, you only saw a video log of it; here, you get to watch Mathius get stabbed in the eye up close. Then it goes further into this when after he gets impaled in the eye, he falls onto the floor, driving it into his brain.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Irons. As the Necromorphs advance on him, with his plasma chainsaw no longer functional and his strength depleted, he simply takes his Unitologist pendant and recites a prayer before being hacked to death.
  • Fan Disservice:
  • Flipping the Bird: Vincent gives Mathius a salute with her middle finger, though his back is turned at the time.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Even when the movie takes a few liberties with the plot, anyone who has knowledge of the first game knows how this will end. Almost everyone dies and the ship is lost to the monster infestation. Even the opening scene lays it all out by showing Vincent's final recording declaring her the only remaining survivor.
  • Foreshadowing: For The Reveal at the end of the game. The Survey team that finds the Marker at the beginning of the film first find evidence of mining activity that took place at least 150 years earlier, implying that the current CEC mining operation wasn't the first Human settlement on the planet.
  • Gorn: Prerequisite for a Dead Space tie-in.
  • Guns Are Useless: The security team's sidearms do precisely jack against the Necromorphs. This is justified as the games establish that you need to cut limbs off to kill Necromorphs, which the security team doesn't know. Even then, their standard issue sidearms are woefully underpowered compared to the weapons you carry around as Isaac.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Shen gets bisected, lengthwise, courtesy of Hanson.
  • Heel Realization: After witnessing the effects of the Marker and the infection, Dr. Kyne realizes that the Unitology church had been lying to the Ishimura crew about everything. He then sets out to sabotage the ship to ensure the infection doesn't spread beyond the Aegis system.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Both Irons and Ramirez know they're going crazy, so they go out fighting instead.
    • Vincent gets sucked into space when she opens the docking bay so she can launch the emergency beacon on the shuttle.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Why don't the plasma saws cauterize wounds instead of this happening?
  • Honor Before Reason: Vincent's attempts to stop Kyne are intended to save the crew, who are rapidly being butchered by Necromorphs. Hell, by the time she gets to him, there can charitably be said to be maybe a dozen left.
  • Hope Spot: When the Necromorph infestation hits the ship's showers, a young woman flees and it looks like she'll escape, only to impaled and pulled back inside.
  • How We Got Here: The movie starts as Vincent is recording her log, then flashes back to how everything started.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: This is Barrow's response to one of the engineers on Aegis VII pointing out that the Marker was obviously dumped on an otherwise worthless rock intentionally.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Captain Mathius holds onto it pretty tightly. Then again, he is a Unitologist, and going crazy on top of that.
    • Vincent holds onto the hope that the crew can be saved long after it's obvious Kyne's got the right idea.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" comes up at the end.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Ramirez says this to Vincent before he dies.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: For all her reason and rationality, Vincent does have shades of this, especially when she insists on sending her team to the surface of Aegis VII as the colonists are being slaughtered by Necromorphs. This kind of emergency would require a military intervention, while Vincent — mind you — is just a leader of a small, poorly armed security team on a commercial vessel, way over her head and with absolutely no idea what she's dealing with... but she's still utterly convinced of her ability to handle the situation. Captain Mathius seems like the reasonable one compared to her at that moment.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: When Colin and another miner head down to the Colony to see what's going on, the former decides for them to split up so he can check on his wife. Only Colin makes it back to the shuttle, while the other disappears during a blackout and is never seen again, almost certainly having been ambushed and killed by infected colonists.
  • Limited Animation: One of the common complaints about the film.
  • Made of Plasticine: And that's not counting the instances where future weapons/tools are used.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: The fat guy in the shower.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: At one point, the Ishimura experiences odd turbulence after cracking the planet. The crew is unsettled, so Captain Mathius tries to calm them down by explaining that it's a normal result of the planet's EM field being disrupted by the cracking. But even he doesn't look entirely convinced and it's left ambiguous if it really is that or something to do with the Marker.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: Vincent and her team kill their first Necromorph this way, unloading tons of bullets on it until it finally goes down. It's an Establishing Character Moment for the Necromorphs in this movie, as it shows that just aiming for center of mass with regular weapons is very inefficient - it takes the entire team shooting for several seconds just to have the monster die, and it's already killed a teammmate of theirs beforehand.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Pretty much everyone who tries to fix the situation on the colony or the Ishimura inevitably makes it worse:
    • Colin's attempt to get his wife to safety aboard the ship only ensures the infection spreads there. Admittedly, it's heavily implied he'd been driven insane by grief.
    • Although the full implications aren't seen until the first game, Dr. Kyne's attempts at sabotaging the ship only succeed in making a subsequent protagonist's job much harder than it needed to be.
    • Vincent thwarting said attempts, which would result in destruction of Ishimura along with the Marker and the Necromorphs, thus preventing the events of the game from happening in the first place.
  • Obligatory Swearing: The characters in this movie are a lot more swear-happy than the characters in the game.
  • Oh, Crap!: The patient from the mining colony gets one when he finds out the monsters from the colony have ended up on the ship.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Kyne, for a given definition of "sane", and to a lesser extent Vincent. Both are the only two characters to remain completely rational throughout the film. Vincent gets a lower rank because she's a bit too Genre Blind for her own good or that of others. She only comes to her senses after having sabotaged Kyne's first attempt, and by then it's too late.
    • Samuel Irons is this among the Unitologists. He single-handedly prevents the crowd gathered near the Marker from rioting and later aids Vincent and her team in attempt of containing the situation.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Played straight with Vincent. She is the head of security on Ishimura and the only person (with possible exception of Dr. Kyne) who remains level-headed throughout the entire movie.
    • Zigzagged with Captain Mathius. When he learns that something is killing the colonists on Aegis VII, he tries to prevent it from spreading to Ishimura and refuses Barrow's shuttle to land. While this decision may seem cold and ruthless, it is actually more sound than Vincent's insistence on helping the people on the planet's surface and those aboard the shuttle. However, Mathius's other actions — like his obstinacy on delivering the Marker to Earth at all costs — paint him in much less positive light and make him come off as a crazy fanatic.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The plasma saws don't cauterize injuries like you'd think because the superheated gas would cause an injury quite similar to a bullet wound but stretched out accross a limb/body as it would flash-heat the water in their cells, leading to the Necromorphs (and poor Shen) bleeding like stuck pigs (which we see).
  • Remote Vitals Monitoring: The monitoring station for the RIGs attached to the Ishimura's crew. As they get torn apart by the Necromorphs, the crewmembers' pictures turn from cyan to red, and play a flatline sound.
  • Sanity Slippage: Affects some way more than others.
  • Scylla and Charybdis: On one side, you have the Necromorphs. On the other, you have the Mind Rape caused by the Marker and it's resultant products.
  • Shaming the Mob: Irons breaks up an angry protest by the Unitologists on the Ishimura who're clamoring to see the Red Marker. One reasonable speech later, he's convinced them to improve the public perception of Unitology by not rebelling against the captain's orders and leave the Marker alone until they get permission to view it.
  • Space Madness: Coupled with It's Probably Nothing; naturally it's not the Marker that's causing the sudden spike in insanity and homicides:
    Colin: This is deep space. Weird shit happens.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Dobbs saying that he doesn't mind shooting the living dead as long as he gets to shoot something. Boy, would he swallow his words soon thereafter...
    • Lampshaded when Vincent remarks on Hydroponics seeming to be clear:
      Ramirez: Famous last words.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Irons, to contrast with the other Unitology fanatics. He successfully convinces his fellow crew to follow his example.
  • The Un-Reveal: It is unknown who is the person who jettisoned the Ishimura's escape pods as Kyne (who admits in the game that he was behind some of the ship's sabotage) is still in the room when it happened and Captian Mathias (who is presumed to be one who sabotaged the Communication Array) had just been killed. The 2023 remake hints that Brent Harris was behind the sabotage under Dr. Mercer's orders and before he fully transforms into the Hunter.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Vincent ends up napping against the Marker, so it manipulates her into making sure more people come looking for the Ishimura.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Once Colin and another miner return to the colony, they find it trashed, the walls are covered with Corruption and blood, and screams echo in the darkness. Colin's response is to shrug it off and head home. It takes his wife committing suicide right in front of him for him to realize something's not quite right.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Shen gets one after seeing the blood-covered mess hall and the dismembered corpses within.
  • We Need a Distraction: When they find a group of trapped civilians, Vincent brings this up since Slashers are blocking the door. Irons volunteers since he's starting to go crazy.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Though anyone who played the game knows they're dead, the trapped civilians are never mentioned again after being rescued.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Vincent is this to a tragic degree. She insists on trying to help the colonists on Aegis VII when it is revealed they're being slaughtered, is eager to render aid to any survivors who might have arrived on the shuttle, and throughout the entire movie she remains convinced that she can still save Ishimura and her crew (thus botching Dr. Kyne's attempt at crashing the ship), although it's increasingly obvious that it is too late for that. In any other work of fiction, those actions would come of as reasonable and noble, but this is Dead Space movie we're talking about. So she only succeeds in making things worse.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The film details the events surrounding the infection and destruction of both the Aegis VII mining colony and the Ishimura itself from the undead plague unleashed by the Red Marker.