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Stranded (2013)

Updated on January 27, 2014
Movie Theater Poster
Movie Theater Poster

The Story Gets Started

We join the meager four person mining crew in the Moonbase ARK Mineral Exploration Camp located on the moon. It is a tiny facility with a tenuous hold against the bleak and desolate background of the lifeless orb on which it is located.

There is little time to appreciate the scenario. We move to the inside of the main building, where a computer alert is warning of an incoming storm. Unlike weather on planet earth, it soon becomes apparent that this is a meteor storm.

In earth's atmosphere, these meteors simply burn up on the way down. Here, there is no atmosphere, and they smash into the camp facilities as if launched by a catapult.

The moonbase is ill equipped to deal with such catastrophes, and the boulders crashing through several buildings cause massive damage to the systems inside.

The situation deteriorates rapidly, and the crew is called to active stations. The facility commander, Col. Gerard Brauchman, is calling earth for emergency evacuation. A meteor strike hits the building like a bomb, and all the power goes down.

Recovering from the blast, the crew finds that air filtration has been damaged, and carbon monoxide floods the building, rendering the air toxic. Johns, the usual choice to repair the equipment, has clearly been shaken by the hit, so Ava volunteers to go in his place.

Ava finds all the suits have been destroyed except for one, which is marginally functional. Bravely, she dons the suit and heads for the air filtration equipment.

There is a meteor lodged in the equipment, but she manages to pry it out. A broken valve causes more problems, but her attempt to quash it fails. The resultant concussion from valve explosion leaves her trapped under debris – but she is thrown far enough back inside the main building for the rest of the crew to assist her. She is safe inside the building, but her suit is destroyed.

The situation is ugly. All communications are down, 95% of the power is out, the only lighting is the emergency lighting, and rescue is at least a week away. Compounding things, air filtration is still a problem, and Dr. Krauss warns them that visual or auditory hallucinations can be a side effect of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Brauchman realizes turning off the drilling rig will conserve power and buy them time for rescue to arrive. Ava volunteers as she saw spores on the meteors and wants to investigate further. The captain allows it but orders the spores be placed in containment before being brought inside; his primary concern is keeping the crew safe.

Ava, Dr. Krauss, and ???
Ava, Dr. Krauss, and ???

Discovery

The doctor is working in the lab in a hazmat suit. He is examining the piece of meteor Ava recovered, and there is some orange colored definitely-not-meteor material coming out of the middle of it.

Krauss calls Ava to share his findings. By the time she arrives, the organism is much larger, appearing as blobs amid slime. Ava is running diagnostics on the organism for Krauss when she cuts her finger on a broken test tube. She clearly knows the danger, but fails to report the information to anyone.

The scene breaks to the captain attempting to contact Earth, and when we return to the lab the organism has grown substantially in a short time. We learn that it can produce all the necessities for its survival and reproduction merely by being exposed to light.

Ava becomes nauseated and leaves to lie down. She doesn’t get very far before she is overcome with pain and blurry vision, and then she passes out in the hall.

She awakens with the doctor attending her. She asks what is wrong, and Krauss explains that she has something growing in her stomach. His only rational explanation is a hyper-accelerated tumor or cancerous growth.

Brauchman orders 48 hour contagion lockdown, and the doctor is upset because Ava needs care. Krauss argues with Brauchman until he allowed access to treat Ava.

The crew comes running when Ava starts screaming. She is a mess, but whatever was growing inside her appears to have ruptured and is now gone. Brauchman reinstates the lockdown, but the doctor refuses to leave and stays to care for her. There is no evidence of whatever came out of Ava, but there is some strange unknown substance on the floor.

Ava later awakens with some gooey yellowish baby-like creature apparently trying to nurse from her. She throws it across the room, screaming, and the rest of the crew arrives to investigate. While trying to calm Ava, Johns is bit by the creature.

Brauchman believes everyone is hallucinating from carbon monoxide poisoning, and the doctor agrees with him. Johns insists he was bitten by something, but Brauchman and Krauss believe he was just cut by some broken glass.

Ava and Johns are convinced what they experienced was more than just a hallucination.

The crew comes running when Ava starts screaming. She is a mess, but whatever was growing inside her appears to have ruptured and is now gone. Brauchman reinstates the lockdown, but the doctor refuses to leave and stays to care for her. There is no evidence of whatever came out of Ava, but there is some strange unknown substance on the floor.

Ava later awakens with some gooey yellowish baby-like creature apparently trying to nurse from her. She throws it across the room, screaming, and the rest of the crew arrives to investigate. While trying to calm Ava, Johns is bit by the creature.

Brauchman believes everyone is hallucinating from carbon monoxide poisoning, and the doctor agrees with him. Johns insists he was bitten by something, but Brauchman and Krauss believe he was just cut by some broken glass.

Ava and Johns are convinced what they experienced was more than just a hallucination.

Michael Therriault plays Bruce Johns
Michael Therriault plays Bruce Johns

The Story Progresses

Krauss attends Bruce's injury, still maintaining that the rational explanation is that Johns was cut by broken glass. Bruce approaches Lance (Krauss) with the idea that the spore somehow reproduced inside Ava, because he is sure he was bit by something, not cut by glass.

Krauss leaves, and Johns begins to hear noises in the room. He suffers from a hallucination while washing up. As he is leaving the room, his attention is caught by the vents. We are left with the impression he does not see the creature which is watching him from behind them.

Johns is working on restoring power via the solar panels, but continues to hear troubling noises. He decides to drown them out with some medication and alcohol. He soon finds a strange substance on the floor, which seems to be a molting layer for the creature. As Johns peers down a large vent opening, we follow the vent past his view to see the creature which seems to be growing again, and becoming more human-like with each metamorphosis.

Johns is thoroughly distraught and in the midst of a breakdown when he is suddenly confronted by the creature. Doctor Krauss comes in and finds Johns a drunken mess, and orders him to work out on the treadmill to burn the alcohol out of his system. The next thing we see is the creature – which now looks similar to Johns – running on the treadmill, while Johns watches it from the floor.

Christian Slater plays Col. Gerard Brauchman
Christian Slater plays Col. Gerard Brauchman

It's Not The Carbon Monoxide

The captain is watching the recorded logs and realizes Ava was exposed to the spores and failed to notify anyone. As he is opening the door to leave the contamination lockdown room he is hit from behind on the head.

Krauss find Brauchman, who tells him that Johns attacked him and sends Krauss to go find Johns. We see the creature watching the captain through the vent after the doctor leaves.

Johns frees Ava from her restraints in the medical bay, and we follow him as he seeks out the creature. He is highly distressed and toys with cutting his wrists, but doesn’t do it. Johns becomes so frantic that he takes a large quantity of his pills and washes them down with more alcohol in an attempt to calm himself.

Brauchman returns to find Ava, who confronts him saying she is fine. He argues, and Ava stabs him in the confrontation, but the captain manages to subdue her with an injection. Krauss returns and helps the captain out of the area.

Johns struggles with suicidal thoughts and hallucinations. As he deteriorates, the creature becomes even more like Johns' normal appearance. As we leave the scene, we see the creature holding a piece of mirror Johns broke during one of his fits.

Brauchman has a conversation with Krauss, telling the doctor how he learned that Ava was infected by the spores. Krauss confronts Ava and learns the captain has told him the truth. Krauss is upset with Ava for not telling him sooner, and says he must order the containment lockdown as she was infected.

Returning to Johns, it appears the creature has won the battle. We see the creature take Bruce's necklace before leaving the area. The doctor comes in looking for Johns, and finds him dead in his room. Krauss is covering him when he finds a recording that Johns made and watches it. Krauss learns that Johns believed the organism took his DNA when it bit him and was replicating itself in Bruce's form.

The creature, which now looks like Johns, finds Brauchman and attacks him. It runs off as the doctor returns, and the captain tells Krauss that Johns attacked him. The doctor informs Brauchman that Johns is dead, and that there is something else inside the station with them.

Character
Actor
Col. Gerard Brauchman
Christian Slater
Ava Cameron
Amy Matysio
Bruce Johns
Michael Therriault
Dr. Lance Krauss
Brendan Fehr
Brendan Fehr plays Dr. Lance Krauss
Brendan Fehr plays Dr. Lance Krauss

Wrapping Things Up

Spoiler alert! Keep reading only if you want to know how the movie ends!

Krauss and Brauchman realize they must dispatch the monster, and also have realized that Ava is no longer infected. They decide to free Ava to help them. Krauss imparts the information in Johns' logs to Ava, who speculates that the creature used the DNA sampling to replicate itself as Johns because Johns was stronger.

Ava seems to have some connection to the creature and can sense where it is. She agrees to help, and as they work together to catch it, the creature begins sabotaging the life support systems. She quickly realizes the creature is tracking them through her; it can apparently sense her as she senses it.

She runs away from the others to protect them, and runs directly into the creature. It throws her back, and she realizes she is next to the airlock controls. She opens the airlock to suck the creature out of the facility.

The airlock inner door malfunctioned and Ava is nearly pulled out of the airlock, but the others have caught up with her now. The doctor tells Brauchman to rescue Ava and that he will close the airlock.

Krauss successfully closes the airlock, but the creature managed to stay inside as well. Hidden around a corner, Krauss doesn't see it in time. It throws the doctor through the inner door or the airlock, closes it, and overrides the codes. Ava and Brauchman do everything they can, but they are unable to free the doctor before the outer door opens.

Christian Slater and Amy Matysio in Stranded
Christian Slater and Amy Matysio in Stranded

Brauchman and Ava return to Johns’ room to find out what he had learned. Bruce's last message is that everyone should abandon the station immediately.

There is an escape pod, but they will need to divert all the station power to it in order to get it started. They will only get one chance, and there is only one escape pod. Complicating things, the creature opens the damaged building area, allowing carbon monoxide to flood the air again.

Ava doesn't want to split up, but to start the pod one person must be there and one must be at the main power source in the building. Brauchman sends Ava to the pod while he goes to the power relays.

They succeed, but Ava realizes the creature is in the launch bay with her, and communicates this to the captain. The clever creature has used them to get the pod ready, and then attacks them so it can use the pod itself.

It is successful, and makes it into the pod. The captain and Ava desperately try to stop the launch, but they fail. The escape pod and creature sail away toward earth.

Ava and Brauchman are trapped, and there is only minutes of breathable air. They are preparing for death when the rescue shuttle arrives. Realizing the air may not last that long, they decide to attempt the 3-1/2 minute run - without breathing - to the shuttle.

Back on earth, a military team investigates the Moonbase ARK escape pod, which has landed on the ground intact. They speculate the landing caused the door to open.

They are preparing to leave to meet with the rescue shuttle, but as they go Brauchman's last message plays, instructing them to kill whatever comes out of the pod. A visual inspection indicates nothing left the escape pod, because there are no footprints.

The camera pans to a vile looking creature hidden in a nearby bunker…

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