The Flood, also known as the Fourteenth Crewmember or The Flood from Another World is a 2015 American science fiction horror film written and directed by David Fincher. The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a fungal extraterrestrial lifeform that assimilates other organisms and in turn imitates them. The Flood infiltrates an Antarctic research station, taking the appearance of the researchers that it absorbs, and paranoia develops within the group. The film has an ensemble cast consisting of Brie Larson, Idris Elba, Gary Oldman, Ed Harris, Bryan Cranston, Natalie Portman, Jared Leto, Chiwetel Elijiofor, Forest Whitaker, Clark Gregg, Alice Braga, Tom Hardy and Oscar Isaac.
The Flood received both critical acclaim and box office success, receiving an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction for Scott, and Best Supporting Actress for Larson, and a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, along with numerous other award nominations. It has remained highly praised in subsequent decades, being considered one of the greatest films of all time. In 2019 the film was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
In Winter 2015, an American Antarctic research station is alerted by gunfire and explosions. Pursued by a Russian helicopter, an Alaskan Malamute makes its way into the camp as the science station's crew looks on in confusion. Through reckless use of a thermite charge, the helicopter is destroyed and its pilot killed in the resulting explosion. The surviving passenger fires at the dog with a rifle, grazing Ana (Alice Braga), one of the researchers. The passenger is shot and killed by Joseph (Ed Harris), the station commander. Not knowing what to make of the incident, the station crew adopts the dog. When the station's communicator Daisy (Natalie Portman) reveals the team is unable to contact the outside world via hand radio duo to the snow storm, helicopter pilot Sarah Williams (Brie Larson), Doctor Vincent (Bryan Cranston) and Marco (Oscar Isaac) risk a flight to the Russian camp to find it destroyed, most of its personnel missing, and one member dead of apparent suicide. Finding evidence that the Russians had dug something out of the ice, the pair return to the station with the partially-burned remains of a hideous creature composed of station members which bears some human features. Inspecting a room, Marco discovers a corner containing an egg-like object. As he inspects it, a creature springs out, spits acid through his face and attaches itself to it. Sarah and Vincent carry the unconscious Marco back to the station. An autopsy of Marco by Doctor Eric (Gary Oldman) is inconclusive, save to find that the creature which attached itself to Marco had what appeared to be a normal set of human internal organs.
At Ana's request, the station's dog-handler, Brock (Tom Hardy) kennels the stray with the rest of the station's sled dogs. Noises from the kennel cause Brock to return, finding almost the entire sled team in the process of being assimilated by the stray dog, which has transformed into a monster. Sarah overhears the commotion and pulls a fire alarm, and everyone gathers to the kennel. Sarah and Joseph, without any conventional weapons, attempt to trap the creature to no avail, Malcolm (Idris Elba) then appears and incinerates it with a flamethrower. A subsequent autopsy by Eric reveals that the stray dog was an alien capable of absorbing and perfectly imitating other life-forms. Realizing the implications of this, Eric quickly becomes withdrawn and suspicious of the others. Sarah, alongside Caldwell (Forest Whitaker) and Martin (Jared Leto) organize second helicopter expedition discovers an alien spacecraft unearthed by the Russian research team, revealing that the creature had awakened after being buried within the ice for thousands of years.
The next day, Marco awakens and seems healthy, but during the crew's meal at the kitchen, he chokes and convulses in pain before a small alien creature, the same from which emerge from the dog bursts from his chest, killing him, and escapes into the depths of the ship. Lacking conventional weapons, the crew manages to kill it with a flare. Ana and Daisy quarantine the remains of Marco, the Russian and the dog's cadaver in the storage room, while Eric's assistant Ellis (Clark Gregg) confers with Sarah in a Snowcat that Eric is becoming unstable and his research indicates the burned Marco is still alive. Moments after Daisy left, strands of tentacle-like sinew emerged from the remains of Marco, and proceed to assimilate Ana. Daisy returns to find the creature assimilating Ana, and alerts Sarah and Ellis, who activates the fire alarm; the team corners the alien in mid-transformation and burn it with fuel. Eric, meanwhile, has calculated that the creature will assimilate the entire planet within three years upon reaching civilization and suffers a mental breakdown: to prevent the alien from escaping, he disables the helicopters, tractors, kills the remaining dogs, and proceeds to wreck the radio room until the team overpowers him and lock him in the tool shed. Now isolated, the crew realizes that they might be contaminated and speculate on how to determine who is human. Daisy finds that the medical blood supply has been destroyed, eliminating the chance of blood tests that could reveal the infected party; because the perpetrator used Joseph's keys to access the blood, the team nearly dissolves into rampant paranoia as to who is guilty. Sarah puts Joseph, Vincent and Brock into isolation, and orders Ellis to continue Eric's work before an encroaching Arctic storm forces them inside tight quarters.
Ellis, attempting to continue Eric's research, disappears shortly after a power failure. Sarah forms a searching group in order to find Ellis, whose body is found impaled in a door with a shovel. Sarah speculates that Ellis killed himself before the Flood could get to him. Sarah comes under suspicion when a scrap of torn shirt containing her name tag is found at the camp, and she is locked outside in a severe blizzard. Somehow finding her way back to camp without a guide line, Sarah breaks into a storage room and threatens the rest of the crew with dynamite. In the course of the standoff, Caldwell suffers a heart attack. When Vincent attempts to revive him by defibrillation, Caldwell' body transforms and kills Vincent. Caldwell's head detaches from his body and the alien uses it in an attempt to escape as the others burn the body, leading Sarah to theorize that every piece of the alien is an individual animal with its own survival instinct. She then burns the head with her flamethrower. In an altercation that precedes a test proposed by Sarah, Brock in an act of mutiny tries to stab Sarah with the kitchen knife, but is shot in the head and killed by Sarah in self-defense. The rest of the crew complies with the test; blood samples are drawn from each member of the team including Vincent and Brock and jabbed with a hot wire to see whose blood will react defensively. Upon Realizing that Brock was not infected, Malcolm begins to threaten Sarah as a killer. Martin is unmasked as an imitation, and manages to kill Daisy by eating her head due to Sarah's flamethrower not working, before being destroyed by Sarah with dynamite, who also torches Daisy' body with a flamethrower as it begins to transform.
Confirming that Sarah, Malcolm and Joseph are still human, the surviving crew set out to the tool shed in order to administer the test to Eric, only to find that he has escaped by tunneling his way underground. They follow the path and discover that not only had Eric been assimilated, but he had been constructing a small flying vehicle of alien design underneath the tool shed in order to reach and infect the mainland. Sarah and Joseph return to the surface to witness Malcolm inexplicably abandoning his post at the main gate, followed by the facility losing power. Realizing that the creature now wants to freeze again so a future rescue team will find it, the remaining crew acknowledge that they will not survive and set about destroying the facility in hopes of killing the creature. While setting explosives in the underground generator room, Joseph is killed by the infected Eric as Sarah hears his scream from the other underground chamber. Alone, Sarah prepares to detonate the charges when the infected creature, larger than ever, emerges from beneath the floor. Sarah attacks it with a stick of dynamite, which sets off the rest of the charges and destroys Eric and the entire facility.
Sarah wanders the burning ruins to face his fate with a bottle of Scotch and encounters Malcolm. Malcolm claims to have been lost in the storm after pursuing someone he though was Eric, but Sarah is unconvinced. With the polar climate closing in around them and with no way to determine whether or not either of them is really human, they acknowledge the futility of their distrust, sharing a drink as the camp burns and the cold returns.
- Brie Larson as Sarah Williams
- Idris Elba as Malcolm
- Gary Oldman as Doctor Eric
- Ed Harris as Joseph
- Bryan Cranston as Doctor Vincent
- Natalie Portman as Daisy
- Jared Leto as Martin
- Chiwetel Elijiofor as Chester
- Forest Whitaker as Caldwell
- Clark Gregg as Ellis
- Alice Braga as Ana
- Tom Hardy as Brock
- Oscar Isaac as Marco