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Every horror movie has those moments that are supposed to be scary, but are instead just predictable. Cliches can be effective, especially when they’re used early to set up expectations that will be subverted later in the film, but some cliches are just old and are not scary anymore. At this point, anyone making a horror movie should stop using these cliches because they just don’t make sense:

Fake wake up

cliche wake
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A character has a nightmare, but then wakes up safe in their bed. They start to go about their day when suddenly BAM! The nightmare isn’t over! The character then wakes up for real. Obviously, this happens too often to be scary. Anytime someone wakes up in a horror movie, we all brace for the second nightmare. The other, bigger problem with this cliche is that nothing actually happens. Somebody else having a nightmare ultimately has no impact on the movie’s story. It’s just a cheap jump scare that we all know is coming.

Someone’s far away and then suddenly right there

cliche far away
(source)

In supernatural movies, often times one of the characters will see something (the ghost/monster/killer) from a distance and not know what it is. They’ll stare for a second and then turn away or lower their flashlight. When they look back, THE THING IS RIGHT THERE! What would’ve happened if the character hadn’t turned away? Would the monster have just stood there, waiting? That’s a lot of patient for something that’s out killing people. Also, why was it hanging out so far away from everyone? Is it teleporting, or would the character have seen it running up if they had turned back a split second earlier? Ultimately, this just puts silly images in the audience’s heads.

Using the camera as a flashlight

cliche flashlight
(source)

In basically every found footage movie, there will be a point where the characters have to stumble through the dark, so the person holding the camera will use the light on the camera as a flashlight. No one besides movie characters has ever, ever done this. But that alone would be fine — the bigger issue is that the person continues to film, and properly frames everything up. Also, if the movie took place in modern times, these people would just use their phones as a flashlight.

Empty room isn’t empty

cliche empty
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The hero of the movie is running from the killer/monster when they come across an authority figure like a cop or parent or district attorney. That beacon of safety will then go check a room to see if the killer is there. They’ll come back and be like “everything is clear!” Of course, as soon as they say that and take off, the killer appears out of nowhere and murders our savior. Was the killer just sitting in the corner of the room, waiting for the perfect moment? Are they concerned with the drama?!

Unnecessary backstory

cliche backstory
(source)

When characters have a good backstory, it usually gives their deaths more impact. The more the audience knows about someone, the more upsetting it will be when that person dies. It’s just a little obvious when a character has too much backstory. If the audience is introduced to a character who doesn’t really serve the main plot, but we get to know everything about their life beforehand, we know not to get attached. This ruins the impact of their death because the audience knows that this person is just going to end up in a werewolf’s stomach.

Little kid voice

cliche voice
(source)

We get it, little kids are creepy. It’s also way too easy and obvious. Anyone who’s spent time around kids knows they’re weird and dumb and say creepy things all the time. Also, kids are terrible accomplices — how many monsters have tried to channel their message through a little kid just to have them screw it up? The monster wants the kid to say something creepy about the man under the basement, but the kid just keeps babbling about Doc McStuffins. Kids are terrible and monsters should be aware of this.

 

6 horror Movie Cliches That Need To Take A Break

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