40 Horror Movie Clichés That You’ll Surely Notice Next Time You’ll Watch A Horror Movie

Horror Movies should finally flip the script.

Even for horror movie fans like me, they have become incredibly boring since we already know what is going to happen next. Most of the time, one can guess the ending of the movie before it has even reached the middle point which we shouldn’t be able to do. Half of the horror comes from the mystery and not knowing what is around the next corner. 

But when everyone in the movie is depicted as a dumb person who walks towards the spooky noise rather than running away, fans have lost faith in horror movies as a whole. And that is probably why many people came together to talk about the overdone cliches that you will see in most horror movies today. From cheap jump scares to the black guy dying first, we are all well aware of all of these. 

#1 Running in a straight line.

Via Di Bonaventura Pictures

This one is actually a comedy gold. If you were chased by a car, wouldn’t your survival instincts tell you to run somewhere where the car can’t drive? Well, not if you’re a horror movie character. It’s way too common for the protagonist to run on the road, in front of a car while being chased.

#2 Always falling down.

Via Lionsgate

In real life, women are pretty good runners. Too bad horror movie script writers think otherwise. According to them, women can’t run a mile while being chased by a killer without slamming their whole weight into the ground and that’s when the killer gets them.

#3 Car always stops.

Via New Films International

One of the most nerve-racking moments of horror movies is when the protagonist tries to escape from the claws of death. However, luck is never in their favor if they decide to flee the danger by jumping into a car. Because in horror movies the car never starts, for no apparent reason. Your brand new vehicle may have been working perfectly 10 minutes ago, but it won’t start when you are being chased by a killer.

#4 Splitting up.

Via Blinding Edge Pictures

If you wind up in situations when there’s a psycho killer running around murdering people, the best thing you can do is stay with as many people as possible to increase your chances of survival. What do horror movie characters choose to do in situations like these? They split up!

Sure, they will cover more ground when searching for an escape, but usually, they will end up getting offed one by one.

#5 Villain becoming powerless.

Via New Line Cinema

The villain is so skilled at killing that they make every irrelevant character drop like a fly, up until they encounter the main protagonist. Then suddenly a killer becomes weaker and clumsier than usual, giving an unfair advantage to the hero of the movie.

#6 Adults never listen.

Via New Line Cinema

In horror movies that revolve around teenagers or younger children, getting help from responsible adults is next to impossible. They usually never believe nor listen when children try to tell them about the crazy things that are happening.

#7 Victim gets caught because of a sound.

Via EuropaCorp

No matter how good is the victim’s hiding spot is, there’s definitely going to be a sound that will give away their location. We’ve seen way too many scenes of a victim hiding in a closet or under the bed and their phone going off helping the killer to find their victim.

#8 The villain is always faster.

Via Dimension Films

It doesn’t matter if the killer is crippled or missing a leg, he can even walk instead of running because he will always be faster than a victim sprinting in terror.

#9 Mirror jump scares.

Via unknown

It seems that the filmmakers just cannot resist this cliche. Every time there’s a mirror in a movie you know what’s about to happen – when the character looks at it they will suddenly see a reflection of a monster standing behind them.

#10 Victims phone never gets a signal.

Via Columbia Pictures Corporation

At some point, scriptwriters probably realized that it’s quite unconvincing for a character to never have a phone when they need to call for help. So they figured out a solution – bad reception. So when disaster strikes, phones are always useless.

#11 No light in the basement.

Via Dark Sky Films

If a horror movie character buys a house, there definitely will be a creepy basement where someone was murdered or will be murdered. Not to mention that the owners always feel the need to inspect weird noises coming from it, when they are alone. Also, that dimmed light bulb that hangs in the basement? Well, it most certainly will go out at the worst possible moment.

#12 Old people know everything.

Via Paramount Pictures

While we usually don’t expect for the main character to pack their bags and leave when some old person warns them about crazy stuff going on in a house they just bought, some consideration would make this scenario a little bit more believable and less of a cliche. Old people usually don’t just walk around warning people of danger for no good reason.

#13 One girl surviving.

Via unknown

The final girl trope is prevalent is slasher horror movies when only one girl out of a group of people survives. The final girl is often portrayed as a shy, innocent person in the beginning, but as once the hell is unleashed she turns out to be the most resourceful and intelligent character.

#14 The villain is immortal.

Via New Line Cinema

Even the most human-like villains in horror movies seem to be immortal. This invincible monster makes everyone drop like flies, and easily recovers from any hit he takes. And when a hero finally knocks down the bad guy, 10 minutes later he’s alive and ready to hunt down the rest of his unsuspecting victims.

#15 Making dumb decisions.

Via Dimension Films

One thing is clear – when a murderous psycho is breathing down your neck, only basic survival skills can save your life. But if you’re a horror movie protagonist, then chances are that you’re a dummy who keeps making one stupid decision after another, until you get bludgeoned to death. The protagonist making absurd, life-threatening decisions is one of the most prevalent horror movie cliches.

#16 Everyone knows how to use a gun.

Via Dimension Films

Once the guns appear in a horror movie, despite never firing a gun before, every character becomes an expert shooter.

#17 The black guy never survives.

Via Universal Pictures

Do you know who has definitely no chance of survival in a typical cliche-ridden horror movie plot? A black person. However, this cliche is beginning to die out as studios begin to realize that the main protagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be white.

#18 Scary children.

Via Warner Bros

Children are generally innocent looking and not scary at all unless you see them in a horror movie, then they are freaky as hell.

#19 Cheap jump scares.

Via Atomic Monster

Cheap horror movies are known to use horrible jump scares to frighten their viewers. You can almost feel when something weird will jump in front of the screen for no reason at all. How about instead of startling viewers show something actually frightening instead?

#20 Always dropping the keys at a crucial moment.

Via Columbia Pictures Corporation

It’s unbelievable how clumsy protagonists can get when they are running away from a killer. Fear does make people frantic, but the number of scenes of characters dropping their keys while trying to unlock the door is incredible.

#21 Abondoned houses.

Via Margaret Weir

If you’re a big fan of horror movies you probably seen way too many movies set in abandoned houses, creepy orphanages, mental institutions, basements, caves and so on. Despite the fact that in our minds these places are frightening, it’s getting a bit repetitive, isn’t it?

#22 Terrifying bathrooms.

Via unknown

Not many people expect to be murdered in a bathroom, well maybe except those who watch a lot of horror movies. If you’ve seen a handful of them, you know how often killers assault their victims who are taking a shower.

Thankfully, newer horror movies are straying as far away from these cliches as they can. We have seen many movies where the creators flipped the script or hilariously used the stereotypes in a fun way. It is always good to see Directors experimenting with new things to bring us interesting scares that don’t rely on cheap jumpscares and the movies tried to build tension.

#23 Character stereotypes.

Via Lionsgate

While not every horror movie is guilty of stereotyped characters, we’ve seen way too many of those which are. Usually, there’s not just one walking stereotype – there’s a whole group. Typically they are – a slut, jock, nerd, and virgin.

#24 The police is useless.

Via Jocelyn Augustino

With all the obstacles horror movie characters face when trying to get help, waiting for the police is probably the most nerve-wracking. The character goes through hell and back trying to get help and a glimmer of hope appears when they finally call the police. However, as this cliche follows, the police can take ages to arrive and when they finally do – there’s usually no one left to save.

#25 Never have s*x.

Via New Line Cinema

Horror movie fans know this already – if there’s a scene of a couple getting naughty, they’ll both bite the dust. Because what better time to kill somebody than when they’re having sex?

#26 Movies that are based on true events.

Via New Line Cinema

While there are movies which really are based on actual events, others are nowhere near the real facts. Yet filmmakers still try to fool their audience into thinking otherwise. Even though there are many people who believe everything they’re being told without second-guessing, even they have seen too many fake ‘based on true events’ announcements to believe them.

#28 Messages left on walls.

Via New Line Cinema

A character’s obsession with scribbling bizarre calculations, nonsense words and religious symbols on random surfaces has been a good depiction of some kind of mental disturbance. However, once every screenwriter began copying this idea, it became a cliche in the horror movie industry.

#28 Fake out jumpscares.

Via unknown

Many horror movies are guilty of raising tension when nothing is actually happening. The viewers are often led to believe that the monster is coming closer, but then the protagonist discovers that the weird sound they’re investigating is just a pet.

#29 Going out alone in the dark.

Via FF3D

The first death in a horror movie often happens when one person in the group gets this excellent idea that they should go out alone in the dark to investigate a suspicious sound they just heard. The person is usually so unbelievably oblivious to the danger, that they never take anyone with them, not even a weapon of some sort.

#30 Scary dolls.

Via United Artists Corporation

While most dolls look cute and innocent, watching too many horror movies can change this perception quickly. They have a way of making dolls look creepy as hell.

#31 Hiding under the bed.

Via unknown

When there’s an intruder in your house the safest option is to run outside and yell for help. But way too often protagonists are not aware of this option, so when they run out of the living room or a kitchen – they run upstairs and crawl under the bed, or jump in a closet. While it makes sense for children to do so, when you see an adult doing it, you know that scriptwriters did a sloppy job.

#32 Children have a 6th sense.

Via Twentieth Century Fox

Many children have imaginary friends, but in horror movies, these ‘friends’ are usually vengeful spirits who will try to kill their whole family. And of course, parents only take their children’s bizarre behavior into consideration after it’s too late.

#33 Terrifying cats.

Via Paramount Pictures

Cats are usually gentle and sweet animals, unless they are shown in horror movies, then they are creepy as hell. It usually goes as follows: the protagonist enters a dark room to investigate a strange noise – as they always do – and the viewers prepare themselves for something scary to happen.

Then suddenly a cat jumps out of nowhere, angrily hissing for no good reason. These ‘cat scares’ are so prevalent that when you see a cat in a horror movie you know that this will happen sooner or later.

#34 Dream warnings.

Via unknown

The main character of the movie often has a dream or a vision of the stuff that’s about to go down. They take it as a warning and desperately try to convince everyone around them. Except no one believes them, so the protagonist is left alone to save all the clueless people around them.

#35 Houses built on a burial ground.

Via Paramount Pictures

A scenario of a young family moving into a new property without knowing that their house is built upon an Indian burial ground was common in horror movie history. Gladly, this racist cliche of Native Americans trying to exact revenge on white people by haunting them is less prevalent these days.

#36 Screaming even though you are alone.

Via PalmStar Media

Screaming for help in an area where there are definitely people nearby can be life-saving. But when you’re trapped in a secluded area, such as a basement of a house located in the middle of the woods, chances are that nobody is going to hear you. So conserving energy for making an escape would make a lot more sense than yelling frantically. Also screaming while running with no chance of anyone hearing won’t get you very far.

#37 Demonic hitchhikers.

Via unknown

If a character sees someone on a roadside needing help, they are definitely going to help them, no matter how suspicious the stranger looks. However, it always ends badly for them. While this scenario is quite believable and realistic, we’ve seen it way too many times already.

#38 The guns are always missing.

Via Groundswell Productions

The characters would have it so much easier if they could carry guns. However, this would probably make the movie end so much faster and with a lot less gore. That’s probably the reason why you rarely see a protagonist defending themselves from a killer with a gun.

#39 Priests are always expert exorcists.

Via Morgan Creek Entertainment

When a character in a horror movie scenario thinks their house is being haunted they usually consult a paranormal expert of some sort. Whether it’s a Catholic priest, a demonologist or an actual ghost hunter, seldom do movie plots go without relying on the help of these experts.

#40 Villains love axes.

Via Warner Bros

There are probably a lot of better murder weapons, but many horror movie slashers prefer to use axes. There’s just something about axes that makes every death awful and gory.

#41 Found footage horror movies.

Via Castelao Producciones

A first few successful attempts managed to captivate the audiences. But as of now, we’ve seen way too many movies about a recovered scary footage of someone getting murdered or possessed by a demon.

#42 Family turning into monsters.


With a spike in the popularity of zombie horror movies, some of the old cliches are brought back to our screens. You must be familiar with the tear-jerking scene when a family member or a friend of a protagonist gets bitten by a zombie and is begging to be killed before they turn. While this scene is used to help viewers empathize with the horrible situation of a zombie apocalypse, we’ve seen this happen in so many movies that it has become just too predictable.

#43 Killing the pet.

Via unknown

Scriptwriters often use this old trope to elicit emotion, to the point that it is becoming boring and predictable. Pets usually don’t require as much character development as humans, so it’s easier to make viewers feel empathy for a dead pet.

#44 Weird twists.

Via Hollywood Pictures

You’ve definitely seen this one – a very disturbed protagonist is worried that their house is being haunted, then it is revealed that the character is a ghost who is actually haunting somebody else. Quite a few movies are guilty of this cliche plot twist.

Are there any more cliches that you are sick and tired of seeing in horror movies? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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