9 common horror movie tropes that keep us terrified

These nine horror movie tropes will have you screaming, cringing and yelling "Don't go in there!"

Many people love watching horror movies, especially around Halloween time. You know those moments we all want to yell "Don't go in there!" at the screen? Or those times when there is no cell service right when they need it?

From slasher films to exorcisms, here are nine common horror movie tropes that happen in almost every scary movie. How many horror movie tropes can you recall?

1. Cheap jump scares that get us every time

Image credit: The Everett Collection

Horror films are full of high-suspense moments that make us want to scream. These moments are usually built on silence. Some fans dislike jump scares, while others fall for it every time.

Some horror movies have a tendency to overdo the jump scare, but if done right they can carry the plot for some films. 

Some of the best jump scares exist in films such as Psycho, Carrie, It and Friday the 13th. Do you fall for the jump scare?

2. The Final Girl Trope

Image credit: The Everett Collection

The Final Girl trope usually happens in slasher films such as Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street. The trope features a female protagonist who is the last living character in the film. The trope usually has a character that will go up against the killer and always wins or gets away.

How many other films have you noticed this classic horror movie trope in?

3. The "don't go in there!"

Image credit: The Everett Collection

We've all been there. Many people know that feeling of wanting to yell "Don't go in there!" as the main character reaches for a door that the killer is obviously behind. You'd think by now we would have all learned, if you hear a life-threatening noise, don't go towards that life-threating noise.

This trope is best demonstrated in Alfred Hitchcock's, The Birds. 

If you ever find yourself in the position of this classic trope...seriously don't go in there!

4. The creepy basement

Image credit: The Everett Collection

There's always a creepy basement isn't there? Basements in horror movies are generally overused, but occasionally a creepy basement will give us the ultimate scare.

This trope can be seen in horror movies such as The Conjuring and The Exorcist. How many creepy basements can you name?

5. Failing technology

Image credit: The Everett Collection

The phone with no service, the flashlight that dies in a dark place and the keys that don't seem to work just as the character has an opportunity to escape are all examples of this classic trope. 

This trope is commonly used as a way to extend the story and heighten the tension.

Always remember to charge your phone before going one-on-one with a man in a mask!

6. Science gone wrong

Image credit: The Everett Collection

Something has gone horribly wrong! This trope can be seen in films such as Frankenstein, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Outbreak and more.

These science mishaps lead to irreversible damage with monsters coming to life, aliens escaping and experiments gone wrong. These films either show the destruction before the sience or pick up after the experiment has already failed. Either way, science seems terrifying according to these horror films.

7. The classic run and fall

Image credit: The Everett Collection

A character is running for their life through a dark wooded area when all of a sudden they fall, right as the killer reaches them. What an inconvenient time to trip! This trope is a great trick for building suspense.

You can see this trope in films such as Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. How many classic falls do you remember?

8. The one friend that does nothing

Image credit: The Everett Collection

We all know this friend! There seems to be one friend in most horror films that either panics and falls victim, does nothing to help the situation or makes multiple wrong moves.

This trope can mainly be seen in slasher films. Hopefully no one has a friend like this, and if you do try not to get stuck with them in a horror movie situation!

9. The killer isn't actually dead

Image credit: The Everett Collection

There is no better movie to describe this trope than the Halloween franchise. Just when you think the main character saves the day, there are 13 more films featuring the killer. 

This is a common trope that allows films in a franchise to keep being made. Just remember, usually the killer or monster is still out there. Be careful this Halloween.

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woodtree65 27 days ago
Most movies mentioned are good candidates for showing on Svengoolie.
Jaxter14 2 months ago
Sometimes you don’t need blood & gore for scares, case in point is the telephone calls to the babysitter in “When A Stranger Calls”. Chilling!
braycy 3 months ago
"they're all gonna laugh at you!"
Tresix 3 months ago
Why is a scene from "Carrie" with the "Friend Who Does Nothing" trope? Carrie didn't have any friends until close to prom time and Sue tried to warn her, but the teacher shoved her out of the gym right before Carrie starts to unleash her revenge.
Jaxter14 Tresix 2 months ago
There was an actress that got killed by Carrie and then again by Michael Myers.
zman47240 3 months ago
Don’t forget the “Having sex in a horror movie” trope always gets ya killed off.
JHP zman47240 3 months ago
it's called

the "black Widow syndrome" :)
Runeshaper 3 months ago
Science fine wrong is one of my favorites lol
LoveMETV22 3 months ago
A little problem with #4 " The creepy basement." " This trope can be seen in horror movies such as
The Conjuring and The Exorcist."
In the Exorcist Reagan's bedroom was not in the basement. How could Father Karras jump out the window in the end, and fall down a flight of stairs (outside), if it was a basement ? Unless he was defying physics.
wwatkins11 LoveMETV22 3 months ago
I agree; it was definitely the attic that was the creepy place - not a basement.
daDoctah 3 months ago
Along with "The Killer Isn't Actually Dead", add "The First Victim Is the Killer and Faked Their Death".

Couple of years ago I got to wondering why nobody builds houses with secret passages any more.
TonkerBell 3 months ago
Wait….#5. Isn’t that Nancy from Nightmare on Elm Street yet that appears to be Michael Meyers in the background????
BrittReid TonkerBell 3 months ago
That is The Shape.
Tresix TonkerBell 3 months ago
And it's "Myers".
TonkerBell Tresix 2 months ago
Gee, what I tragedy! I didn’t spell his name correctly! OMG, what a horrible, horrible thing!!!!!! That incorrect spelling should be a horror movie, eh????
Tresix TonkerBell 2 months ago
“What I tragedy”? Wrong spelling…wrong vowel….
McGillahooala 3 months ago
Halloween is the best horror movie ever and it has been done to death. Watch the first two and consider that the end. Halloween 3 is completely unrelated to the others but also good. The rest are bluuuuh.
LoveMETV22 McGillahooala 3 months ago
And the reason the franchise continues is:

It should exceed a billion💲if there is another release.
KJExpress 3 months ago
Pacificsun KJExpress 3 months ago


LOCATION: Quiz Answers (STOP if you haven't played)
Pacificsun 3 months ago
Horror themes seem to be the exception. But I hope MeTV sticks to TV, unless there's some channel showing these movies on TV. And maybe Sven has, no worries!
LoveMETV22 3 months ago
Or like in the GEICO® Commercial. " Just Hide Behind the Chainsaws ."
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 3 months ago
Yeah, that's the best. They should do more of those!
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 3 months ago
I was thinking the same thing! 🤣
Pacificsun MrsPhilHarris 3 months ago


LOCATION: If you're playing the Trivia Quiz (STOP if you haven't played)

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