Many tropes exist in horror films that have become almost synonymous with the genre. While these tendencies are common indicators of the genre, some tropes have become overused and boring. However, there are plenty of tropes that still have life in them regardless of time or repetitiveness because they are so effective.
These tropes, while frequently seen, can always bring fresh new stories or scream-worthy scares to terrify viewers. Blockbuster horror movie tropes are used to scare fans, build tension, and create an unforgettable movie.
ten Jump Scares are great if used correctly
Horror movies are often full of high tension scenes, and these are usually built on silence. Then the scene ends with a sudden terrifying fear that most people will react to. Some fans hate the jump scares, but there are still plenty who enjoy the trope.
Horror movies tend to overuse scary jumps to the point that they no longer induce fear, often alienating audiences from the overall narrative. However, jump scares can be an incredibly useful tool for intensifying fear. When done correctly and barely, jump scares can enhance the plot of the story.
Shots and camera angles play a huge role in how a horror movie is experienced, and the found footage subgenre is one of the many ways horror can be portrayed. This style was popularized with the cult classic The Blair Witch Project and went on to inspire other great found horror movies.
Found footage films often use the Apocalyptic Log trope, which serves to detail the character’s experience and feelings. Using this intimate look at a character’s journey, viewers live vicariously through the victim, greatly heightening their fear.
8 The girl’s final trope is still relevant
The Final Girl trope features a female protagonist who is the last living character in a film. The Last Girl tends to be the last to face a killer and survive. This character is mostly seen in slasher movies, often with traits that set them apart from other characters, such as their intelligence or experiences.
Characters like Nancy Thompson of freddie and Laurie Strode of Halloween are prime examples of the Final Girl trope. While the trend continues into the present, it’s one that viewers won’t get tired of, as it provides empowering roles for women that resonate with viewers.
seven Perspective-changing twisted ending is an effective storytelling tool
Plot twists are a great way to introduce a different conflict that changes the audience’s perception. In horror, plot twists serve to lead viewers astray, ultimately showing the true evil or dark truth behind the events that occur.
A great example of the twist ending trope includes Others. In Others, a woman experiences a haunting in her house, only for it to be revealed that she is the one haunting his house. The twist trope is particularly clever because the misdirection is unexpected, which creates an engaging experience. Twists allow clues scattered throughout a movie to be recognized during a replay.
6 The start of the slow burn is usually seen in arthouse movies
In recent years, the popularity of auteur films has increased due to the subtle approach to the horror genre. These movies don’t rely on scary jumps, instead preferring to keep a slow, tense pace to create fear. Sometimes these films are a good way to provide social commentary by focusing on metaphors and symbolism.
A slow-paced beginning can well create tension in a horror movie. This is seen in Mother!, a disturbing arthouse film that gives another look at a common experience: motherhood. While some fans may resent this slow-burning nature, its growing popularity makes it a trope that generally works well for instigating thought-provoking speech and an effective climax.
5 Humans being the real monsters are terrifyingly realistic
Horror is synonymous with monsters, ghouls, and evil entities whose purpose is to wreak havoc and harm on unassuming people. Although paranormal or supernatural stories can be terrifying, sometimes a human being can be the scariest of all evil creatures.
When humans are the real monster, horror movies can show the gruesome realities of society and effectively portray the terrors of real life. You see it in movies like Hearing and The black phone. The antagonists in these films are more disturbing than any monster and perform the vilest deeds that can come from cruel human minds.
4 The trope without antagonist is also disturbing
An important element of horror is the antagonist. Sometimes horror movies don’t feature a clear villain. The No Antagonist trope tends to make the horror happen as a result of internal conflict.
Some films will show that the protagonists are their own enemies through inner turmoil or painful experiences. This trope is seen in An American werewolf in London, a film about a man who succumbs to his transformation into a werewolf. He is his own villain in the story. This trope does a good job of presenting different perspectives and subverting other common tropes.
3 Horror movies that use the No Survivors trope are devastating
It’s common for horror films to show their characters surviving the events of the film. However, some horror movies end with all the protagonists dead and the killer still at large. This trope usually sets up a sequel or spin-off that can follow the villain until he’s finally defeated.
This trope has been seen in popular movies like Final destination Where Sadness. In these movies, even the main characters meet their demise in gruesome ways, and the villain wins in the end. Films that use this trope have continued success as they stray from the common survivor formula. Moreover, these films are often more disturbing and dark.
2 Movies with evil cults preying on the protagonist are terrifying
In recent years, horror stories involving cults have become extremely popular with viewers. With movies like Midsommar, Hereditary, and The ritual, it’s no surprise why the trope has become so popular. There’s something terrifying about putting characters in a situation where they’re outnumbered in a community with strange and dangerous practices.
In cult horror movies, the characters are usually forcefully subjected to physical, emotional, and psychological turmoil. What draws audiences to this trope are the cult dynamics as well as themes of isolation and vulnerability.
1 Not revealing the evil until the end keeps the suspense going
Tension is always present in horror movies. While it might seem counterintuitive, horror movies that don’t show the villain are just as suspenseful. Not revealing the villain has a profound effect on viewers that is missed when evil is revealed at the start of a movie. This trope allows the viewer’s imagination to run wild, which creates the fear of anticipation.
by Steven Spielberg Jaws and Jordan Peele Nope both use this trope to good effect. It works well when the villain is teased and the audience doesn’t know what to expect, which makes the reveal even scarier.
NEXT: 10 Times Horror Movies Broke Their Own Rules