Five Horror Film Cliches


Since almost the beginning of cinema, we have had scary films. Of all the genres that exist, horror is perhaps one of the most conventional. Many horror films rely on specific plot devices, also called tropes, to make their audience frightened. Here are some of the most used, and perhaps abused, clichés in horror films.

  1. No matter what kind of house it is, the basement is a scary place in horror films. That's usually where something is hiding or where the evil psychopath has hidden their tools.
  2. In older horror films it was difficult or impossible to call for help or call the police. Mobile phones have made that less believable. What's the solution to maintain suspense? No phone coverage! Or your phone battery will die just as you are making the call. Or both.
  3. Horror films love uninhabited places. This could be an abandoned hospital, a scary empty house or a ghost town. Of course, abandoned places are also handy for horror film directors in that it's more believable that you will have no phone coverage there either (see above).
  4. In horror films, giving anybody a ride is asking for trouble. The hero always does it, and it always ends badly.
  5. This horror film cliché was especially popular with horror films of the late 20th century. It starts with a group of teenagers all enjoying themselves, and it ends with everyone dead except one girl. The girl almost always wins in the end.