Why are horror movie characters so dumb? This is the question of the day. I rarely watch horror movies because I often get angry when the characters in them make some stupid decisions that worsen their situation or even get them killed. And I don’t see a good reason why I should intentionally do that to myself.
But with Halloween being in October, I have been watching a lot of horror movies lately. And as usual, I couldn’t help but get annoyed and frustrated when so many horror movie characters do the dumbest things.
I probably, and hopefully, will never be in the same situations as these people having some bad guy or thing coming after me in real life. So I may be judging the horror movie characters too harshly for making stupid decisions. But here’s a list of some of the dumbest things characters in horror movies do all the time.
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Dumbest Things Horror Movie Characters Do
1. Staying in a haunted house or at a place they know people have disappeared or been murdered before.
2. Investigating suspicious noises in the dark with no weapon and saying something like, ‘Hello, is anybody there?’.
3. Running away from danger in a straight line, e.g., a falling tree or house, logs rolling downhill, a car chasing them, or someone shooting at them.
4. Splitting up instead of sticking together to confront the villain.
5. Not making sure the killer has really been defeated before putting their weapon aside, running away, or turning around to celebrate.
6. Going into dark basements or abandoned buildings for no good reason.
7. Making a lot of noise while trying to be quiet.
8. Throwing away or leaving behind something that could be useful to them later, e.g., a phone, weapon, food, car, or map.
9. Moving from a safer place to go elsewhere when the killer is still around, e.g., getting out of the car or from a good hiding place.
10. Ignoring suspicious activity, e.g., flickering lights, movements in the shadows, objects moving on their own, unexplainable noises, blood on the floor, dead things, strange people, etc.
11. Hiding something that could potentially help or harm them and those they are with, e.g., vital information, a zombie bite, a wound, or the creepy thing they found.
12. Living in a town or area with creepy names, such as Hellmouth, Tombstone, Skull Creek, or Shadowville, then wondering why bad things are happening.
13. Camping or going on road trips to places with no cell service.
14. Ignoring warnings on the road and from neighbors or strangers.
15. Not locking doors and windows.
16. Going up the stairs to hide in their rooms, thereby trapping themselves.
17. Confronting the villain with no weapon or plan.
18. Walking in a dark alley or street late at night alone.
19. Not calling the police.
20. Doing what they are told not to do, e.g., do not read, they read; do not make any noise, they are noisy; do not go over there, they go; do not take or touch anything, they do both, etc.
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Why Are Horror Movie Characters So Dumb?
- For the plot and runtime
The simple answer is that many horror movie characters are so dumb because they have to be that stupid for there to be a movie for us to watch. Their stupid decisions keep the plot moving and increase the horror movie’s runtime.
Imagine if a character was smart and left at the first sign of trouble. That movie would probably be really short or nonexistent.
- Lazy writing
Just because so many horror movie characters are dumb doesn’t mean that it is impossible for there to be a good story with intelligent ones. The problem is that requires a lot more effort.
Writing about horror movie characters who make stupid decisions is a lot easier than creating a story with smart ones, hence why most scriptwriters prefer the former.
- They are normal people
Another reason why horror movie characters do the dumbest things is that they are often just normal people who are forced into difficult situations they never imagined they would ever be in.
The people in horror movies make stupid decisions because they have no idea how to deal with the villainous individuals or entities who are, in most cases, much stronger than them in every way and whose motives may not even make sense or be clear until the final moments.
Additionally, most horror movie villains can’t be reasoned with in order to resolve their issues amicably, something many normal people have been taught to do to try to resolve conflict. Attempting to reason with them is one of the dumb things horror movie characters do that get them killed. These are not normal people!
The human nature to be curious and to follow one’s self-preservation instinct could explain why people in horror movies are so stupid.
For instance, due to curiosity, many characters go to check out that suspicious noise in the dark alley or basement. For self-preservation, many horror movie characters split up hoping to save themselves. Some may even help the villain against their companions thinking they will be spared.
Unfortunately, when horror movie characters do dumb things just to increase a film’s runtime or because of lazy writing, it can become predictable and boring. Expecting horror movie characters to be stupid makes the movies less scary and less enjoyable, especially if you’re having a movie marathon.
Though people in horror movies do many more dumb things, these are the ones that annoy me the most. I wish these characters were smarter. But then some movies would end before they began, and we wouldn’t have anything to watch.
Many of us would like to think that we wouldn’t make the same stupid decisions as the characters in horror movies if we were ever in the same situations. But we probably would.
Remember how some people refused to wear masks or get vaccinated even though they knew how dangerous the coronavirus was? If these scary situations happened in real life, many people would likely make even dumber decisions than the characters in horror movies.
If you are a movie-lover, what are some of the dumbest things you have seen people do in horror movies?
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