When Fear Takes Over:

The Power of Helpless Horror in Cinema

We all know the final girl trope, the unabashed main character who escapes terror and violence as the reigning survivor—forced to live the rest of her days without her friends or family.

Some people revere the final girl trope, and some gasp at it, pleading for new horror inventions.

One thread on R/horror on Reddit asked users how they felt about useless characters in horror movies. Those characters accept their fate without trying to fight back.    Here is what horror fans had to say about popular films that use this trope. 

One person praised The Mist for this technique.  “I love the ending for this reason too. The way the helplessness feeling really hits you the last couple of minutes and the ending gives no relief.. it really stuck with me for a while. It was a very impactful ending, and one of the reasons I love the trope so much.”

The Mist

"Loomis was almost useless in that movie, apart from the ending when he came to Laurie's rescue. He didn't even hear Michael pull up in his station wagon, which ended up being parked only several yards from where he was standing."


“A24's The Monster fits this bill. Mom and her daughter are trapped in the road in the forest while a bipedal mutated crocodile slowly kills the people trying to help. I won't spoil it. It was ok,” someone wrote. 

The Monster

One horror fan supported this trope, writing Watcher as a great example of a character who has to “overcome oppressive social forces and find unique solutions to the peril they've become ensconced in.” 


U/ ThisIsCreation shared, “You feel just as helpless as the characters in the movie.”


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