Let’s face it: there are only so many ways that a horror film can begin. Which makes it really easy, thankfully, to spot if you’re in one. For instance, if you’re doing extreme sports alone in a remote spot, we’re sorry to say that bad things are bound to happen, much like the film The Shallows (now on Virgin Movies). Its main character, Nancy (Blake Lively), goes on a surfing trip on a nearly deserted beach in Mexico - and promptly gets entrapped on a rock surrounded by a vicious shark. Yup, that’s just the way horror flicks work, we’re sorry to say.
And because you really just never know when you might find yourself in a horror movie, we’ve put together this handy guide. If you find yourself in any of these situations, you’ll know that you’re caught in an unpleasant film - and that you need to dash, like, asap.
1. You’re sent to investigate an abandoned vessel/spaceship/research station
If you’re asked to scrutinise vessels and/or remote research bases that have been unexplainably abandoned, you might want to think again. You’ll find that they’ve been deserted for a reason - and the discovery is likely not to be a pleasant one. Take the film Event Horizon (1997), for instance. A team is sent to investigate a spaceship that had disappeared for years. Turns out that it’d managed to get itself to hell (yeah, literal hell) and back. See? Told you. Just. Don’t. Go.
2. You find out that someone died in mysterious circumstances in the place you’ve just moved into
If you’ve just moved into a piece of great real estate at a very reasonable price, ask around for any rumours. It’s highly probable that something gory happened on site and that you are in a horror film (yes, we’d argue that the property market is that bad). Best to walk away, or you’re in for a life with rather unwelcome housemates. The Luzt family from The Amityville Horror (2005) paid no heed to this advice and moved into a house in which a family was previously murdered. You can pretty much guess what happened next. Not good stuff.
3. Your kid is behaving strangely
Is your child behaving strangely and/or claiming to see invisible presences? Are they spewing out cryptic sentences in Latin? Do they have supernatural strength, or implausibly flexible limbs? Chances are, they’re probably possessed, and you’re in a horror movie much like The Exorcist (1973). Grab your nearest priest, ASAP.
4. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and there is no mobile signal
A car breakdown is never pleasant, but if it’s happening somewhere removed from all civilisation - and you suddenly happen not to have phone signal, don’t panic. But you’re also most certainly in a horror film. Definitely. Bad things are coming your way. The family in The Hills Have Eyes find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere after their car breaks down (in the 3% area of the country that has no signal) and things quickly go all, very, terrifyingly, wrong.
5. You’re a teenager or a young adult attending a having a house party somewhere isolated no one knows about
Are you a teenager or young adult? Are you and all of your friends graced with good looks (except for the funny guy?). Are you all planning a weekend of partying away somewhere remote? Don’t. Just don’t. You’re in a horror movie. It’s all going to go terribly wrong. You’ll inevitably get attacked by something hideous, split up, and get picked off one by one until the savviest of your lot remains and miraculously survives. Just think of what happened to Ash in The Evil Dead (1981). Demons attack his group, and then pretty much all his friends turn into possessed zombies. Sad times.
6. You decide it’d be a great idea to make a home video of your expedition in a forest or jungle
Are you planning an investigative journey into a forest/jungle - and to film it as you go? If so, what in the world are you thinking? You’re totally in a found footage movie. Just like in The Blair Witch Project (1999), in which a group of film students disappear after being devoured by - you’ve guessed it - a witch. Only thing they leave behind? Their film footage. So your journey is going to go horribly wrong, though at least the cameras will run long enough to give us an idea of what’s happened to you - if that’s any comfort. Sorry.
7. There’s a log cabin anywhere near you
Log cabins are trouble. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a log cabin in a movie that wasn’t of the horror variety? We didn’t think so. Do better than the group in Cabin In The Woods (2011), and if you see one of those picturesque, hearty, quaint constructions, walk away before things get unpleasant. You’ll thank us for it. Seriously.
8. You’re hanging out with someone who’s survived a horror-film-type scenario
Your new BFF is someone who has honourably survived an unspeakably traumatic experience they refuse to speak of. From the rumours, whatever they went through sounded like a real-life horror film.
And we’re sorry to say that you need to get away from them, as quickly as possible. Don’t go on that group weekend away, or whatever you’ve been invited to. You’re definitely in a horror movie sequel - and whatever happened to your friend will happen to them again. Plus, you’re very likely one of those disposable characters that dies early on in the story. Politely decline, and never see them again.