11 Horror Movie Cliches, And How They Can Be Done Right
No Cell Phone Signal
THE GOOD: The ‘No Signal’ cliché was one created very recently when writers realized that cell phones could be used to solve a lot of horror movie conflicts, but just because it’s new doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its positive and negative examples. For example, Alexandre Aja’s remake of The Hills Have Eyes capitalized on the fact that the main cast was isolated in the middle of the desert where it would naturally be hard to find a wireless connection. It also gave us the clever and relatable line, “97% nationwide coverage and we find ourselves in that 3%.”
THE BAD: In some movies mentioning the fact that the characters can’t get any cell phone service can fill a lot of plot holes, but if you’re making a movie that doesn’t really need you to explain that the characters can’t use their mobiles then don’t explain it! Case in point: John Stockwell’s Turistas. Despite being released in 2006 and taking place entirely in Brazil, one of the actresses in the movie still asks her friends if any of them are getting any signal on their phones. Wouldn’t it just be easier to say that none of them have global phones? It avoids the trope and takes advantage of the movie’s story elements.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED: ‘No Signal’ is going to be around so long as people continue using cell phones, which is another way of saying forever. We at least ask that it only be used where 100% necessary.
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