The Objectively Worst Decisions In Horror Movies

Voting Rules
Vote up the horrible decisions that feel strategically designed to crash and burn.

Running upstairs to escape someone. Locking the only door to a theater during an all-night rehearsal. Pausing while running away from a slasher. These are all terrible decisions people make in horror movies.

Some bad decisions make sense - characters do dumb things when they’re under duress, just like real humans. But there are plenty of other cases where it feels like writers just got lazy and needed to off a character, so they had them walk directly into a creepy basement where the villain's hiding. 

Some of your favorite horror films probably involve at least one objectively bad decision that doesn’t make logical sense. In the moment, it's easy to gloss over what are arguably scary movie plot holes, especially if the surrounding action has you gripping the edge of your seat in terror. Even when you notice characters' awful choices, it can actually make the movie more fun (if less immersive). But for the love of Wes Craven, please stop running upstairs. 

Photo: user uploaded image

  • One of the lazier scenes in modern horror occurs in Wolf Creek, an otherwise great film. In the movie, British backpackers Liz and Kristy are on the run from a rural Australian madman named Mick. Early on, Liz gets the jump on Mick with one of his firearms. 

    Instead of holding onto it while she and Kristy run off or making sure the deed is done, Liz drops it next to Mick and flees. The villain uses this break in logic to regain the upper hand and continue the chase. 

    • Actors: Teresa Palmer, John Jarratt, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips, Cassandra Magrath
    • Released: 2005
    • Directed by: Greg McLean
    2,631 votes
  • Shirley Takes A Bath In An Abandoned School In 'Slaughter High'
    Photo: Lionsgate

    Characters are constantly making bad decisions in this movie. Not only do they agree to attend a 10-year high school reunion in an abandoned building, they each fall for their own simple schemes. The easiest trap to avoid is sprung on Shirley, a woman who decides to take a bath in a gross room in an abandoned high school.

    In this case, the water's been replaced with acid, which could have been avoided by not taking a bath in a creepy abandoned high school. 

    • Actors: Caroline Munro, Billy Hartman, Gary Martin, Simon Scuddamore, Kelly Baker
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: George Dugdale, Peter Litten
    2,567 votes
  • Kristen McKay is easily one of the most frustrating characters in horror history. After surviving an onslaught by a group of masked maniacs, Kristen makes it out of the house and into the surrounding woods.

    She actually manages to find a vantage point where she has eyes on every member of the group, and while she can't fight back and her phone is long gone, she can at least rest easy knowing she's safe. That is until she goes back into the house and things go downhill. 

    • Actors: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks, Laura Margolis
    • Released: 2008
    • Directed by: Bryan Bertino
    3,839 votes

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  • Halfway through Child's Play, Andy's mother, Karen, realizes Chucky is evil. When she discovers he's a possessed doll, she has a brief moment where she can throw him into a fire and roast the vicious hunk of plastic until he's no more.

    Instead, she just threatens to throw him in the fire, which gives the doll all the time he needs to break free of her grasp and continue his rampage. 

    • Actors: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Dinah Manoff
    • Released: 1988
    • Directed by: Tom Holland
    3,454 votes

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  • Helen isn't the kind of character who survives a horror film. In I Know What You Did Last Summer, the  slasher about a group of friends who are systematically slain by a spiteful fisherman, Helen is the party girl of the group. But she manages to put up a fight and almost get away from the madman during a big-time chase sequence.

    He chases her through a warehouse, and just before she can run out of an alley and escape into the safety of the Southport, NC, Fourth of July parade, she stops to take one more look around the dark alley. Her unfounded impetus to turn around and look for the maniac after her is exactly what gets her in the end. 

    • Actors: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze, Muse Watson
    • Released: 1997
    • Directed by: Jim Gillespie
    2,513 votes

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  • Tatum Tries To Escape Through A Doggy Door In 'Scream'
    Photo: Lionsgate

    Tatum is easily the coolest character in Scream. She's smart, funny, and she's a really good friend to Sidney throughout her ordeal. So why was she given such a terrible final scene? While taking a trip to the garage to grab some brews, Tatum's confronted by Ghostface. She gets in some good defense, but instead of finishing him off or running back to the party to get help, she tries to crawl through the doggy door and gets stuck.

    Ghostface uses this to his advantage and pulls up the electric garage door, taking out Tatum in the process.

    • Actors: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich
    • Released: 1996
    • Directed by: Wes Craven
    3,368 votes