12 Super Common Movie Deaths That Are Scientifically Impossible

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Vote up the deaths you're relieved to learn aren't likely to be how you bite the dust.

Death is pretty much the only certainty any of us have in life, and movie depictions of death are usually poignant, or spectacular, or just plain funny. However, they are also often just melodramatic, over the top, and flat out inaccurate. Rather than go with realistic methods of death, many films contain unbelievable movie death scenes that viewers accept as possible because they have been shown so many times. These movie death myths have become tropes that are used throughout the industry, and few people question. Like unbelievable dialogue, it all boils down to some bad and rather misinformed writing.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any end in sight for unbelievable ways characters die in the movies. The ways characters die in movies that are fake - be it scientifically or just logically - will probably only increase in bizarreness. But here, at least, you will find the truth of these death deceptions. Whether you truly believe liquid nitrogen will turn you into glass for the shattering or that a person could actually be cut straight in two with a razor-sharp string, its time to sort out the rational fears from the straight-up ludicrous ones. Thanks to a few experts who know real science from fake science, here's a dose of reality about those movie deaths that may have looked cool but were just straight up #fakenews.


  • 1
    20,705 VOTES

    Having All Your Flesh Eaten By Piranhas

    Having All Your Flesh Eaten By Piranhas
    Photo: Piranha 3D / Dimension Films

    Piranhas might be the most feared fish outside of sharks in all of the Earth’s oceans and rivers. The widespread belief that they can strip anything in their path to the bone appears in movies all the time. Just like most other fish, though, piranhas will flee if a bigger creature comes near them, and this includes humans. They tend to only attack things that are smaller than them or are already dying, with the carnivorous fish being far less aggressive than the film industry has made them out to be.

    Though certain highly specific factors can coalesce to create a dangerous situation involving piranhas, if left to their own devices and in their normal breeding patterns, they won't be stripping any living humans to the bone anytime soon. 

    20,705 votes
  • 2
    18,271 VOTES

    Getting Sucked Into Quicksand

    Getting Sucked Into Quicksand
    Photo: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull / Paramount Pictures

    Sinking in quicksand has become such a popular way for characters to die in movies that researchers have devoted plenty of time to studying its effects. According to films, anyone caught in quicksand is likely to die as they are slowly sucked into the sand as they struggle to escape. Although anyone falling into quicksand will sink initially, the density of the sand and water mixture will then cause the victim to float. Eventually, the water will settle back down and cause anything with a similar density to a human to slowly make its way back to the surface, stabilized but stuck.

    Getting stuck, not sucked, in quicksand is much more likely and may lead to death by starvation.

    18,271 votes
  • 3
    18,099 VOTES

    Getting Sliced By Sharp Wire

    Getting Sliced By Sharp Wire
    Photo: Final Destination 2 / New Line Cinema

    Most people will be familiar with the old movie trick of stringing up some wire across a road and tying it between two trees. The intended victim will then speed along in their car and either be decapitated or have another body part sliced off by the high tension of the wire. To be fair, industrial strength wires can cause horrible injuries and even death if they snap and hit someone, but any wire thin enough to be used effectively as a razor would not be strong enough to survive the impact.

    Instead, the wire would just snap when the person hit it.

    18,099 votes
  • 4
    16,999 VOTES

    Being Quickly Strangled To Death

    Being Quickly Strangled To Death
    Photo: Inglourious Basterds / Universal Pictures

    Hollywood has long portrayed manual strangulation – someone choking another person to death with their hands – as a quick and easy method to kill a person. In real life, throttling a person is much more difficult than movies make it out to be. It is definitely not quick and can take up to five minutes for a person to die.

    Meanwhile, a person being choked is likely to struggle violently as they panic and begin to lose consciousness, and they can almost fully recover in just a few seconds if they are able to break free.

    16,999 votes
  • 5
    12,986 VOTES

    Blowing Up In A Car Shot By Guns

    Blowing Up In A Car Shot By Guns
    Photo: The Matrix Reloaded / Warner Bros. Pictures

    It might seem easy to blow up a car if you watch a lot of movies. Apparently, all it takes is shooting a few bullets at a vehicle's gas tank, and a vehicle will quickly erupt into flames or explode spectacularly. Real life is a bit of a different story. Gas tanks in cars are specifically made to be as safe as possible. They have to be able to withstand strong impacts in case the vehicle is involved in a crash. There is also not very much oxygen inside a tank, certainly not enough to cause a rapid fire or explosion. Meanwhile, most bullets are simply not powerful enough to pierce the reinforced gas tank or ignite the fuel inside.

    So, although any circumstance where you're being chased by someone with guns isn't ideal, no need to worry much about your escape car exploding.

    12,986 votes
  • 6
    13,761 VOTES

    Death By Gasoline And A Lit Cigarette

    Death By Gasoline And A Lit Cigarette
    Photo: The Birds / Universal Pictures

    Obviously, this form of deathly destruction makes for some dramatic cinema. All one need do is douse any person they want dead in gasoline, drop a lit cigarette into the liquid petrol, and watch everything go up in flames. The only problem is that gasoline is not so easy to ignite. Although cigarettes burn at a hotter temperature than it takes for gasoline to ignite, it is extremely difficult to use a cigarette for this purpose.

    Researchers have used a variety of different methods to see if a cigarette could light gasoline but failed in more than 2,000 attempts. They believe that the liquid either smothers the cigarette or reduces its temperature too much before it can ignite the gas. This doesn't mean anyone gets a free pass to smoke at gas stations, though. 

    13,761 votes