Top 12 Worst Film Clichés

The Top 12 Worst Film Cliches We Love to Hate

Greetings, movie lovers! Today, we embark on a journey to explore some of the most tired and overused tropes in the film industry. From the pointless to the annoying to the downright harmful, let’s explore our personal picks for the top 12 worst film cliches. But before we begin, let’s address a key point: these are subjective picks based on our own personal preferences. Others may have different opinions, so let’s keep that in mind as we explore these cliches.

12. Showing the Middle/Ending at the Beginning

Have you ever watched a movie where the opening scene reveals a glimpse into either the middle or end of the story, only for the narrative to backtrack and catch up to that point later on? While some may find this approach intriguing, we often find it deflates the tension and surprise that comes with experiencing a story unfold. It reveals too much too soon, leaving little room for audience speculation and anticipation. Unless there’s a specific artistic reason behind this structure, we consider it a cliché that diminishes the overall impact of the story.

11. Dream Sequences

How many times have we been captivated by a surreal and creepy sequence, only to discover that it was all just a dream? Dream sequences can be interesting when used sparingly or to provide insight into a character’s psyche. However, when they become a crutch for filmmakers to insert disjointed imagery without consequences, they lose their impact. If used creatively and purposefully, dream sequences can enhance a story. Otherwise, they come across as cheap tricks that deflate tension and undermine the audience’s emotional investment.

10. Quick-Cutting Action

Action sequences, when executed well, are a thrilling spectacle that keeps us on the edge of our seats. However, the trend of rapidly edited, quick-cutting action sequences can often rob us of the full visual experience. Films like “Taken 2,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” and “Batman Begins” resort to this style, leaving audiences struggling to follow the action and appreciate the choreography. While the intention behind this editing technique may vary, it often deprives us of the opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in the exhilarating display of physicality.

9. Will-They-Won’t-They Romance

Romantic relationships can be a captivating aspect of storytelling, but the prolonged teasing of a “will-they-won’t-they” dynamic can be tiresome. While gradual development can add depth to a romance, extending it beyond reasonable limits begins to feel like unnecessary stalling. Rather than artificially creating obstacles, we prefer films that allow relationships to progress naturally, providing an authentic portrayal of the ups and downs that come with love.

8. Obligatory Romance

On the flip side of the will-they-won’t-they cliche, we have the obligatory romance where two characters are pushed into a romantic relationship without any meaningful development. This cliche often relies on shallow assumptions based solely on the characters’ genders, disregarding their chemistry or personal growth. When romance feels forced and fails to serve the story or characters, it becomes a distracting addition that detracts from the overall narrative.

7. Villainous Crushes

We’ve all seen films where the villain develops an unjustifiable and superficial attraction toward a hero or supporting character, usually with a clear gender imbalance. This cliche portrays a shallow perspective of both the villain and the love interest, reducing them to mere objects driven solely by lust. While this trope occasionally adds depth, its overuse contributes to objectification and oversimplification, reinforcing harmful stereotypes along the way.

6. Misunderstandings

Misunderstandings, though a part of real life, are often exaggerated and contrived in film. Characters overhear conversations out of context, jump to conclusions, and proceed without seeking clarification. These forced conflicts hinder character development and cheapen the narrative. While misunderstandings can be comedic in certain contexts, their excessive use as a plot device undermines the depth and authenticity of the relationships portrayed.

5. Comic Relief Characters

While humor is an essential component of storytelling, comic relief characters can feel like unnecessary baggage within a film. Jar Jar Binks, Ruby Rhod, and numerous Disney sidekicks often serve as the singular source of comedy, detracting from the main storyline and overshadowing more complex and interesting characters. When used sparingly and thoughtfully, humor can be woven throughout an ensemble cast, creating a natural balance without relying solely on one character for comic relief.

4. Overused CGI

In the age of advanced technology, CGI has become a staple in the film industry. While it allows for breathtaking visuals, its overuse can feel artificial and disconnect viewers from the story. We appreciate films that strive for a harmony between practical effects and CGI, utilizing each where they can shine the most. By employing a judicious approach to CGI, filmmakers can create a more immersive experience while preserving the artistry of practical effects.

3. Fakeout Deaths

Death is a powerful narrative tool that carries emotional weight and consequences. However, when films repeatedly fake character deaths or bring them back unexpectedly, it diminishes the impact and undermines the significance of mortality within the story. While there are instances where temporary deaths serve a purpose or contribute to character arcs, the prevalence of this cliche has left audiences skeptical, questioning the gravity of future deaths portrayed on screen.

2. Forced Romantic Gestures

Forcing romantic gestures, particularly when they border on non-consensual or disrespectful, diminishes the genuine nature of love within a story. Scenes where characters ignore clear boundaries and persist despite rejection perpetuate harmful stereotypes and send troubling messages. These instances should be addressed critically, reminding filmmakers of the importance of portraying healthy and respectful relationships.

1. Jump Scares

Jump scares, those sudden moments accompanied by loud sounds or startling visuals, have become ingrained in the horror genre. While they may momentarily startle audiences, they rarely contribute to genuine horror or suspense. Often used as a crutch to compensate for a lack of compelling storytelling, jump scares detract from the overall experience, breaking immersion and relying on cheap tactics to elicit reactions. We believe horror can be truly effective when it relies on atmospheric tension and intelligent storytelling rather than relying solely on cheap scares.

After exploring these 12 worst film cliches, it’s important to remember that storytelling is an art form that evolves and varies with personal taste. While these cliches may be disheartening when overused or mishandled, there are filmmakers who creatively challenge these conventions and breathe new life into the medium.


In conclusion, the film industry has its fair share of cliches that can hinder the quality of storytelling. From needless jump scares to contrived misunderstandings, recognizing and addressing these tropes is essential for unlocking the full potential of cinematic narratives. By striving for originality and challenging established norms, filmmakers can pave the way for exciting and innovative storytelling experiences that captivate audiences around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are cliches always bad in films?

While cliches can sometimes serve as familiar narrative shortcuts, their excessive presence can hinder creative storytelling and make films predictable. Striking a balance between homage and originality is crucial to keep audiences engaged.

2. Do filmmakers intentionally use these cliches?

Some cliches are deliberately employed by filmmakers to maintain familiarity or pay homage to specific genres or eras. However, it is essential to use them judiciously and with artistic purpose rather than relying on them as a crutch.

3. Can cliches ruin an otherwise good film?

Cliches, when used sparingly or with a fresh perspective, may not ruin an otherwise good film. However, excessive or poorly executed cliches can detract from the overall experience and undermine the impact of the story.

4. Are there any cliches that can enhance a film?

While cliches typically have a negative connotation, some can still be effective when used creatively and purposefully, adding depth and resonance to a story. It often depends on the execution and how the cliche is incorporated within the narrative.

5. Can filmmakers subvert cliches?

Absolutely! Many filmmakers are adept at subverting cliches, offering fresh perspectives and unexpected twists on familiar tropes. These creative approaches challenge audience expectations and breathe new life into storytelling.