Used in: Practically every haunted house movie ever made

It’s easy to understand why filmmakers rely upon the age-old “Let’s slowly inspect odd sounds” action device—if done right, sequences in which characters creep around unlit hallways with flashlights beaming and hearts a-pounding can generate ample suspense. Known as a “slow burn,” patient scenes of this nature pull on the viewers’ nerves until there’s no choice but to either shriek in terror or gasp for air.

That rarely happens, though; usually, unexpected noises are followed by predictable investigations and even more foreseen jump scares. The family’s cat runs across the room, or an object falls off of a table and crashes into the ground. Nine times out of 10, it’s not the household specter at the end of investigation—it’s a lame payoff that shows off both the filmmaker’s inefficiencies and lack of confidence. Not to mention, elicits a mixture of groans and bird-flips from the audience.