Dumb teenagers are the foundation of the horror movie universe. We may curse at the screen whenever they are running up the stairs instead of exiting the house, calling out into the dark for their significant other when there is a killer on the loose, or opening that door when they definitely shouldn't open that door, but the truth is that without their poor decision making abilities, we wouldn't have the vast majority of plot devices that these films rely on to be as entertaining as they are.
Still, there are some horror movie teenagers that abuse the privilege. While a degree of stupidity is expected (or even encouraged) from characters in these films, these young fools go a step beyond the considerable amount of leniency we give them by exhibiting the kind of bad decision making usually reserved for college kids on their first spring break. Long after their bodies have been stored in convenient spots to scare their friends at the film's finale, their legacy of idiocy lingers throughout history.
Here's Screen Rant's take on the 10 Dumbest Teenagers In Horror Movies:
10 Paxton - Hostel
Whenever you are traveling abroad, it’s important to keep your eyes open for common scams aimed at tourists. While most of them are nothing more harmful than an attempt to hustle you out of a few extra dollars, some of the nastiest stories involving travelers in trouble could have been prevented had that person exercised a little more caution in their decision making.
Apparently, nobody has ever taught Hostel’s Paxton this lesson. Paxton’s hormone-driven journey through Europe sees him rush head first into any opportunity that could even possibly lead to sex. What’s particularly frustrating about Paxton is that his idiocy is continuously rewarded. Paxton’s decisions put everyone in danger, yet he always seems to avoid the worst of the consequences via dumb luck. He’s so stupid, it’s actually an asset.
9 Randy - Scream
On the one hand, you really want to cut Randy a break. As one of the most prominent examples of a self-aware horror movie character (having seen so many fright flicks that he knows the trends inside and out), Randy is often the voice of reason in terms of informing his fellow teenagers of the danger they are in and what they should avoid doing. In that respect, he’s actually quite smart.
On the other hand, Randy is kind of a moron. It’s no good being aware of everything that you shouldn’t do in a horror movie if you then proceed to do many of those things yourself en route to becoming a two-time victim. Each time Randy was attacked (he was shot in the first film and stabbed to death in the sequel) could have been easily avoided had this supposed master of caution exercised even a bit of situational awareness.
8 Shelly - Friday The 13th Part III
Ah, the horror movie prankster. There is no surer sign of inevitable death in a horror film than to be the teenager that loves to prank everyone else despite the considerable danger they're all in. Though he may not be the original horror movie prankster, Friday The 13th’s Shelly has become something of a poster child for what makes the “it's just a prank” teenagers so detestable.
While Shelly’s general patheticness makes him an all-time dumb teenager candidate, what earns him his spot on the list is his insistence on continuing to pull a series of painfully unfunny gags even as the danger surrounding the group becomes more and more apparent. In fact, were it not for one of Shelly’s poorly planned pranks, Jason would have never received the iconic hockey mask that haunted many of our young nightmares.
7 Wichita - Zombieland
Wichita almost made it. She was not only one of the few survivors of the zombie apocalypse, but she managed to make it through much of a harrowing adventure without making too many awful decisions. In fact, were it not for the film’s final minutes, you could almost make the argument that she is one of the most capable young horror movie characters in the entirety of the genre.
But, in those final minutes, Wichita decided to turn on every light at an amusement park in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. She did this despite the fact that she was reminded constantly throughout the movie that a large volume of zombies will come whenever even the slightest noise is made. While you can sympathize with her desire to establish a bit of normalcy for her little sister, the fact that she created the world’s largest zombie whistle in the pursuit of it is inexcusable.
6 Helen - I Know What You Did Last Summer
Though there was little doubt that the ditzy Helen would be seeing the business end of a blade by the film’s end from the moment she appeared on screen, it’s not likely that anyone could have predicted the full extent of her ineptitude.
Towards the end of I Know What You Did Last Summer, Helen was being chased by a hooded killer. Even though the killer came close to ending Helen’s life several times during this chase sequence, Helen managed to escape at nearly every turn through a bit of craftiness and quick reflexes. But when Helen is mere inches from the public safety of a parade (yes, a full-fledged parade) she decides to turn around just to make sure that the killer is an adequate distance behind her.
It’s in that moment that Helen is brutally murdered and her place in the dumb teenager hall of fame is forever sealed.
5 Addison - Saw II
It’s not easy to be trapped in the world of Saw. Jigsaw’s maniacal puzzles easy rank among horror’s most devious inventions. They’re not only brutal in their execution, but are typically almost impossible to get around without putting yourself in serious physical or psychological danger. The only exception to this rule is Addison’s bladed box trap in Saw II, which could have easily been solved with minimal or no pain involved.
And yet, Addison still fell victim to it. By either walking around the trap to see its rather obvious solution in front of her, or by not sticking both hands into holes clearly lined with blades, Addison could have survived this contraption easily. Instead, she sticks both hands in with all the enthusiasm of a child reaching for ice cream cones.
4 Darry - Jeepers Creepers
Let’s say, hypothetically, you encounter the scariest looking individual you’ve ever seen while driving down a country highway one day. Not only is this individual clearly a killing machine, but they are actively dumping a body down a drainage pipe at the moment you see them. After this terrifying killer spots you, chases you, and runs you off the road, you would never consider doubling back and investigating their murder hole, right?
Well, you would if you are Darry. What exactly he and his sister were hoping to accomplish by dangling Darry over an open pipe that is clearly used for the disposal of human remains is up for debate, but it’s a near certainty that Justin Long's idiotic teen was the only one surprised when he ended up falling down the pipe and eventually falling victim to said murderer.
3 Mike - The Blair Witch Project
Even if you’re not aware that you are actively caught in a horror movie situation -- which the protagonists of The Blair Witch Project should have been, given the subject matter they were investigating -- the one thing you would never want to do is throw away the map that you need to navigate yourself back into society.
Mike not only threw the map away, he kicked it into a river and began to laugh about it maniacally. The glee on Mike’s face when he announces to his friends that he has, in a moment of childish anger, rid the group of their only possible means of survival is simply dumbfounding. It’s quite possible that Mike wasn’t put into the corner of that basement at the end of the movie by the witch as we originally suspected, but rather that he realized the full extent of his stupidity and simply ceased to function.
2 Poolside Negotiator Kid - Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
We don't know Freddy Negotiator’s real name. The only reason we know him at all is because he was the one who stood up to Freddy Krueger in Nightmare on Elm Street 2 after Freddy made his fiery appearance at a pool party. Rather than run away as fast as possible from the creature that is quite obviously a demon from hell, this kid decided he was going to try to reason with Freddy by talking him out of starting a violent massacre.
So after Freddy is done with his violent massacre that began with the murder of the negotiator, we are left to wonder what, exactly, it was that this kid hoped to accomplish. Why did he believe that a supernatural killer would respond to a speech that amounted to “Chill bro?” How had he managed to live up until this point in his life? Who even invited this guy?
1 Tatum Riley - Scream
It’s not easy to be the clear cut winner for the dumbest teenager in a horror movie award. It takes something truly innovative to separate yourself from a...let’s call them “special” pack of youngsters that are all viable candidates for such a prestigious title. Specifically, it takes a doggy door.
When Tatum Riley found herself running from a masked killer, she should have been thankful to find herself with time to think and recuperate in the garage. Here, she could no doubt find a number of instruments of death that would allow her to defend herself or even just buy enough time for her to escape. Instead, she chose to try to squeeze herself through a doggy door. A doggy door that anyone in the world could have told Tatum was not big enough to accommodate her. What truly amazing about this scene is that Scary Movie once parodied it, and even the comedy version of this painfully stupid act was not nearly as pathetic as Tatum’s genuine attempt at survival. Frankly, we're gonna chalk this one up to natural selection.
Who do you thing was the dumbest horror movie teen in history? Sound off in the comments.