[[quoteright:295:[[VideoGame/Left4Dead http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/deadly-lunge_3665.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:295:One free hug!]]

Imagine being in the middle of a ZombieApocalypse. You rush to some safe place, but the way is blocked by a few aimlessly shambling zombies. Well, no big problem -- [[ZombieGait zombies are slow]], aren't they?

Well, it seems that getting close to a zombie triggers some reflex in the remains of its brain, resulting in a really ''fast'' lunge which, apparently, you weren't prepared for. Too bad for you.

Frequently featured offscreen: in every zombie film some character is due to be ambushed by a zombie, which then suddenly lunges into our field of view.

The trope isn't limited to just zombies, see below. The lunge may be replaced by a jump or a sprint, the essence being the same: drastic increase of speed triggered by prey proximity.

Note that the trope does not apply to the enemies which just have a surprisingly long attack range (e.g. stretching hands) or which are ''always'' fast (e.g., ''Film/TwentyEightDaysLater'').

This is a favored tactic of the PersonalSpaceInvader. Not to be confused with a Deadly ''Lunch'', which may be thrust unexpectedly at one by a LethalChef.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Zombies in ''Anime/{{Blassreiter}}'', known as demoniacs, can leap up to 30 feet in the air.
* The mannequin soldiers in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' seem to have two speeds: Slow shamble and sprinting into a leap. They change between them suddenly and randomly.
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[[folder:Gamebooks]]
* The zombies in ''Literature/CanYouSurviveTheZombieApocalypse'' fit this trope to a T.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Helix}}'', this is standard M.O. for "[[NotUsingTheZWord Vectors]]," animals and humans infected with NARVIK-B, a SyntheticPlague that compels its carriers to get close enough to victims to vomit BadBlackBarf into their mouths and transmit TheVirus.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E21AllHellBreaksLoosePartOne "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21)]], the Acheri demon leaps at Andy and rips open his stomach.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* This is a power zombies can have in ''TabletopGame/AllFleshMustBeEaten''.
* The same is true for zombies in the ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'' book ''Antagonists''.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' one of the Exalt types, the Abyssals, have abilities that mimic the powers of the undead. Their signature martial arts style, Hungry Ghost Style, includes a move called Unnatural Shambling Deftness which is described as specifically imitating a zombie's ability to switch suddenly from immobility to a startling burst of speed. In game terms, though, it's just a regular extra action Charm. But the Style also includes such gems of fear as Leaping Horror Approach and Lunging Phantom Method.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Videogame/HalfLife''
** Combine zombies in ''Videogame/HalfLife2'' (Zombine) sprint up when they get sufficiently close to you. Fast Zombies occasionally ''leap'' at Gordon if he's too far away to slash. They can also do it ''vertically'' to catch the player off-guard if they're on a higher platform.
** Regular Headcrabs in all of the ''Half-Life'' games are slow, but can jump on a victim across considerable distance. The same applies to the Poison Headcrabs.
* Demon Kids and Simians in ''Franchise/SilentHill'' lunge and jump, respectively.
* Golems in ''VideoGame/{{Hexen}} 2'' do this.
* Many enemies in ''VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead'' do this, even those that move pretty fast to begin with.
* The Fiends from ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}'' love to leap across distances to get at you, and can OneHitKill you with this attack.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda''
** [=ReDeads=], at least in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Melee''.
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', [=ReDeads=] are always slow, but have the ability to temporarily stun you if you're in their line of sight. Once they get close enough, they will do a startlingly quick leap onto your shoulders.
** The snake enemies in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda'' and the ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames'' series move at great speed upon seeing the player.
* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil''
** The series sometimes includes zombies that unexpectedly lunge at the player, particularly in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica''. It gets even more terrifying in the remake of the original game, where the zombies that are killed reanimate into ''really'' fast zombies, complete with claws and wild sprinting.
** ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'' had what the knife-run guide refers to as "ninja zombies", regular zombies who run crazy fast at you once they spot you. Instead of being a special enemy, this "ninja" status is assigned at random to any of the game's zombies, so ''any'' zombie can be a ninja zombie.
** A few of these "ninja zombies" were also randomly added to the Director's Cut of the original ''[=RE=]'', the upside being that your new, random-head-blowing-off pistol would usually take them out before they could grab you.
** Hunters for every game up to ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4''. Regardless of your armor (if that's equippable), health, or whatever; you are ''dead'' if they take a forward leaping slash at you. In earlier games, they would decapitate the player, and the uncut PC version of the original shows them still holding the player's head.
** Lickers Beta in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5''. If they decide to leap at you and hold you on the ground, [[OneHitKill you'd better have your partner VERY close to help you.]] On the other hand, if you can hit them while they leap, [[DeathOrGloryAttack you can slam them on the ground]] [[AwesomeButImpractical and impale them for an instant kill.]] This is an achievement, too. In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' they had a similar attack, and while it wasn't always lethal, it was much harder to dodge given the clunky control system.
** ''ResidentEvil6'' gives us the C-virus zombies and their evolved forms, the bloodshots (which are essentially the new virus' strain of Lickers, only tongue-less). A CounterAttack on both is an instant kill - a lightning fast [[PistolWhipping weapon whip]] for the zombies, while the bloodshot gets a setpiece [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome where it's picked up off the air by the]] PlayerCharacter [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome and flipped over their shoulder so that it lands on its back, at which point the human performs a]] FinishingStomp [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome on its exposed chest organs]].
** In the sprinting department, the games have [[SuperSoldier Tyrants]]. Sure, they ''start out'' with an OminousWalk, but that only lasts so long. Just when you get comfortable, they cover the distance between them and you in the blink of an eye and are ''right there.''
* Almost all enemies in ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}}'', but mainly the Boks (zombies) and the mummies.
* The majority of enemies in ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3'' have a lunge attack.
* Kleer Skeletons in the ''VideoGame/SeriousSam'' series are known for it.
* ''Zombie Dawn'' zombies lunge when they get close to a person.
* ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry''
** The Stinger and its variants are examples courtesy of the protagonist, though some enemies also have this sort of move.
** Shadows, with the lunging spike and the lunging bite they do when they are low on life.
* ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}''
** Captain Cross breaks this out with his electric baton if you try to make Alex pick up a gun and JustShootHim.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype 2}}'', James Heller can pounce on enemies with his Claw power active. This is in part to make up for the fact that grabbing things in the first game requires a clear line to the target, which made the process prone to frequent misses.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadRising'', the zombies speed up significantly once they get close. They are noticeably more aggressive at night time and in dark areas, as well.
* Pretty much every zombie in ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' is a [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation disheveled muddy-colored marathon runner]], but the Hunters (as seen in pic) are particularly bad about this. He's also the only one that can actually jump on you. There's also the Charger; clumsy most of the time, but can charge at remarkable speed.
* Commando (Pro) perk from ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'' allows you to cover some distance when knifing. Unless they use a shotgun.
* ''VideoGame/{{Painkiller}}'' has a zombie enemy which normally crawls aimlessly on elbows and knees - until it rears up and flings itself at you across surprising distances. One of your first encounters with them is in an unlit asylum.
* ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}} 2'' has some skeletons walking around slooowly with very long swords, and suddenly slashing at you. And they rise again after being defeated.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}''
** Many of ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'''s non-human opponents have access to these, from the lowliest of radroaches to the mightiest of deathclaws. Most of the ones that don't (like radscorpions or centaurs) typically don't serve as any real threat to an experienced player, as their movement patterns are predictable and attacks easily avoided. Also, [[AchillesHeel crippling an enemy's legs]] (preferably with the poison dart gun) prevents them from doing this.
** The Geckoes in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' do this. The vanilla ones aren't that deadly, but the Golden and Green ones are.
* Demonic monsters referred to as "Howlers" pose the primary threat, at least early on, in ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersUndying''. Roughly humanoid with canine features and some ape-like elements thrown in, howlers gallop towards the player until they get close enough to pounce. In this case "close enough" is about twenty meters or so. They always land ready to strike with their razor-sharp claws.
* The Franchise/{{Alien}} in most ''Franchise/AlienVsPredator'' games can do this. It is [[FragileSpeedster not slow on foot to begin with]], and some variants can pounce over the map if needed.
* There are various such moves in ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden''.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' features this as a move for both the player and enemies. Warriors, for example, have ''four'' variants of this for different situations. It also has an inversion, the Death Knight's Death Grip. It instantly drags the target to the caster's location.
* Many enemies in ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' have moves that let them close distance very quickly, though some of them are nice enough to telegraph their moves giving you time to get out of the way. Others, like Ornstein the Dragonslayer, aren't that obliging.
* ''Videogame/DeadSpace'': Most of the enemies, frankly. There is a varied pattern between [[MightyGlacier strong foes being slow]], and [[FragileSpeedster weak, low damage output but quick and agile ones]].
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'' has some of the wildlife doing this.
* In ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars II'', the Warp Pulse upgrade allows Tarka ships to do a nigh-instant "lunge" in tactical combat, but with the caveat that any enemy ship in the way causes the lunging Tarka ship to crumple like an egg.
* ''VideoGame/{{Halo}}''
** Promethean Knights in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'', who are normally quite slow-moving, will sometimes suddenly lunge, sprint or zig-zag-hyperspeed-charge at you to attack you in melee (or with their Scattershot), usually after you've broken their shield at longer ranges. Also, as in all Halo games, the Energy Sword can trigger a lunge at a certain range. The Thruster Pack armor ability in ''Halo 4'' can also be used to suddenly close distance for a melee or shotgun attack, or to board a vehicle. And finally, the Flood creatures from the War Games Flood playlist possess significantly boosted Thruster Packs, higher base movement speeds, and blade-arms that act like Energy Swords, so deadly lunging is pretty much their baseline tactic.
** In earlier ''Halo'' games, lunging was commonly used by various Flood forms, and was basically all that [[PersonalSpaceInvader Infection Forms]] really did, to particularly lethal effect against unshielded enemies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Many cold-blooded animals do this, saving up energy in lieu of using it up by stalking prey; even reptiles as big as crocodiles pull off some impressive stunts. That their anatomy makes it harder to breathe while running doesn't let them keep it up for too long.
* Active swimming predators, such as tuna or several sharks, move at a consistent speed, but when needed, will do a sudden and extremely fast sprint. This can be seen in their meat: The muscles used to constant speed are small and dark, implying low power but high endurance, while the ones used for sprinting are clear and fill the whole of the section of the fish in several areas. Crocodiles pull something akin to this as well; most of their body is filled with white muscle.
* Most grappling martial arts, such as Sambo, Judo, and Wrestling, have techniques that basically consist of shooting in and taking you down. A common misconception (possibly due to the prevalence of [[MightyGlacier "big giant wrestlers"]] in video games) is that "shoots" are like slow football tackles that are easy to counter by, say, sidestepping or throwing up a knee. Those who subscribe to this belief usually find themselves taken down and ground-pounded.
* Fencing: Even a beginner with only basic footwork under his belt can attack from about six feet away in a half second. A good fencer who's practiced their lunge a lot can hit from 9 to 12 feet away in the same time. Straight, thin, light thrusting swords became the premier civilian weapon partly because of the speed of lunging attacks. We shouldn't forget [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleche_%28fencing%29 fleche]] attacks either, which can really freak out an unsuspecting opponent.
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