The lights flicker on and off. In the less-than-a-second of darkness, the character the camera was previously focused on has disappeared. After another flicker, he will reappear, closer to the POV camera/ other characters. Can be done repeatedly to great effect
if the camera doesn't move. Usually done by villains, though it can be done by an Anti-Hero wishing to scare some mooks.
Sometimes the "flicker" effect is achieved by the POV character's eyes closing, usually involuntarily.
Related to Offscreen Teleportation
- The 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street remake has Freddy doing this, except it's actually an inversion, as he appears when the eyes of the one watching him close, since they are drifting in and out of consciousness, and Freddy attacks in dreams.
- Doctor Who: This trope is used to good effect for the Weeping Angels, angelic statues that animate when no one's looking at them (or in darkness). So when the lights are flickering, you see their slow transformation into horrific monsters getting closer... and closer... and closer...
- One episode of Primeval features this, as Lester catches glimpses of a future predator bearing down on him in a hallway, under flickering ceiling lights.
- Part of Alma's box of tricks in the F.E.A.R. videogames.
- In Spec Ops: The Line, Walker fights a Heavy Trooper in a room full of statues. During the fight, both the trooper and the statues move around with each light flicker, though the game's ending implies this was likely due to Through the Eyes of Madness.
- Kirby on episode 7 of There Will Be Brawl.
- There's a Youtube video which involves a kitten doing this, approaching while the person filming looks away and being unmoving when the camera comes back.
- Sculpture, a fan tribute to SCP-173.
- There is a creepypasta involving the POV character seeing a figure far away, that gets closer when he blinks. The story ends with the figure just five feet away, with a big nasty grin on its face, and the POV character's eyes watering, trying desperately not to blink...
- A video on YouTube involves a boy playing a terrified game of peekaboo after bedtime with a clown doll...
- The Sylvester & Tweety cartoon "Greedy For Tweety" did this: Sylvester is in a hospital bed and can't move, having been given sleeping pills. Every time he opens and closes his eyes, the dog appears closer and closer, wielding a club. It's prime Nightmare Fuel.
- One particularly Nightmare Fuel-laden episode of The Powerpuff Girls had Bubbles having a nightmare in which her soft toys went from Uncanny Valley to Slasher Smiles and started to come closer every time she closed her eyes and whispered to herself "It's not real", only to open them and see them approaching and looming over her.