I'm alive... I'm dead. I'm so dead!
A character is in grave peril, perhaps running away from the Monster of the Week
, or just happening to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when Phlebotinum Breakdown
He or she takes refuge in a vehicle or closed room of some sort and breathes a sigh of relief.
And that's when the Ominous Crack occurs. This indicates that the windshield or wall is about to give, cruelly destroying the character's false sense of security.
Cue suspense-filled sequence as the cracks slowly spread through the glass and/or oh-crap-I'm-screwed
line. A similar fate can occur when a character is standing on ice or some other ground that cannot support the character's weight.
Not to be confused with that thing you see when Joe the local plumber bends over to fix your sink.
Anime and Manga
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- A villain in Rune Soldier Louie got to experience this when Louie and company punch away at a magic force field. The villain mocks them for trying to break his impenetrable field with such direct methods... then the first crack forms...
- One scene in The Lost World: Jurassic Park had a woman lying on the windshield of a dangling vehicle as cracks slowly spread through it, and another character tried to get to her before she fell through and down a cliff.
- Minor variant in Titanic with the final fate of Captain Smith, as it's a safe bet that he went to the bridge knowing he'd die there. The sound of the glass buckling still invokes the same reaction, though.
- In The Day After Tomorrow, three men are walking from Washington, D.C., to New York during a freak snowstorm that has covered everything a meter deep in snow. They are walking across the landscape when one of them hears cracking, and realizes they've been walking across the glass roof of a shopping center. This causes a dilemma because one of them must cut his rope loose and plummet 40 feet to the ground, or all of them will die.
- An older movie, the name escapes: it had to do with a submarine that was stuck. One of the people took a small sub away and was trying to get to the surface (there was a lot of ice between him and the surface so he was puttering along, trying to find a gap or break). When the oxygen starts running low, befuddling him. Then, water starts to form and drip from the window, leaving the guy confused. Then, the window starts to crack as the pressure builds up (seems he was going DEEPER as he stayed under the ice). After a few minutes of him starting at the cracks in amazement, *crunch*, extra-in-a-can.
- The final fate of Lt. Coffey in The Abyss.
- In I Am Legend, Dr. Neville and his two companions are trapped in his glass-encased lab in his basement while a horde of ghouls are attacking. The lead ghoul keeps pounding away at the glass (with his face) to get to him.
- Subverted in the Doom movie. Goat, the team religious fanatic, tries to bash through the glass to get to the survivors. Not only does the glass hold, but the characters later realize that he wasn't trying to break through. He was trying to kill himself.
- The movie Jumanji had the heroes take refuge from a mosquito (it had a four inch long needle, was the size of a pigeon, and was carrying a deadly and unknown disease) in a car. It starts tapping on the windshield with no effect prompting one of the protagonist to say, "See he can't break through the glass." This is followed by a large crack as the mosquito tries again.
- The opening title sequence of Alien³ shows Ripley and the other survivors of the second film safely in their enclosed glass hypersleep capsules. Followed by a shot of empty alien eggs. Followed by an Ominous Crack.
- Deep Blue Sea: Shortly after the extraction of brain tissue from one of the genetically engineered mako sharks, Dr. Whitlock is attacked by the supposedly sedated animal and has to be rushed to the surface. During the chaos that ensues, Whitlock's stretcher is dropped into the water by the crashing rescue helicopter and one of the sharks throws it against the laboratory's observation window, resulting in an Ominous Crack.
- In Force 10 From Navarone, Harrison Ford and Robert Shaw realize that they need to blow the dam they are in without enough time to escape. They set the charges for 30-seconds and slowly start walking back down the tunnel, casually thanking each other for their efforts. When they survive the explosion, they are pissed at the munitions expert from their group. As they start heading out (with some German worker coming down), they hear the stress and cracking happening around them. They rush out, yelling to the workers that they should leave as well.
- Star Trek Into Darkness has one when Khan and Kirk take spacesuits to sneak aboard the Vengeance through an Asteroid Thicket, a tiny pebble fractures Kirk's HUD, forcing him to navigate the field unassisted and finding a tiny airlock from miles away.
- In Poseidon, creeping cracks in the glass and small leaks around the edges precede the total collapse of the ballroom's windows and the drowning of everyone who opted to stay behind.
- In the 2006 remake of The Omen, a huge silverback gorilla reacts violently to young Damien's presence, slamming into the glass of its zoo enclosure and leaving increasingly-large cracks with each impact. It doesn't (quite) break through.
- Stargate Atlantis has done this twice to the same character, probably because his Oh Crap expression is so funny.
- In "Grace Under Pressure", Rodney and Lieutenant Red Shirt crash a puddle-jumper into the ocean on a test flight. They look out at the water in wonder and then - surprise! - Ominous Crack. Redshirt manages to push Rodney into the other section of the jumper before the cabin floods.
- In "The Ark", Rodney is stuck somewhere in the space station looking out at space. He starts panicking when he spots a piece of equipment hurtling toward the glass from outside. It hits... and nothing happens. Rodney's relief quickly turns into terror as the glass starts to crack. He only just gets into his space suit in time.
- The submarine scene in Stargate SG-1 episode "Watergate". The glass did break, but the cabin didn't flood.
- A couple of villains in an episode of Firefly get to experience this when Jayne puts a couple of high-caliber rounds into their window. The window between them and hard vacuum, that is.
- In the two part episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation "Grave Danger" Nick Stokes is buried in a glass coffin. He is forced to shoot out a light in there (as the villain wired it to a light controlled by the rest of the team via a webcam, and when its on it disables the air pump). This causes cracks to develop and fire ants to come crawling in.
- Subverted in that, although the Ominous Crack preceded the invasion of nasty, nasty fire ants, their presence alerted Gil to a vital clue that led him straight to Nick's location.
- Different sort of crack, but the 'cracks in time' from Doctor Who are definitely a bad sign when they start turning up. They can consume people and things, and when they do, they cease to have ever existed.
- In The Wedding of River Song these start appearing in the Silence's containment tanks when it becomes clear that they aren't safely captured.
- Super Mario Sunshine has one in an early level, when Mario jumps onto the top of a windmill where Petey Piranha is. The roof begins to crack, causing Mario and Petey to have a synchronized Oh Crap moment.
- Lampshaded on Futurama: in the episode The Deep South as the Planet Express Ship ship sunks to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, an Ominous Crack is heard, sparking the following line from a distraught Bender: "What's that? Is someone bending girders...?"