- A crooked police lieutenant to Jack Napier near Batman's beginning: "The future? You mean when you run the show? You ain't got no future, Jack!" (This culminates in an Ironic Echo at the factory, when Napier kills the lieutenant with a single shot.)
- Taken to ridiculous heights in Hot Shots!. One character, appropriately named "Dead Meat" Thompson receives a visit from his wife as he's preparing to fly a training mission, and what follows is an enormous list of things he has to live for, including his beautiful wife, that he's carrying his (unsigned) life insurance papers with him, and that he's figured out the real culprits in the Kennedy assassination but hasn't told anyone and has the evidence on him. No, he doesn't make it back home...
- He also breaks a mirror, walks under a ladder, and has a black cat cross his path. Also, his kids are scraping asbestos off the pipes back home, so it's apparently hereditary.
- Happens subtly in Full Metal Jacket. "I am f**king bored to death, man!" Not for long, you aren't.
- Babylon A.D.. The High Priestess of the Noelite sect is on the phone with Russian mob boss Gorsky.
High Priestess: Mr Gorsky, when I kill, I kill for good.
Gorsky: Are you threatening me?
High Priestess: Bless your soul.
Gorsky: You'll need a nuke to kill me!
(Gorsky's security system detects an incoming missile)
- Bullshot (1983). Absent-Minded Professor Fenton: "Oh you Scotland Yard chaps see spies behind every bush. What could possibly happen out here in the English countryside?" Cue dramatic music and Otto von Bruno and Fraulein Lenya smirking evilly behind the bushes. After they've successfully kidnapped the Professor, von Bruno boasts: "No-one can stop us now!" Cue dramatic music and the hero "Bullshot" Crummond, his Lantern Jaw of Justice defiantly out-thrust.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest:
- "Actually, you don't need everyone. About six of us will do. (Beat) Ohhh, dear..."
- "The bright side is, you're back and made it off free and clear!" (cue the Flying Dutchman bursting out of the sea literally right behind them)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: "How soon can we have the ship ready to pursue?" (cue one of the masts of said ship falling over)
- In the 1994 adaptation of The Little Rascals:
Alfalfa:(while running around in his underwear) Things can't possibly get any worse!'''
Alfalfa:Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfalfa!"'''
- Die Hard 2: The first person to be killed is the church custodian. Baker and Thompson, two of Colonel Stuart's men (disguised as airport maintenance workers) trick him into letting them into the church, and he starts musing about the current proposals to shutter the church. He says, "Yeah, I kinda feel like a piece of me is dying along with this church." Baker immediately says, "Well, you're right about that," then pulls out a pistol and shoots the custodian.
- In The Film of the Book of A Clockwork Orange, Alex is being interviewed while being fed by the widower of the woman he raped in front of him. During the interview, he says, "I get the feeling something bad is going to happen." Two seconds later, he's out like a light.
- In The Dark Knight, the Joker is shooting at an armored truck using handguns and a shotgun when someone on the inside remarks that he's going to need something a lot bigger to get through it. Cue the rocket launcher.
- Later in that same scene, the Joker's semi and the Batpod are playing chicken when Batman fires something. The Joker says, "He missed!" — except what Batman fired was a cable, which he uses to pull a snowspeeder and jackknife the truck into the air.
- Both Batman and the mob consistently treat The Joker like more of a nuisance than a true threat. This REALLY comes back to bite them in the ass later.
One man or the entire mob? He can wait. Maroni:
Some two-bit whackjob, wears a cheap purple suit and makeup. He's nobody
, he's not our problem....
- Though the rest of the cast are hardly innocent of this, Juno tempts fate at least five times in The Descent:
"Everything's going to be fine. Better — it's going to be great!"
"You want adventure Holly, when have I ever let you down? Tomorrow's going to be awesome."
"Relax, I've never been lost in my life!"
"We'll be fine."
"It's about us. Getting back to what we used to be."
- After Sarah becomes stuck in a tight cave tunnel, Beth tries to calm her down by essentially telling her that this is the worst thing that will happen to her, and everything will be alright after she calms down and works herself free. Things get MUCH worse.
- Particularly cruel of fate in this instance, as when Beth says "the worst thing that could've happened to you has already happened" it seems like she's referring to the brutal deaths of her husband and daughter. Fate looks at this poor woman and says "Nope. Better kill all of her friends too."
- Fantastic Four gives Reed Richards the line, "A few days in space, what's the worst that could happen?", sarcastically echoed by Ben after turning into The Thing.
- Forrest Gump:
Lt. Dan: Where's this god of yours now?
(narrating) It's funny Lt. Dan said that, 'cause right then, God showed up.
- Two perfect examples played straight in Hellboy:
Hellboy: We'll be OK so long as we don't separate.
(cue huge spiked walls rising from the ground separating the group into teams)
Hellboy: I'll be fine. Hey, how big could it be?
(cue corridor-sized tentacles reaching around to grab Hellboy and pull him into the fray)
- King Kong (2005): "Don't be alarmed, ladies and gentlemen. Those chains are made of chrome steel!"
- Sarah tells the Goblin King that his Labyrinth is "a piece of cake." The results are unfortunate.
- "It's not fair!" also means something has gone awry. Jareth even lampshades it at one point: "You say that so often. I wonder what your basis for comparison is."
- While passing through the goblin city Sarah says "I think we're gonna make it" and Hoggle replies "Piece of cake". The goblins immediately appear and attack.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Aragorn asks the Pirates to turn back. Their response: "Ha! and whose army?" Cue the Undead Army's arrival.
- "No man can kill the Nazgûl" Sorry dude, that's a woman and a hobbit.
- "Not by the hand of man shall he fall." Oh, that makes him sooo much safer. They only left out, let's see, women, children, hobbits, elves, wizards, An ear infection, giant eagles, Ents, Sauron, other Nazgûl, dragons...in short, many, many things that are more likely to kill him than a puny man and a few that aren't.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: The Battle of Helm's Deep is going well, initially, and King Théoden asks, "Is this it? Is this all you can conjure, Saruman?" The Uruk-Hai then suicide-bomb the Deeping Wall (in a world which has never seen explosives before), and Théoden gets an Oh, Crap moment.
- Théoden also did this before the battle when he said, "No army has ever breached the deeping wall or set foot inside the Hornburg."
- Right before that, from Gríma Wormtongue, after Saruman acknowledged that they need tens of thousands of Uruk-Hais : "But my Lord, there is no such force !". Cue the CGI force.
- Lampshaded in The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004). Ranger Brad gets killed moments after warning everyone about the horribly mutilated farmer that had been found earlier.
Ranger Brad: Say, I must be crazy walking around in these woods at night with a horrible mutilation practically around the corner. Oh well.
- In MouseHunt, after the auction ends disastrously, Nathan Lane tries to reassure the auction goers by saying "This house will last forever!" Just after he says that, the house collapses indignantly.
- The Mummy Trilogy:
- Pearl Harbor. A Japanese bomb lands next to a sailor and doesn't go off. Not realising the tiny spinning propeller at the back of the bomb is the fuse, he shouts "It's a dud... IT'S A DUD!" KA-BOOOOM!
- In The Princess Bride, Westley and Buttercup are discussing the final dangers of the fire swamp:
Buttercup: (while in the Fire Swamp) Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.'s?
Westley: Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist... (Westley is attacked by a R.O.U.S.)
- To be fair, Wesley had already seen the R.O.U.S.'s, he was just trying to make sure Buttercup didn't freak out.
- In the Cold War Alternate History movie Red Dawn (1984), Soviet paratroopers have just landed in an American town. We see a bumper sticker saying "THEY CAN HAVE MY GUN WHEN THEY PRY IT FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!" The camera then moves down to the owner of the car lying dead with a Colt .45 in his hands, which is then souvenired by an enemy paratrooper.
- Star Trek (2009): Scotty says he's going to beam Kirk and Spock into what he thinks is a cargo hold "where there shouldn't be anyone around". It's no surprise at all when they materialize in the midst of a control room full of armed Romulans.
- Tremors: Earl and Valentine have resisted temptation (free beer) and left Perfection, Nevada for a new life. As they're driving along Valentine says, "Now there's nothing, and I mean nothing, between us and Bixby!" Seconds later, they see Edgar Deems high up on a power pylon. They stop to help him, and later events force them into a battle to the death against the Graboids.
- Young Frankenstein:
(Froederick and Igor are exhuming a dead criminal) Dr. Frederick Frankenstein:
What a filthy job. Igor:
Could be worse. Dr. Frederick Frankenstein:
Could be raining. (it starts to pour)
- James Bond villains do it sometimes.
- American version of Godzilla (1998):
Nick: That's it, only three of them?
Roache: No, there's more. (showing more eggs in vicinity)
Nick: Only 20? I think it's much more than this.
(soldiers light the stadium)
Roache: Start counting.
- An iconic example from Star Wars:
Leia: It could be worse.
Han: It's worse.
- Caddyshack: During his Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game in the middle of a rainstorm, Bishop Pickering says to his caddy, Carl, "The Good Lord would never disrupt the best game of my life. I'm infallible, young fella!"
- Also, from the mouth of Judge Smails: "Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, sir, and I never slice!" Well, there's a first time for everything...
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show: "It's all right, Janet. Everything's going to be all right." Then, things get worse for Asshole and Slut.
- "I'm here! There's nothing to worry about!" Cue Tim Curry.
- Lampshaded thoroughly in the first few minutes of Walk Hard:
Nate: There's nothing I won't do with this long, long life of mine... That's what's great about being young. So much time to do great things.
Dewey: You know how mad Pa gets when we play with his machetes.
Nate: Come on. There's nothing wrong with a little machete-fighting.
- The machete fight was after they played catch with live snakes and jousted on tractors.
- Back to the Future Part II: The future has been saved, and Doc is trying to land the DeLorean during a very heavy lightning storm. Marty warns him to be careful: "You don't want to get struck by..." Guess what happens next.
- Return of the Living Dead:
These things don't leak, do they? Frank:
Leah? Hell no! These things were made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers! (slaps tank, which instantly leaks) Freddy: Oh, fuck!
- A pretty blatant example occurs in Battlefield Baseball. The Gedo coach wonders out loud, while looking around, if there is a Worthy Opponent that was brave enough to assault his headquarters. Cue Jubeh, arriving at the scene with an explosion, followed by The Cavalry to do exactly that.
- The first Resident Evil. Right after entering the code to open a door, J.D. says "See how easy that was?" Seconds later he's dragged to his death by zombies behind the door.
- The raptors in Jurassic Park are contained, right? "Unless they figure out how to open doors." Guess what happens. Taken to ridiculous extremes in the Rifftrax.
- Ministry of Fear (1944), the Film Noir spy movie by Fritz Lang. The Nazi spy says "You wouldn't shoot your own brother" to his sister as he escapes out the door. There's the crack of a shot and a hole appears in the door; moments later his dead body tumbles through.
- The Great Race. While Max and Professor Fate are on a small iceberg, Max thinks there may be a storm.
Professor Fate: You thimble-headed gherkin, do you realize the odds against a storm in this part of the ocean at this time of year? 100-to-1.
(thunder, immediately starts to rain)
- Our Man Flint
Lloyd Cramden: We've just had our first break. According to this dispatch I just received, our team of agents has them cornered! At any second... (gets another message) It was a trap. We just lost another team of agents.
- The Golden Child. When Jarrell is taking the test to obtain the Dagger he says, "This is a piece of cake!" Not long after that he almost falls to his death and a rope bridge explodes.
- Ocean's Twelve: Tess has to bail out most of the cast by impersonating her own actress. Matt Damon's character tries to reassure her that no-one she's going to run into actually knows Julia Roberts, and the last thing anyone will be is personal. In walks Bruce Willis, As Himself. Their reactions are priceless.
- In the rather bad action movie Titanic II someone had the brilliant idea to name a ship Titanic and set it on the same route as the original. Things get worse not too long after.
- Danny the Dog:
- Bob Hoskins delivers the line "I tell you: this is gonna be one lovely day," just before his car gets T-boned by a garbage truck and then riddled with bullets.
- And at the end of the movie, he gives us the second instance of this trope when he has his nice car parked in an alley during the final battle, saying "This will keep her out of harm's way." Guess what happens.
- Lampshaded, like so many other horror movie tropes, in Scream (1996).
Randy: Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, say "I'll be right back." 'Cause you won't be back.
Stu: I'm gettin' another beer, you want one?
Randy: Yeah, sure.
Stu: I'll be right back!
Randy: You see, you push the laws, and you end up dead, okay? I'll see you in the kitchen with a knife.
- Mystery Team: "He is NOT a murderer!"
- This trope is featured prominently in the short film from the Nestle Philippines Anthology entitled Sign Seeker, where the protagonist spends the entire morning tempting fate, looking for specific "Signs" from the universe to signal to him if today is the day he will ask the girl he likes if she would like to go on a date with him. This is one of the rare, positive examples of this trope: it plays the trope straight and is still funny while NOT making the person who is tempting fate miserable in the process.
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra offers a classic example of an enemy who appears to be retreating, but is actually just getting out of the way of something worse. At the climax of the rather lengthy Paris chase scene, Snake Eyes abruptly lets go of the Cobra operatives' car after hanging on to it for the entire chase.
Baroness: He gave up!
Storm Shadow: He never gives up.
WHAM! [their car gets brutally T-boned by an oncoming train]
- From the first Harry Potter movie: Harry's abusive uncle claims that, because it's Sunday, they're not going to have to deal with any letters. Cue several owls swarming the house and filling it with letters.
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Grandpa Joe and Charlie are in the Fizzy Lifting Drink room. Grandpa Joe says "A swallow won't hurt us!" After they each take a swallow, they float into the air — and almost get chopped to pieces by a huge exhaust fan in the ceiling, barely managing to escape. Laser-Guided Karma kicks in when it's revealed at the end that the only reason they get a happy ending is because even after he learns he's been disqualified from a promised prize for rule-breaking (as the other kids were in addition to suffering strange fates for such), since he stole the drinks, Charlie still refuses to give Arthur Slugworth, ostensibly a rival confectioner, a sample of the Everlasting Gobstopper. As it turns out, Slugworth is actually a Wonka employee used for this Secret Test Of Character.
- Cyberdyne in the original universe of The Terminator (before the T-800, Sarah, John, and an employee of the company terminated the company with extreme prejudice in a well-intentioned yet failed attempt at preventing The End of the World as We Know It) found out the hard way that naming your supercomputer "Skynet" is just as taboo as naming your ship "Titanic".
- Zombi 3D has the Genre Blind General Morton, with the help of Coleman and Cheney, burn a corpse infected with the Death One virus despite the environmental hazard warnings of Dr. Holder and his assistant, brushing off their concerns with the cheesy one-liner "That's ridiculous, pure Science Fiction!" Actually, he is a character in a Science Fiction movie, and yet, he consistently denies it a total of three times within the movie.
- DEBS. While the protagonists are investigating a bank vault, Amy says "See? That wasn't so hard." Then a Trap Door opens under her, sending her down a secret underground slide.
- In Paul, the statement "I doubt we'll ever see those guys again!" just ensures that 'those guys' show up at a random bar to delay our heroes as the feds are closing in. They also give one of the agents final confirmation that they're really chasing an alien.
- This short film: "These guys stink! I can take them on all by myself!"
- Played with in the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy and his Peruvian guide are at a temple chamber containing an ancient idol.
Satipo: There is nothing to fear here.
Indy: That's what scares me.
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy and his father are spying on the Nazi villains from a nearby ridge. After they notice that the Nazis have recently acquired a tank, Indy's father warns him to get behind cover before the Nazis spot him. Indy's response: "Dad, we're well out of range." Seconds later, a shot from the tank blows up the Jones's car parked a few feet away.
- Dr. Elsa Schneider's exclamation of "We have got it, come on! It's ours Indy, yours and mine!" as she obliviously crossed the Great Seal with the Holy Grail definitely counts as Tempting Fate. Surprisingly, she received a second chance when Indiana caught her before she fell into one of the cracks in the earth from the earthquake she started up. However, she pushed her luck too far when she tried reaching for the grail instead, causing her hand to slip from Indiana's grip.
- In the PC adventure game, Elsa is more direct in stating that she doesn't believe the Knight's warning about leaving with the grail. She says, "But Indy, the Grail, it can be ours!" After his continued warnings about the seal, she says, "No! I don't believe it! I won't lose it now!" If you don't take the grail first, she tries to leave with it and slips into the abyss she created after crossing the seal.
- One of the best exchanges from Men In Black: a bad-tempered farmer named Edgar is investigating the flying saucer that just crash-landed on his pickup truck. As he peers into the smoking crater where the truck used to be, shotgun in hand, the unseen (by the audience) alien orders:
Alien: Place... projectile weapon ... on the ground.
Edgar: You can have my gun *racks shotgun* when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
Alien: Your proposal ... is ... acceptable. *eats him*
- In Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, Wayne and Gordon land in a bowl of dip and Gordon worries about getting eaten during a party going on in the house. Wayne assures him that "They're teenage girls, how much can they eat?". Guess what happens next.
- In an early scene in The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent makes the statement that "you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Any viewer who's familiar with the Batman franchise already knows which of those two possibilities awaits in Dent's own future.
- In Juan of the Dead, the protagonist and his band of freelance zombie-killers find themselves backed into a room by a swarm of the dead. Someone is stupid enough to ask "How can this be worse!?" which of course causes the lights to go out. Juan is understandably annoyed with the speaker.
- In Dogma, Azrael and his Quirky Mini Boss Squad has cornered Bethany, Jay, Silent Bob, Rufus and Serendipity in a bar and are planning to kill them. Silent Bob has the golf club he swiped from the bishop of the church they were at and, not thinking of it, Azrael tempts Silent Bob into hitting him with it, telling everyone "Please! I'm a fucking demon.". Silent Bob shrugs, winds up... and smashes in Azrael's chest in. Looking down at the gaping hole in his chest, he can only croak out "But...I'm a fucking demon..." before dying. Turns out the bishop blessed the driver so he can have a better golf game.
- Earlier in the movie, Bethany gives up after Jay destroys her car's transmission and plans to walk back home. As Jay's yelling at her, he shouts out "Guys like us don't fall out of the fucking sky, y'know?!". A few seconds later, Rufus makes his entrance... falling out of the sky. Jay tries for two for two ("Beautiful, big-tittied women don't fall out of the sky!") but it doesn't work.
- At the end of Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies, the casino owner can't believe that hundreds of people just dropped dead in his establishment (the Djinn claimed their souls), causing him to say "What's next?! Frogs and locusts?!". Guess what the Djinn conjures up when the owner inadvertently makes a wish.
- In Iron Man Pepper comments that she expected Obadiah's suit (actually Tony's recovered MK I) to be bigger. Oh, how right she was.
- In Star Trek Into Darkness, Harrison taunts Spock by noting "You wouldn't break a rule, how could you break a bone?" This comes back to bite Harrison in the climactic fight, when a grief-stricken Spock breaks Harrison's arm.
Not to tempt fate or anything, but where is everybody? *cue several Mooks
- In the opening, when Spock starts to chew Kirk out for saving him at the expense of violating the Prime Directive and showing themselves to the natives, Kirk brushes him off with a flippant, "What's the worst that could happen?" Cut to the natives, who were earlier praying to the erupting volcano, bowing before an abstracted sketch of the Enterprise—their new God. Made even more amusing by the sacred scroll depicting the volcano that Kirk stole simply getting dropped to the ground and ignored by the native who was holding it.
- Pacific Rim: One of the videos on the Pan Pacific Defense Corps page is a news report on a Kaiju attack ending with the reporter saying, "I can only pray that this is the end of it".
- The Chronicles of Riddick: "So you're gonna kill us with your soup cup?"
- Water (1985). British government mouthpiece Sir Malcolm Leveridge is giving a TV interview.
Sir Malcolm: This is a localized incident that you people are blowing out of all proportion. Under British rule this island has always been a model of civility, common sense, and tranquility. (RPG-7 rocket blows up a building behind him)
- Hunger Games "It's all right Prim, your names only in there once. You're not going to get picked."
- In Godzilla (2014), Ford Brody comes home after months of military service but quickly has to leave when he learns his father in Japan has been arrested. He's annoyed with having to leave his family so soon, but Elle assures him the trip will just be a few days. "It's not the end of the world." What subtle foreshadowing.
- Taslima in Escape from L.A. remarks that L.A. is "not so bad once you figure it out." She is fatally shot as she finishes the sentence.
- Thor: The Warriors Three and Sif discussing what to do after Loki takes the throne. Hogun suggests they go and find Thor, Volstagg gets very nervous because that would be a betrayal.
Volstagg: "Sssh! Heimdall might be watching!"
Guard: [enters the room] "Heimdall demands your presence!" [leaves the room]
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
- While Butch and Sundance are acting as payroll guards, their employer tries to reassure them about the threat from bandits.
Percy Garris: About a half hour more, and we can start to worry, as soon as we get to that pass up there. We'll be all right till then. [snip] You got to relax, you fellas. You got to get used to Bolivian ways. You got to go easy. [snip] [shots ring out and he falls dead].
- Earlier in the movie, Butch and Sundance were pursued by a posse led by the lawman Joe LeFors. After traveling to Bolivia, at the end of the film they are trapped in a room by some police officers. Little do they know that a Bolivian Army detachment has arrived outside and is ready to riddle them with bullets.
Butch: Hey, wait a minute.
Butch: You didn't see LeFors out there, did you?
Sundance: LeFors? No.
Butch: Oh, good. For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble. [They charge outside]
Bolivian Army officer: Fuego! (Fire!) [gunfire] Fuego! [gunfire] Fuego! [gunfire].
- In the opening of Camp Rock 2, the protagonist sings about how much she's anticipating the holidays. The words 'drama-free' are tossed around. And then the plot kicks in...