Follow TV Tropes


Drugs Causing Slow-Motion

Go To

"Makes the brain feel as if time is passing at one percent its normal speed."
Paramedic TJ, Dredd

Recreational drugs generally distort the user's senses and perception. In media and fiction, that can often be conveyed through the use of slow-motion video and effects, typically involving POV shots framing the user's loosened grip on reality, and accompanied with slowed-down, lower-frequency audio to match.

This is most frequently done to convey the effects of "downer" drugs, especially heavy depressants, including roofies or even tranquilizers, usually preceding a character blacking out with a Fade to Black moment and/or a Non Sequitur, *Thud*. However, this trope can also be observed with characters using stimulants or fantastic performance enhancers, as well, specifically in action settings where such drugs may suggest that a user is seemingly performing actions faster than the rest of the surrounding world can move.

The concept may also be used in tandem with Mushroom Samba or Marijuana Is LSD to provide an even more distorted point of view of highs on hallucinogenics.

A common inversion of this premise may feature a drugged character viewed from a neutral third-person perspective in real time with slowed, slurred speech and slower movement.

Subtrope of Impairment Shot and Artistic License – Pharmacology. Related to Intoxication Mechanic.


    open/close all folders 
    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Espada #8, Szayelaporro Granz, ultimately meets his fate in his battle against Mayuri by using his Resurrective Immortality to be reborn inside the body of Mayuri's lieutenant, Nemu. In doing so, he ends up ingesting the experimental Superhuman Drug that Mayuri had hidden inside of her body. His mental calculations sped up to such extremes that time slows down around him because his body couldn't react. Mayuri effortlessly pushes his sword into his face and kills him, but in those few seconds, Szayelapporo had perceived the passing of thousands of years just staring at a blade moving closer toward himself and into his body. He was begging for death to just take him by the end of the scene.
  • In the Cowboy Bebop episode "Asteroid Blues", a criminal uses a drug called "Red Eye" that literally gives him superhuman speed, allowing him to dodge bullets from point-blank range, and it is portrayed with everything moving in slow-motion.
  • In Rebuild World, there are performance-enhancing "accelerator" drugs that greatly speed up one's perception of time to the point that everything appears to be moving in slow-motion. As such, they can be used as a Super Serum to temporarily increase one's reaction speed to overwhelm an opponent. However, many of these drugs have severe side effects, forcing users to resort to them as a last resort, lest Heroic RRoD kick in at the worst possible time.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Basketball Diaries: A drug-induced Dream Sequence where Jim shoots up the school features him talking in slow-motion.
  • Dredd: The aptly-named Fantastic Drug Slo-Mo is reported to slow the user's perception of time to 1% its normal speed. The slow-motion effect of the drug is made a focal point in several action set pieces, especially near the end of the film when Dredd administers the drug to Ma-Ma before throwing her through a window from the top floor of the Peach Trees block, so she experiences the fall to her death in slow-motion.
  • Girls Trip: Dena buys some absinthe. The girls try some and experience a Mushroom Samba. We get to hear them giggle and chat in slowed, distorted voices.
  • Hounds of Love: After John and Evelyn roofie Vicky's drink, everything goes slow-motion as she tries to escape before finally collapsing.
  • Look Who's Talking: Mollie gets an epidural before delivering Mikey. He is shown in the womb being woozy, talking slower than usual, and being fascinated by his hand, which he watches while slowly moving it in front of his face.
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: After arriving in an alternate universe, both Stephen Strange and America Chavez are welcomed in by this universe's version of Mordo, who gives them some tea. However, it turns out that the tea was drugged so that he could imprison them. As they begin to succumb to the effects of the drug, everything slows down and the screen starts to wobble.
  • Old School: Everything becomes slow-motion when Frank shoots himself in the neck with a Tranquillizer Dart.
  • Red Notice: Voce wakes up in a stupor after being drugged and tries to shoot John and Nolan, who are both bound to a pole. Everything is slow-motion in his perspective.
  • Spy: Everything becomes slow-motion when Susan is drugged by Rayna.
  • True Lies: While Harry is under the effects of the truth serum, everything is slow and blurry when the camera cuts to his POV. When Helen talks to him, her voice sounds like a recording playing at half-speed.

  • In Russian Humour, this tends to be inverted with the stereotypical drug user being super slow. One joke has a zoo employing an addict to clean the tortoises' cage. They find him in an empty cage, complaining how they all rushed out once he cracked the door open.

  • Go Ask Alice: When the protagonist realizes that her cup has been spiked for a "game," she sees everything in slow-motion and hears voices in low frequency.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brass Eye: Invoked in the "Drugs" episode, which features a segment about a fictionalized drug dubbed "Cake" that is suggested as slowing the user's perception of time in this fashion. Noel Edmonds is tricked into reading a preposterous, parodic anti-drug script about Cake affecting a part of the brain dubbed "Shatner's Bassoon," which controls people's perception of time. Consequently, taking the drug causes a second to feel like a month. Edmonds concludes with a "sad story" about a young drug user who was hit by a bus because he thought he had a month to cross the street.
  • Get Smart: A scene in Season 2, Episode 13, "Perils in a Pet Shop," where Max and the KAOS agent shoot each other with Tranquillizer Darts that slow their responses and they end up fighting in slow-motion.
  • Limitless: NZT is a drug that augments a person's intelligence to superhuman levels, often resulting in users perceiving the world in slow-motion while they think up a solution to an imminent disaster.
  • Stranger Things: In Season 4, Joyce's vision slows and becomes blurry as she realizes the coffee Yuri gave her and Murray was drugged.
  • 1000 Ways to Die: Season 2 gives us the death segment, Micro-Whacked. Along with a combination of Drugs Are Bad, a junkie takes a big mix of drugs, and everything becomes slow for him. His music became slow, he’s a Motor Mouth on his phone, and his lava lamp was moving slow for him. So he put the lava lamp in the microwave to get it to move faster. The result, the lamp explodes in his face, and he dies from glass up his eyes and brain, and his face was scalded from the hot liquid.

    Music Videos 
  • Parodied at the end of "Great Day" by The Lonely Island. Dennis, high on coke, declares that everybody lives in The Matrix and everybody slows down in Bullet Time accordingly. Then it cuts back to a sober couple watching Dennis, who's just moving slowly for no reason.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, the chem Turbo slows down time to 1/3rd normal speed while keeping the player at full speed, allowing them to dodge attacks easily and attack much faster.
    • In Fallout 4, Jet now has a slowdown effect. Unlike Turbo, the player also slows down, but not nearly as much as everything else.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • In Grand Theft Auto III, the player can find "adrenaline pills" that briefly slow down time and give the player a form of "super strength" when they attack anyone while unarmed.
    • In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the player can find these same "adrenaline pills" imparting the same effect.
  • A variant in Metal Gear. Towards the end of the game, equipping the cigarettes slows down the timer when Outer Heaven initiates a self-destruct sequence.
  • In the Postal series, the Postal Dude can smoke catnip to briefly enter Bullet Time. The Quick Pillz in Brain Damaged fulfill a similar role.
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island: The music slows down and the background distorts and changes colors if Yoshi hits the puffballs in the level "Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy".
  • Velvet Assassin has morphine, which slows down time in a show of flower pedals while Violette is able to run past or up to an enemy. It lasts for either a few seconds or one knife kill. Once Violette wakes up from the coma, morphine is no longer usable.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In "Fight and Flight", Steve freaks out over getting his first failing grade. His friends try to help by giving him a massive dose of anxiety medication, but all this accomplishes is making him freak out incredibly slowly.
  • Looney Tunes: The Bugs Bunny cartoon "Water, Water Every Hare" has a Low-Speed Chase between Bugs and the evil scientist after a bottle of ether in the lab gets broken.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "Untamed World", Stimpy accidentally shoots Ren in his rear end with a Tranquillizer Dart. Ren starts speaking in slow-motion and the music slows down as well until Ren finally collapses.
  • A variation in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "I Was a Teenage Gary". Squidward accidentally injects SpongeBob with snail plasma that was meant to be administered to Gary, causing him to slowly transform into a snail. One of the effects is that SpongeBob's walking speed is exponentially slowed down to match Gary's.
    SpongeBob: Gary, you're getting a looot faaasteeer.


Video Example(s):


Big and Kenny Boy

After Big unknowingly drinks Kenny's psychedelic concoction, the pair trip in the woods.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / DrugsCausingSlowMotion

Media sources: