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Impairment Shot

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Feeling a little tipsy there, Jensen?

"Why is it that whenever they knock out the main character, they have to knock out the cameraman as well?"
Graham Stark, Unskippable

This is a camera trick or editing trick used to indicate that the character whose POV we are seeing is drugged, poisoned, sick, injured, or otherwise incapacitated and is about to faint... or die. Frequently this shot precedes a Fade to Black that indicates the character has lost consciousness or an Iris Out as "everything goes black." Certain sound effects may enhance the effect: we hear the impaired character's heavy, labored breathing, for example, or his pounding heartbeat. Sounds may echo as the character gets closer to unconsciousness. Wavering horns, woodwinds, and/or strings can further simulate disorientation or drowsiness.

A subtrope of P.O.V. Cam. Common variations include:

  • The eye shaped shot that finally goes black as the character slides out of the waking world. Which is then reversed later when the POV character comes to again.
  • The shot wobbles wildly, then falls to the floor as the character gets dizzy and falls over.
  • The shot goes in and out of focus before losing focus entirely.
  • Seeing double (or more): A concerned person asks "How many fingers am I holding up?" and the injured person answers in a number larger than the one the person's actually holding up.
  • Everything in view is circling before them in multiple overlapping images.
  • If the person took LSD, recreating their psychedelic experience by depicting shimmering lights and swirling kaleidoscopic patterns.
  • Using Jitter Cam, other odd or unusual camera movements and/or edit-cuts, or colored filters to produce a disorienting effect.
  • In the case of a Mechanical Lifeform, the tactical display may fuzz, wobble, blink, or otherwise fritz out before it diminishes to a single dot like an old cathode ray tube TV screen.
  • The world around the person suddenly moving in slow motion and people's voices are slowed down.
  • Video Games may use any of the above, sometimes combined with an Interface Screw, to indicate Status Effects or as part of a scripted event to show that the player is severely injured, intoxicated, drugged, concussed, etc.

A method of Painting the Medium. May involve Visual Compression.

Compare Fever Dream Episode.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Volume 9 of Case Closed, Ran was nearly drowned after being drugged. She assumed that her savior was Shinichi (It was him, as Conan, before the whole Improbable Antidote incident). This also occurs whenever anyone in the anime goes back and forth when they were being shrunk by Apotoxin or going back with Baigar. with funky colors and blurred outlines. The manga has a negative version of the outlines and is either black or white, besides when Shinichi first became Conan.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003): "Body of the Sanctioned" — Ed gets the eye-shaped shot, looking at Al, just before he loses consciousness and wakes in the clutches of the Prophet.
  • Inuyasha: When the team ventures through a fog that causes intoxication, Miroku manages to resist it long enough until his vision starts to blur.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Josuke and Okuyasu give chase to Shigechi who stole their 5 million yen redeemer. After cornering him, the two suddenly receive dazed vision when Shigechi uses Harvest to inject alcohol into their bodies.
  • Naruto does a manga version of this at one point, to indicate the extent to which Itachi is going blind. The target of his focus is little more than a darkened blur.
  • One episode of Tamagotchi is about Ginjrotchi doing a twirling dance and impressing a bunch of Tamagotchis. The crowd wants to see him do the dance so badly that he tires himself out, and a shot from his point of view shows said crowd blurry from him being so tired.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Match of the Millennium - When Yugi's trying to concentrate just long enough to draw a card while the pressure of the shadow game overwhelms him.
  • Subverted in Zombie Land Saga Revenge when Sakuru notices her vision is off upon waking up and concerns something is affecting her as a zombie. Only it turns out the house was waving around after being blown out to the ocean.

    Asian Animation 
  • Lele gets two in Season 7 episode 39 of Happy Heroes, both showing that the chocolate he's eaten has made his vision wavy.

    Comic Books 
  • Button Man: After Harry is tricked into drinking a beverage laced with hallucinogens, the art style becomes very blurry to reflect his intoxication.
  • Robin (1993):
    • During Batman: No Man's Land, when Tim gets some scrapes and bites from rats, infected things get a brighter and distorted for him for a while when he's waiting for his meds to kick in.
    • When Uriah knocks Tim out with magic and again as Klarion the Witch Boy helps him come to, they both appear distorted.
  • In Runaways, one arc has Klara receive a serious head injury that knocks her out. When she comes to, we are treated to a distorted, flaming Karolina attempting to approach her to administer a Cooldown Hug.
  • In The Sandman (1989), one scene has Thessaly woken up by Dream late at night. Without her glasses on, he initially appears as a vague black blur.
  • Tintin: The Castafiore Emerald has a very blurry panel showing characters' reactions after viewing a very buggy color television broadcast.

    Film — Animated 
  • In 9, 1 gets a blink-awake moment (but with a round eye, since he's a stitchpunk) when he wakes up and sees 2, dead on the floor after 7 disconnected his body from the Seamstress's tail.
  • In Bambi, this happens to Friend Owl when Bambi rubs his antlers against a tree he is sitting on, causing him to see multiple Bambis.
    Friend Owl: Get out of here, all of ya! (his vision sharpens so he only sees one Bambi) And you, too!
  • Used to set up a Mythology Gag in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders — a woozy Batman sees triple images of Catwoman resembling a lineup of the three actresses (Lee Meriweather, Julie Newmar, and Eartha Kitt) who played the character in the 1960s series.
  • In The Brave Little Toaster, Kirby's POV blinks open and gains focus as he wakes up after his freak-out by the waterfall.
  • Similarly used in Corpse Bride when Victor runs into a tree.
  • Played for Drama in Finding Dory, when Dory goes into shock when she thinks her parents are dead.
  • In The Good Dinosaur, this happens when Arlo gets swept away from home by rushing rapids and his vision and consciousness were taken out after hitting his head on a stone.
  • Hercules has the "How Many Fingers? do you see" bit, only it's how many horns Phil has. Herc answers six.
  • In The Incredibles, we get one from Mr. Incredible's POV: Mirage walks in on him as his vision and consciousness are taken out by the squishy black things that hit him upon setting off Syndrome's intruder alert.
  • Happens after the avalanche in Mulan, when the wound she received from Shan Yu earlier finally catches up to her. Her vision blurs and darkens as she loses consciousness.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, this trope is used after Jack runs face-first into a candy-cane-striped pole.
  • The title character in Pinocchio gets sick from too much cigar smoke while playing pool and sees the 8-ball all wavy and out of focus. It even seems to wink at him.
  • In Quest for Camelot, this happens in Garrett's backstory, where he a young stable boy. When he rescues the horses from the burning stables, one of them accidentally struck his eyes with its front hooves. From his POV, we see his vision going blurry and then it blackens completely.
  • The eye-shaped blink shot is used in Disney's Ratatouille as Remy attempts to wake a sleeping Linguini.
  • In Turning Red, there is a brief one as Mei wakes up from her nightmare that involves Eye Cam, and circling, out of focus, double images.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In 68 Kill, Monica and her gang binge on drugs and alcohol while they torture Chip preparatory to killing him. The binge is seen through Chip's bleary eyes as he passes in and out of consciousness.
  • ...And Your Name Is Jonah has an auditory version. In shots from the deaf Jonah's perspective, all sounds are muffled and distorted.
  • Used in the 1956 version of Around the World in 80 Days (1956), after Passepartout has been drugged with opium.
  • The Beast with Five Fingers: Just before Francis takes his fatal Staircase Tumble, his vision is shown blurring and swimming; meaning that he does not realise how close to the top of the stairs he is.
  • The Big Cube: If a character is tripping on LSD, shots from their perspective usually involve lots of rapid cuts and moving colors and lights.
  • Cloud Atlas: From the POV of a man who is being poisoned.
  • The Covenant does a blink-awake when Caleb hits his head on the edge of the lap pool and nearly drowns.
  • In The Cranes Are Flying, the trees spin around Boris as he staggers and falls after being shot.
  • When Corporal Mitchell gets really drunk in Crossfire, other characters are shown in double vision, and the film image swims around and blurs.
  • In Daylight (2013), a flickering image and static noises are used to show Ray's feelings of Sensory Overload.
  • Norwegian zombie flick Dead Snow (Originally Død Snø) features one of the victims waking up as the zombies are ripping out her intestines.
  • When Finch receives a Tap on the Head from Billy in Diamonds on Wheels, there is a blurry shot of Billy making his escape before Finch finally passes out.
  • Several, both from the P.O.V. Cam and external in Face/Off mostly as Castor!Archer tries to keep his Sanity Slippage from wearing his enemy's face from overwhelming him.
  • In the Roger Corman The Fantastic Four, we see a point-of-view shot of Alicia being chloroformed. The fact that the character is BLIND appears to not have mattered to the filmmakers.
  • Flash Gordon: Flash gets an inverted one — his vision going from blurred to clear as Zarkov throws him a football in Ming's court.
  • Forty Guns: A shot from Chisolm's POV as he attempts to sneak out of town shows the audience exactly how bad his eyesight really is.
  • In David Fincher's The Game (1997), where Michael Douglas' character has been poisoned and is about to pass out, there's a shot just before he hits the ground that goes completely nutty, the camera shakes and the screen blurs with a yellow overexposed effect.
  • The Giant (2016): Rikard's right eye is covered with flesh due to his deformities, and his left eye has bad eyesight. In shots from his perspective, the image is round and blurry.
  • In Godzilla vs. Gigan, we get a shot from Godzilla's POV as he fades in and out of consciousness after taking a beating.
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
    • After Marv is struck in the head by a brick, he sees triple. Harry does the "how many fingers" routine, but Marv can't count to six.
      Harry: "How many fingers am I holdin' up, Marv?"
      Marv: "Hm-hmmmm, eight."
    • When Kevin slips on the ice, he hits his head hard enough for his vision to blur, and the camera spins for effect. By the time his head clears, he's in the clutches of the bandits.
      Marv: My, how the tables have turned.
      Harry: How do you like the ice, kid?
  • In The Hunger Games, the camera takes on Katniss's perspective many times as she runs through the woods. One scene has the camera swaying in and out of focus to represent Katniss hallucinating.
  • James Bond movies usually start with the POV of a random mook, dying by bullet shot, the screen being covered in red filter (blood).
    • Bond himself gets poisoned in The Living Daylights, and the camera collapses to the floor and goes all blurry just as The Dragon marches in.
    • Twice in No Time to Die, Bond is stunned by an explosion. For several seconds, the audience experiences what he does—distorted vision, hearing, and balance.
  • A fairly early example in The Last Laugh (1924), when the hero wakes up hung over after a wedding party and all faces he sees are blurred and distorted.
  • Mandy (1952) has a similar example. Shots from the titular deaf girl's perspective are silent.
  • Trunchbull's Humiliation Conga in Matilda ends with her seeing double from being spun on a globe.
  • Anderton's eye replacement surgery in Minority Report features badly blurred and staggery POV shots, as he tries to navigate blindly around an unfamiliar room in a back-alley surgeon's quarters.
  • When Billy from Most Likely to Murder (2018) is drunk, everything is blurred and the lights look like rainbows.
  • In North By Northwest, Cary Grant's character is force-fed a bottle of whiskey and put behind the wheel of a car - as he makes a getaway we see the road from his seeing-double perspective, curving and going straight at the same time.
  • Happens twice in Notorious:
    • The first is early in the film. Alicia wakes up from a hangover to see a Dutch Angle shot of Grant, tilted sideways as he stands in the doorway. Then, as Grant approaches the bed, the camera turns until he is upside down.
    • The second is towards the end. Alicia, realizing that she is being poisoned, stands up and attempts to flee.
  • In Once Upon a Time in Mexico, things move in and out of focus after Sands wakes up from being drugged, just before he's blinded.
  • The entire opening shot of Point of No Return is blurred, out of focus, replicant, any or all of these back and forth to indicate the appearance of the world to the four drugged out derelicts robbing a pharmacy.
  • Used in Léon when Léon is walking out of the apartment building at the end and Stansfield shoots him in the back.
  • In RoboCop (1987), right after Murphy is brought back to life, his vision is initially badly pixellated and staticky, which gradually improves as technicians screw various systems into place. A similar Interface Screw happens when Directive 4 kicks in.
  • In Rush (2013), we already know that Niki Lauda is severely injured, but there are several shots from his POV in the hospital that are blurry and distorted (including in sound) where he sees his wife and a priest giving him last rites just before blacking out. Similar blurry shots occur in the Italian Grand Prix because his vision was impaired by injured eyelids. Then it clears as he regains his skill.
  • The Sadist: After Ed blinds Charlie by spraying gasoline in his eyes, the film switches to Charlie's POV: showing everything as blurry up until Charlie shoots Judy after mistaking her for Doris due to his blurred vision.
  • A version of this is done in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World where Scott slaps his hands over his eyes when he walks in on a half-naked Ramona and the screen goes dark.
  • Snatched (2017): When Emily wakes up in Morgado's cell, her vision is blurred.
  • The titular Terminators (all models) get dissolving HUDs and flickering static in their field of vision, right before it finally goes black.
  • In Thunder Alley (1967), the screen ripples before the first of Tommy's blackouts.
  • Titanic: When Rose catches hypothermia, everything is slow-motion in her POV.
  • Used in True Lies when Harry is drugged with a Truth Serum. A POV shot shows everything becoming blurry and the audio slowing down.
  • Bella experiences the going-unconscious focus fade and then experiences the focus-fade-in as her consciousness returns in Twilight.
  • In Unknown (2011), when the hero's doppelganger presents our hero with the photo of him and the hero's wife, the latter blacks out and the camera takes his view as he sinks down to the ground.
  • This is how the Vertigo Effect is used in Vertigo — to show Scottie's attacks of vertigo.

  • My Sweet Audrina is written in the first-person narrative style, causing the reader to feel as disoriented and confused as she does, and likely why some readers don't realize the book's big secret until the end, just like she does.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cordelia gets the blurry version on Buffy the Vampire Slayer when she is cursed with blindness (the curse only takes some time to ramp up).
  • A rather chillingly realistic one from Covert Affairs: Special Forces captain August Anderson sees a supposed team member, actually a mole, throw a pack of explosives under the team's humvee. Auggie races toward the humvee, frantically yelling a warning, but is too late; the bomb explodes, killing the rest of the team and throwing Auggie to the ground. After a brief shot of an obviously still-conscious Auggie, the camera cuts to black, though ambient sound keeps going, indicating Auggie hasn't passed out; — the explosion blinded him.
  • There's a scene that uses this in the Doctor Who Made-for-TV Movie, apparently because the Doctor is still disoriented after regenerating, even though he seemed to be just fine when he was stealing some clothes to wear.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Happens in "Death of a Travelling Salesman" when Danny is staggering along the road and collapses after being bitten by a snake. The last thing he sees before blacking out is Blake's car arriving.
  • An odd, external-to-the-impaired version happens to Gary on Early Edition when an old T-man sucker punches him. The shot goes out of focus as Gary slips unconscious to the ground.
  • Done on Father Ted to show Jack's POV, although he's gone far, far beyond "about to pass out".
  • Extraordinary Attorney Woo: Some shots from autistic Young-woo's point of view depict how she experiences sensory overload, with things getting blurry and interrupted by white flashes.
  • Firefly, in "Out of Gas", where Mal has to repair the ship after being shot in the stomach. The whole episode has dark (because the ship's power is off), green and brown filters, and a weird, off-center camera.
  • The Glades: In "Exposed", a state senator has been poisoned with cyanide. When he is being interviewed, his vision starts blurring just before he collapses.
  • In the Here Come the Brides episode "The Crimpers," Jeremy has blurred vision after he drinks drugged whiskey.
  • Highlander:
    • In "Deadly Medicine", Duncan MacLeod gets kidnapped by a Mad Doctor who keeps him sedated with morphine while experimenting on him. He eventually manages to escape, but is really groggy and his vision is blurry.
    • In "Little Tin God", Duncan's vision goes blurry when he is tricked into drinking drugged wine before passing out.
  • Horatio Hornblower, "Mutiny": There are about 3 shots like this from Midshipman Wellard's point of view when he's been dosed with laudanum after severe and unjust beating. When Randall is beating Styles half to death, Wellard just watches and his vision wobbles and wavers.
  • Blurred vision, skewed sight, focus failure and every other possible variation Impairment Shot one could imagine someone sick might suffer occurs with predictable regularity to patients on House.
  • Inspector George Gently: There is a shot from Gently' POV that goes blurry just before he passes out in the boxing ring in "Gently With the Women".
  • One episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit sees Stabler struggling with the side-effects of an antiviral regimen he's been put on after being exposed to HIV. Whenever the camera shifts to his perspective, it gets noticeably blurry and wobbly.
  • Used to chilling effect in one episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, where the antagonist apparently has some sort of delusional disorder. The episode begins with three teenagers being confronted by a gangster who asks to borrow one girl's phone; she says she doesn't "want to lose it", but the shot from the gangster's perception shows her calling him a "loser". Then when one of his friends tries to tell him to "chill", the gangster's point of view shows that he hears it as "kill". It's incredibly effective in reinforcing just how pointless the whole thing is.
  • M*A*S*H ("Point of View"): The injured Private Rich, from whose perspective the episode is shown, blacks out a couple of times, causing the camera to blur and then go black.
  • Mayday: Done in "Turning Point", where Seol Ik-Soo struggles to get himself out of the tangled wirings of the wreckage of Air China Flight 129. As the sun shines down on the accident, Seol's vision gets blinded by it.
  • Parodied in the sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look where Mitchell is sick and trying to get some bed rest and Webb, in a very old-school Obviously Evil manner, keeps trying to poison him. At one point we see the room twisting and rocking wildly from Mitchell's point of view, and then in the Reveal Shot, Webb is sitting over him waving a magnifying glass over his eyes.
  • Midsomer Murders: Happens when the first Victim of the Week is poisoned in "The Killings of Copenhagen".
  • The New Avengers: Double vision and going in and out of focus are used to indicate curare poisoning in "Target!". There is a prolonged sequence from Steed's POV as he staggers poisoned through the Shooting Gallery.
  • A very effective use in the pilot of Once Upon a Time when Prince Charming is mortally wounded protecting his baby and falls to the ground. We see from his point of view his child escaping just before his vision fades to black.
  • Pixelface: When a glass of orange squash gets poured into Romford in "Rock Star", there is a shot of the three girls from his POV with the screen twisting and distorting.
  • The Professionals ("Private Madness Public Danger"). An executive has been drugged with a hallucinogen placed in the company coffee dispenser. He sees his fellow board members distorted via a fisheye lens effect.
  • In the episode of Psych where Shawn is "barely poisoned", his POV is briefly shown out of focus.
  • Pushing Daisies used a sort of smoky Hit Flash in "Oh Oh Oh It's Magic" to show what it looks like to a dead person when Ned touches them a second time.
  • Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators: In "This Envious Court", a tennis player is poisoned with aconite. A shot from his POV show his vision blurring and the world looking yellow: both symptoms of aconite poisoning.
  • Happens in Sherlock a few times. After being injected with a sedative, we are shown Sherlock's POV. His vision is also impaired after he finds out that Irene Adler is still alive. In season 3, he gets absolutely wasted and tries to solve a case, only for his Sherlock Scan to utterly fail. We are once again shown his POV with double-vision and confused subtitles.
  • Sister Boniface Mysteries: In "Queen of the Kitchen", the Victim of the Week is poisoned with belladonna, and then asks the woman she is talking to what is wrong with her face. The camera the cuts to her POV, showing the woman's face twisting and deforming as the belladonna kicks in. The victim then accuses the woman of being a demon before face-planting in a cake.
  • It's been suggested that the end of The Sopranos was one of these.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "Stardust City Rag", Bjayzl appears hazy to Dr. Bruce Maddox after he drinks the drugged tranya.
    • In "Nepenthe", Dr. Agnes Jurati's vision becomes blurry and she sees doubles of Emil as the neurotoxin begins to take effect
  • Santa Sent Me to the E.R. used this type of shot for its “Sightless Night” segment (when Leigh Ann was using contact lenses she had no clue were barely out of their enzyme bath!).
  • Starsky & Hutch:
    • In "Murder Ward," Hutch is under the influence of an experimental drug that has killed several patients. A shot from his point of view is blurred around the edges.
    • In "Quadromania," Starsky's head is smashed into a taxi window. His vision is blurred for the rest of the scene.
    • Hutch has blurry vision when he comes down with botulism in "The Game."
  • Supernatural
    • In "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" (S09, Ep01), when Castiel first hears the other angels an out of focus tilted shot of the surrounding forest is shown from Castiel's viewpoint.
    • A Leaning on the Fourth Wall gag occurs in "Party On, Garth", when Garth says he doesn't normally drink "because it messes with my depth perception." Cue camera having a problem focusing on both Sam and Dean.
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Allison From Palmdale", Cameron's processor begins to glitch out, and this is shown by first displaying things from her point-of-view, in traditional "Term-o-vision". A few moments later, once she begins to seriously glitch and forgets who she is, the head-up-display normally shown in her POV is gone. Shortly afterward, she starts confusing herself with a previous identity she'd assumed, because she no longer knows who "she" really is.
  • Thunderbirds: In "Terror in New York City", after Virgil has crash landed Thunderbird 2 on Tracy Island, he finds himself in the sick room, seeing the blurred shapes of Scott and Jeff looking down on him.
  • There's a very disturbing series of fade-to-black, fade-back-up Impairment Shots as a gathering crowd at a New York butcher's kills Jack Harkness over and over again to see him revive in the Torchwood: Miracle Day episode "Immortal Sins".
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Rick's during-the-hospitalization view of Shane before he responds months later in the now long empty hospital.
    • Having been coldcocked, the audience is given a blurry point of view of Bob Stuckey as he comes out of unconsciousness, ultimately showing his leg having been cut off for turning into food.
  • Done briefly in The West Wing episode "Commencement," when Zoey's drink has been drugged, in a rare example of POV camera-trickery for that show.
  • Without a Trace. As two agents go to a hotel room to confront a woman they believe knows something about their Victim of the Week, a missing priest, one of them orders the man who is also present to "keep your hands where I can see them". The next few seconds are seen from his POV as his eyes adjust to the darkness and he has a flashback—and recognizes the woman's lover as another priest from the church. note 
  • When Alex is suffering from a concussion in the school play episode of The Worst Year of My Life, Again, the audience gets a POV shot of Nicola swimming in and out of focus. Just before Alex throws up on her.

  • Eminem: In the music video for "Just Lose It", when Eminem tries to hit on Dr Dre at a bar (thinking him to be a woman), Eminem's point of view is shown as blurry, showing disorientation from having just been slugged in the stomach.

    Video Games 
  • One Cut Scene in Another World has Lester captured by the aliens. He opens his eyes, sees blurry at first, then gets normal after some time.
  • The Assassin's Creed series uses an Interface Screw to indicate that the player is losing synchronization with their ancestor's memories. As this occurs most often when at or near death, it has the intentional effect of also conveying the character's level of injury.
    • Assassin's Creed III features several sequences in which the character is suffering from a concussion (for example, when young Connor is waking up after a Tap on the Head), with screen blurring and staggering animations along with a glitched or missing UI. You conduct an entire combat in this condition late in the game.
  • Batman: Arkham Series
    • Used in Batman: Arkham Asylum when the screen seems to glitch and the game starts again from the beginning cinematic, to show when Batman is under the influence of Scarecrow's fear toxin. His coughing gives it away a bit, but it still sends many players into a panic. In combat, inmates with stun rods will make the screen fill with static, and inmates with bats or pipes make you see double for a bit if they hit you.
    • The sequel, Batman: Arkham City, has the same effects in combat, and also some cutscenes when Batman's disease worsens.
  • BioShock:
    • Happens near the beginning—after getting the Electrobolt plasmid, you black out, fall over a railing, and fade in and out of consciousness in time to see first a pair of Splicers and then a Little Sister and her companion about to try to harvest you.
    • The screen appears blurry whenever your character is drunk.
    • Appropriately enough, the screen goes red, and veins appear across the camera whenever Jack gets hit with Fontaine's "Code Yellow" mind control command.
  • In Blood (1997), the bite from one of the spider species causes Caleb to become dizzy, which is represented by the viewpoint swaying down- and upwards, and the screen to become blurry.
  • Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead's Revenge: Drinking the bottle of beer will cause the screen to shake and the controls to become more unresponsive.
  • Used liberally by Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth: your view is blurred whenever you're faced with something terrifying, the screen slowly goes dark as you're injured...
  • Flashbangs in Counter-Strike turn the entire screen white for 5 seconds.
  • In Dishonored, this happens when you get poisoned by the Loyalists. It's quite subtle, with the screen occasionally going green-tinted and wavy, and the sound distorting.
  • In Dark Fall: Lost Souls, the Inspector experiences a time-event vision of Matilda Fly's past, in which the actress wakes up shortly before her stage performance after a night of gin-guzzling. She's so wasted that she sees triple and the screen's view wobbles until you maneuver her to the ice bucket and have her dunk her face in it.
  • Deus Ex: Being drunk or drugged makes the screen dark and ripply. In the latter case, the field-of-view is also greatly decreased.
  • In Die Hard 2, the screen blurs when you get hit, and has a Near-Death Experience-like effect when you die.
  • In the prologue of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, just as Makoto steps inside Hopes' Peak Academy, his vision suddenly distorts and loses consciousness before waking up in a classroom. It's later revealed the cause of the distortion was the effect of memory erasure.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3 has blood splatter on the screen if the player takes damage or is close to a messier opponent death. During withdrawal from a drug, the screen will blur. Taking crippling damage to the head causes a concussion effect at random intervals, which includes bloom, blur, doubled vision, and an irritating high-pitch ringing sound. The Enclave Stun grenade causes the blink-blink cam.
    • Fallout 4, in addition to concussions like the previous games, has a periodic Gaussian blur effect when your HP is dangerously low.
  • When your character gets drunk in Fable and its sequel, the image on the screen is blurred and doubled, and all the sound is filtered to be off pitch and slowed down.
  • The LucasArts adventure game Full Throttle uses this after Ben crashes his bike in the beginning of the game.
  • Far Cry
    • The effects of Malaria in Far Cry 2 result in a yellow border with little cell-looking things and everything going out of focus. A similar effect happens if you sprint for too long.
    • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has Rex's vision go blurry and staticky as a Critical Annoyance.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IV does something similar, blurring the screen a couple of time to show Cecil's head spinning as he picks himself up after the events at Mist.
    • Used several times in the opening sequence of Final Fantasy VI, as Terra tries to escape from Narshe. The screen blurs and pixelates out to demonstrate the combined effects of head trauma and magic-induced amnesia.
    • Used in the start of the tutorial of Final Fantasy XII, to show that Reks is just waking from unconsciousness in the middle of battle. It's also used at the end of the tutorial, when Reks is dying.
  • Depending on which canon you follow, the Point Man from F.E.A.R. spends a good amount of time passing out and having to pick himself up again. By the end of extraction point he's coughing up blood. Nearby explosions and melee attacks will stun you and throw your aim off. The former also causes ear ringing.
  • Hitting a wall in Gran Turismo 4 in bumper cam will make the screen blurry for a second.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • The mission "Boomshine Saigon" in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City starts with Tommy accidentally getting high on "boomshine" when Phil, heavily intoxicated by that stuff, blows his own arm. You must then drive him to a clinic... with the world blurry and the camera wobbling and shaking.
    • The drunk effect in Grand Theft Auto IV are similar to those mentioned for Fable and Vice City above. Niko will occasionally also fall over.
  • The Halo series does this in almost every game:
    • Usually, this involves John-117 (AKA: Master Chief) coming out of unconsciousness; in Halo: Combat Evolved after his escape pod crashes, in Halo 2 after the Pelican dropship he's in is shot down, and in Halo 3 after he falls from orbit. This happens to him multiple times in Halo 4; after falling into a gravity well, after getting tossed around by the Didact, and after the ship he's on crashes (with his HUD also fizzing up).
    • This is even in Halo 3: ODST at the first point where control is fully given to the player.
  • Indigo Prophecy: When Lucas wakes up the morning after the first murder all covered in blood, his POV shot is distorted and shaky.
  • In The Journeyman Project, after being hit with a poison dart, Gage periodically has blurred vision and flashbacks of the robot's "I've been expecting you" speech.
  • Common occurrence at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II, when you're playing as Roxas.
  • There's a "blink-blink" version at the end of Tales of Monkey Island Episode Four, after Guybrush gets stabbed.
  • When you're very close to death in Left 4 Dead, the screen goes black and white until you get healed. Also, after taking some pills, your vision very briefly goes slightly black & white and blurry.
  • This is done in Lollipop Chainsaw, at the beginning of Chapter 1. As Nick wakes up after being reduced to a head, his vision is blurred at first.
  • Max Payne experiences this in the third game after taking a sniper bullet to the arm at the beginning of Chapter 3, as well as in the drunken cutscenes.
  • In Medal of Honor: Airborne, your character momentarily has blurred grayscale vision after being meleed.
  • In Mirror's Edge, the screen becomes desaturated according to how much remaining health Faith has. It also briefly flashes red whenever she takes damage.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Seen once Naked Snake (Big Boss) is shot in the eye; from then on, if you enter first-person view that side of the screen is blacked out.
  • Used in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, when Samus wakes up from a month-long coma after the events of Norion. Made somewhat amusing by the Federation medical officer planting a hand right in her visor as she's coming to.
  • Need for Speed:
    • 3 has a cheat code to make the screen look like you're driving under the influence. And a cymbal crash plays and the Variable Mix music cuts down to the bass when you crash.
    • Need for Speed: Shift takes this trope and runs with it. Driving at a car's top speed blurs your vision, and a collision simulates the disorientation from the shock of impact.
    • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (the 2010 game) takes this trope and runs with it on a Turbo. When you use the aforementioned (Racer-only) Turbo, the entire screen darken and things shift to grayscale as the car is forced to go beyond its maximum speed. Also, when the damage to your car reaches critical level, things are gray, not unlike in some modern FPS.
  • Many first person shooters, especially those with regenerating health, use a red filter that covers more of the screen the closer you get to death.
  • In Perfect Dark, this happens when you get knocked upside the head or injected with a dizzy-causing serum.
  • In Retro City Rampage, the screen distorts when the player is Drunk on Milk.
  • Rise of the Triad has a variation on this, in that the impairment is not caused by any enemies, but rather a joke powerup: "Shroom Mode". Your vision swings about wildly (not helped by the vertical-strip-skew method that the original game engine uses to render its environments), objects and enemies are rendered in shifting solid colors, and whatever you hear is echoed and amplified to the extreme.
  • SCP: Secret Laboratory: Status effects make heavy use of this - Invigorated applies a high-pass filter and increases contrast, Burned applies a subtle Red Filter of Doom, Concussed blurs the screen whilst turning, etcetera.
  • Saints Row:
  • One of the possible plug-in modifications for Team Fortress 2 is called "Drugged", where this is combined with Interface Screw to throw the player off balance. It's done well, because none of the player's controls are messed up, only their perception of the world (wildly flashing colors combined with a jittery camera). For new players experiencing this, it's often disorienting, more or less crippling them. Players who have had this result pop up a few times tend to have a little bit more control.
    • In the regular game itself, taking damage results in a brief red flash in the general direction where the attack originated, being on fire results in a red ring of flames surrounding one's HUD, and being covered with Jarate or Milk results in the HUD being tinted with yellow or white fluid respectively.
  • One cutscene in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 shows Nia's perspective in the Spirit Crucible Elpys, where the ether-absorbing particles are stated to leave Blades feeling sick and impaired. The fact that Nia is shown from her POV to be very dizzy and unfocused is one of the numerous hints in this section of the game that she is herself secretly a Blade, which gets explicitly revealed in the room found right after said POV scene.
  • Vanquish uses a pulsating blur and red filter at low health.
  • In The Witcher, the screen gets progressively blurrier and sways lightly as Geralt gets drunker; this can also happen from taking hallucinogens such as fisstech and White Gull. When Geralt's health is critical, the colors desaturate.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends does this on occasion with its many cases of Eye Scream:
    • Happens with Toothy in "Eye Candy" when his right eye gets wrapped around a branch and we see his left eye focusing on the branch while his right is stuck staring up at the tree.
    • In the TV episode "Sight for Sore Eyes", there's one when Russell tries to read a magazine and notices his vision is getting blurry, another when Sniffles' vision is impaired after his and Toothy's RC paper airplane (made out of razor-thin metal) cuts the bottom of his glasses off, another when the plane chops off the fronts of Nutty's eyes and we see his POV as his eyes start to bleed, and a fourth when it changes to Russell's POV and his vision is obscured by his missing contact lens on his left and his missing eye on his right. When he mistakes one of the fronts of Nutty's eyes for his lens and puts it in, his left eye's vision goes completely red.
    • In "I've Got You Under My Skin", Sniffles runs his miniature submarine through Lumpy's right optic nerve, causing his eye to fill with blood, then it changes to TV static and a "missing signal" screen.
    • Happens to Flippy in "Without a Hitch" when Flaky stabs him in the eye with a shard of glass in self-defense after spending the whole episode terrified of the idea of him flipping out and killing her. His right eye is normal while his left shows Flaky refracted into several different images.
  • This happens in Red vs. Blue at the start of the battle at Glacier when Agent Washington wakes up.
  • Sonic for Hire: In Season 7, Sonic and the gang lick the BattleToads for a clue towards The Creator. Earthworm Jim claims he doesn't feel any drug effects while speaking to Eggman, who appears swirling from Jim's perspective.

  • Batman: Wayne Family Adventures: After hearing a tire iron being scraped across the floor Jason pov looking towards Stephanie is shown, where he's got shaky double vision and is seeing a crowbar in her hand rather than the tire iron she's handing him.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the comic uses a number of odd angles after Abe uses a sleep grenade to illustrate his disorientation, as he just barely managed to resist the effects of his own weapon, and is struggling to stay awake. It comes about as close to the "wobbly camera" as you can in a static medium.
  • Galaxion has panels blending together, flowery scripts and general Mind Screw for the characters being drugged.
  • Girl Genius gives a static medium version just before Klaus passes out from a tainted drink.
  • Megatokyo has a page from the point of view of a deaf character, unable to lip-read a character with her back to her.
  • Penny has one in Out at Home after being drunk for most of the story arc.
  • In The Second Crimean War, Yana has this happen after significant blood loss: [1]
  • Unsounded: During the flashback to Duane's assassination there's a panel from his pov showing the double vision encroaching on him after getting hit with drugged darts.

    Web Videos 
  • Logan's Tale: Logan spends a significant time suffering randomly blurring vision, ringing in his ears, and headaches following a head injury in Nipton.

    Western Animation 
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
    • In "Balloonenstein", Meatwad gets dizzy vertigo after spending a week spinning in the dryer.
    • "Revenge of the Mooninites" has Frylock getting his eyes hit with a blurry effect from the Mooninites' foreigner belt.
    • "Gene-E", the titular genie gets this after Shake spun his bottle around.
  • Jun's monster scent-hound Shirshu experiences this when Katara waterbends it a face full of perfume on Avatar: The Last Airbender.
    • In Book 2, we get one when Zuko goes into his Angst Coma.
    • And one for him in "The Avatar State" (?) the view is blurred when Azula knocks Zuko to the floor and is about to attack him again, only for Iroh to intervene.
    • And another in Book 3, when Aang first wakes from his post-traumatic-injury coma.
    • One more in Book 3, as Combustion Man tries to take out the Gaang after having been brained by Sokka's boomerang.
  • A vertigo weapon causes this in Batman: The Animated Series.
    • In "Pretty Poison", Batman sees Poison Ivy in blurred multiples after she poisons him.
  • Batman Beyond: When Bruce Wayne collapses during his final battle as Batman, we see a shaky double-vision view of his attacker.
  • In an episode of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Ben gets a faceful of dream dust, and his vision swirls, leaving him hallucinating Gwen as a monster.
  • Danny Phantom: Happens once in "Reign Storm", when Danny blacks out from exhaustion and energy loss.
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk: In "The Eel Effect", Toothless eats an eel, which makes him ill. POV shots show that everything looks distorted to him, which is why he attacks Hiccup when he tries to calm him down.
  • Gargoyles: In "Leader of The Pack", when Coyote uses his shockwave on the prison guard at the beginning of the episode, the point of view switches to that of the guard as everything in his vision twists and blurs.
  • Kaeloo:
  • In one episode of King of the Hill, a pig Dale rents to hunt truffles eats something that is definitely not a truffle, and as it blacks out it sees Dale turning different colors.
  • Several instances of this also happen in The Legend of Korra.
    • After encountering Amon face-to-face for the first time, he strikes Korra in the head, knocking her out. Her vision blurs as she falls over, then fades into her first flashback of Aang.
    • Tenzin later experiences this after getting ambushed by a group of Equalists in front of City Hall and knocked out.
    • During the 12th episode of Book 2, after getting attacked by both Unalaq's forces around the Southern spirit portal, and a horde of dark spirits, Korra and company are knocked from their sky bison and crash land in the snow. Korra's vision blurs and fades to black just as Unalaq's forces arrive to capture her and the gang.
    • After Opal stops the fight between the Beifong sisters, Lin briefly experiences some blurry vison before she passes out.
    • We also get a bit of this in the Book 3 finale while Korra is under the effects of the Red Lotus' poison.
  • A variation occurs on a couple of Looney Tunes shorts, where Sylvester is trying to keep awake lest he get beaten up by another character. Every time he blinks, the assailant is standing a little bit closer, and the last blink is followed by a Hit Flash.
    • The "The Hypo-Chondri-Cat", Claude Cat experiences this when he wakes up from his nightmare by having the ceiling come into focus.
  • This happens about Once an Episode on the Mr. Magoo shorts, featuring at least one out-of-focus shot of whatever Magoo is looking at.
  • Happens a few times in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic; particularly in "Applebuck Season" where we get to see and hear Applejack's sleep-deprived and hearing-impaired perspective. Happens to Rarity when she passes out from shock (in time for a commercial break) in "Sweet and Elite"; we get her POV again when she comes to after the break. Also shown in "Parental Glideance," where Scootaloo lands headfirst onto a Cloudsdale lawn.
  • Nature Cat: In the episode "Nature Plant", the titular character dozes off as Daisy tells him about photosynthesis.
  • The Owl House: In "Eclipse Lake", Luz's vision is shown to be blurry from the mold infection. This causes her to accidentally break the crystal ball she intended to use to call Amity.
  • The Mayor experiences an unbroken series of Impairment Shots until he's rescued by The Powerpuff Girls (1998) in "The Bare Facts".
  • Happens in Rocko's Modern Life, when Rocko gets sick and attempts to take some medicine for it... only for him to discover too late that it was supposed to be a suppository. After which, everything Rocko sees appears to weave and wobble as he rushes to the bathroom to throw up.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The "closing eyes" variant is used in the episode "Lisa's Pony", when Homer, fatigued from over-work, falls asleep while driving and enters a Little Nemo-parodying dream.
    • In another episode, "Homer's Odyssey", there is a point-of-view shot of the kids looking down at an exhausted Homer. Maggie pokes at his eyes and the image is doubled for a moment.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Inverted in the episode "An Indirect Kiss". From Connie's view point, the shot focuses properly due to her eyesight being healed by Steven's healing powers.
    • Played with in the episode "Change Your Mind". After Steven's gem is forcibly removed from his body, the shot is in split screen - one side from Steven's P.O.V. Cam, the other from his Gem half.
  • SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron uses the Impairment Shot in the episode when Turmoil threatens Megakat city with a vertigo weapon.
  • The Tom and Jerry cartoons have several shorts in which this occurs; almost always resulting from them getting drunk.
  • The Venture Bros.: In a rather disturbing variation, the episode "Hate Floats" turns into first-person Split Screen when Rusty's right eye gets knocked out of its socket.


Video Example(s):


Drunk Bob POV

After drinking some "Horse Medicine", Bob gets drunk and doesn't know what going on around him and he nearly blows his cover.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / ImpairmentShot

Media sources: