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Whoosh in Front of the Camera

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When something runs through the foreground, between the camera and the characters, usually behind their backs. Usually happens in wilderness settings, as the thing in question is moving through the overgrowth. Typically accompanied by a "whoosh" noise or a Scare Chord, with a Motion Blur for the fast-moving object.

This is a suspense-developing trope. The main character(s) are centered in the frame, going about their business when something moves quickly through their periphery. It can go undetected, especially at first, but usually leads to a "Did you see/hear that?" sense of unease. If there's more than one of these foreground incursions, this'd be a sign that our Heroes are being furtively encircled by wolves or ninjas or mooks, something like that. Often presages a trap being sprung and our Heroes getting captured or raided. If the heroes react in time, it'll result in a "circle the wagons" kind of defense. Possibly qualifies as a Setting Trope, in that this'd be an indicator of hostile territory.

Usually happens after a Off Like a Shot in a Played for Laughs scenario. In some visual media like comic books/strips or animations, it should be accompanied by a Written Sound Effect with the "Whoosh" on it. Also seen in Videogame Dashing.

Not to be confused with the Woosh! meme; with Fight Woosh, which is an interruption in a video game usually when it comes a Boss Battle; with the board game of the same name, or with Speed Blitz and Flash Step, which are specific speed abilities that characters can pull off either for comedic effect or to gain an advantage over their competition.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Chun-Li is sitting on her bed in her nightclothes and braiding her hair after getting out of the shower when something dashes past the camera, which is shooting the scene from the rafters of the room. While Chun-Li doesn't see it herself, the motion causes a nearby lampshade to rattle, prompting her to look up just in time to see Vega dropping down towards her claw-first.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman is a frequent perpetrator of this trope in almost all his live-action, animation, and video game appearances, being considered by many as the Trope Codifier in comic books.

    Films — Animation 
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: While the explorer makes their way through the underground tunnel, some figures run by in the foreground, one stopping to look at the intruders. They are later revealed to be Princess Kida and some Atlantean hunters.
  • Beauty and the Beast: As the objects lead Maurice to the fireplace, the Beast is seen in the foreground looking from upstairs, then running off.
  • Toy Story: While looking around Sid's room, one of his mutant toys runs in front of the camera, with Woody reacting to the sound behind him.
    Woody: Uh, Buzz? ...Was that you?
  • Parodied in The LEGO Movie when a silhouetted lego figure jumps behind a wall in the background, accompanied by a stock "whoosh" noise. Emmett reacts to this by saying, "I think I heard a whoosh."
  • Wolfwalkers: When Robyn searches for Merlyn in the woods, a wolf gives her a scare by rushing by in the foreground. The wolf later turns out to be Mebh.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Resident Evil (2002). Near the end of the movie, Alice wakes up in an operating room in the Umbrella facility. While the audience's POV is in an observation room watching her, a figure moves across the screen (inside the observation room) with a scare chord.
  • Happens in the final act of Pacific Rim, when the two remaining Jaeger are marching on the sea ground towards the breach and we see a silhouette of a Kaiju rushing by in the foreground.
  • Space Jam: While filming the celebration scene, one of the green-screen actors inadvertently crossed in front of Michael Jordan. This was fixed in editing by having Daffy Duck ride a champagne bottle past the camera.
  • Happens in The Body (2012), when a security guard patrols the empty hospital at night and suddenly a figure rushes across the screen. Watch the scene here.
  • In X2: X-Men United, Mystique infiltrates Colonel Stryker's office. When the secretary enters and sits down in front of her computer, Mystique comes out from her hiding place and whooshes behind the secretary's back. When the secretary turns to see what's happening, Mystique has changed into a janitor.
  • In Kong: Skull Island, we see a Skullcrawler whoosh in front of the camera at the Kong family graveyard, building up suspense right before the monster starts its attack.
  • In Jurassic Park, the Dilophosaurus that kills Nedry is first seen whooshing in front of the camera. He turns around to see what the sound was but the dino is already gone and appears behind a tree in the next scene.
  • In Starship Troopers, when the soldiers explore the alien planet we see one of the Insectoid Aliens rush by in the foreground, alerting the audience of the dangers to come.
  • The Thing (1982): When the lights go out in the lab, Fuchs lights a candle and walks towards the door. Just before he reaches it, one of the Things moves across the foreground with a scare chord. You can watch it here.
  • In The Orphanage, something whooshes in front of the camera when we see Laura walking down the stairs to the Creepy Basement.
  • Under the Shadow: In one scene, after talking with her husband on the phone, Shideh hears a knock on her door and goes over to it. She peers through the peephole and only sees the outside... then something wooshes past.
  • To show how on-edge the Colonial Marines in Aliens are, Newt is introduced this way, and she's nearly shot as a result.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Boy Meets World: The killer in "And Then There Was Shawn" does this twice, complete with "Psycho" Strings: the first time when the gang tries to find a way out of the school after being locked in detention, but no luck due to all the doors being locked and chained for the night (at which point Feeny pops up, only for the gang to find he was killed) and the second time after the gang finds the janitor's body in his dustbin.
  • Barry Allen/The Flash tends to do this a lot in The Flash, usually it's from a civilian on the road seeing him zoom past leaving a trail of lightning.
  • Breaking Bad: In "Sunset", a tribal cop responds to a welfare check on a woman who turns out to have been murdered by the Cousins, who have taken over her house. After glancing inside through one of the windows looking for signs of life, the tribal cop briefly turns his head away, during which Leonel crosses the camera in the foreground.
  • Doctor Who: Is done by a Pig Slave in the opening of "Daleks in Manhattan," the movement of which is noticed by Laszlo.
  • Stranger Things:
    • In Episode 3 of season 1, the Demogorgon crosses the camera in the foreground when Nancy looks for Barb in the woods.
    • In the Season 3 pilot, rats cross the foreground while Billy is investigating the broken windshield of his car.

  • The music video to Lordi's Blood Red Sandman tells a story of (what seems to be) an amateur student film crew shooting some sort of a video in an old cabin in the woods. We are served a view through a camera, and indeed, there's a whoosh, and soon the monsters from Lordi appear in full to do the nasty to the students. (Yeah, the video gleefully plays out as many horror movie tropes as can be crammed within the duration of the song.)

    Video Games 
  • In The Wonderful 101, this shot is used for the beam fired by the Shirogane Comet at the end of Operation 009-A.
  • If you look at the cameras too long in Five Nights at Freddy's 3, Springtrap will do this, afterwards closing the monitor results in death.
  • This is used to foreshadow the appearance of a creepy aquatic foe in INSIDE (2016). We see it dash through our field of vision a few scenes before it shows up.
  • Kirby: Squeak Squad: In the intro cutscene, Kirby is about to eat his strawberry shortcake. Then something whooshes across, and the cake's gone, disappointing Kirby.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: In Volume 1, school initiation consists of the new students being thrown off a cliff into a monster-filled forest to find a "relic" (represented by chess pieces) and return safely back to the cliff. As Yang walks through the forest, loudly drawing attention to herself, a sudden black blur streaks across the front of the camera with a whoosh sound; the music drops to a sustained bass note to make it seem ominous. Yang then investigates rustling in the undergrowth, revealing two black Ursae that instantly attack her. While she kills the one, the second is killed from behind by a new arrival: Blake, who was the source of the black blur and had been shadowing Yang all along.

    Web Original 
  • There's a famous diet on The Internet called "The Whoosh Effect", which is about the fat cells being slowly replacing fat for water to the point the fat cell is refilled with water only, and then the cell implodes and "whoosh! you're lean now." Started as a theory in a book in 2009, but got the attention of Reddit in 2014, being popularized on the internet afterwards. Until today, this diet is debatable if it works or not, but it's very popular since then anyway.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


The Nut Alarm

To warn the player that the Nut Alarm is active, it whooshes by the camera in a cutscene.

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Example of:

Main / WhooshInFrontOfTheCamera

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