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Nightmare Fuel / Finding Nemo

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Finding Nemo is easily one of, if not, THE scariest movie Pixar has ever come up with. With ominous places to the left and terrifying monsters to the right, it's quite clear that Pixar was trying to go for something Darker and Edgier with this one and is probably the closest Pixar has ever gotten to making an actual Horror Movie.

  • The ultimate, but less obvious, scary scene is a scene that is unwatchable as an adult. It's the scene where Nemo has been taken by the diver, and Marlin is desperately rushing around to find him, only to see empty ocean - all while screaming his son's name. That droning piano chord in the score doesn't help.
    • The whole time Nemo is being bagged by the diver, he's screaming things no father ever wants to hear.
      "Daddy! Help me!"
  • The barracuda that kills Marlin's family (but misses Nemo, albeit scratching his egg) in the beginning.
    • The barracuda just hanging there in the water silently waiting to strike was pretty terrifying too. If you know anything about them they're torpedoes with razor-sharp teeth.
      • Torpedoes, indeed. How do they first notice it? When their entire neighborhood fled without them even noticing until long after, greeted with a dead silence the next time they look at it.
    • A good way of showing this; the barracuda, upon first being seen, is just... observing them in the most frightening way possible. Then, Coral makes a blind move, and literally five seconds later, she's dead with her husband knocked out.
    • The nightmarishness of this scene is mentioned in The Simpsons (in season 22 episode "Homer Scissorhands", to be exact). Milhouse's mother always skips it for him, and he ends up absolutely terrified when he accidentally discovers it on his own.
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    • Try watching that scene again in 3-D. There's a shot during Marlin's brief tussle with the natural abomination where it gnaws at him...FROM FIRST-PERSON POV!!
    • The roars it utters as it hunts them as well.
    • Considering that real life barracuda don't eat fish eggs is meaning the Barracuda likely only intended to eat Marlin's wife Coral. While a large portion of the eggs may have been taken unintentionally when the Barracuda ate Coral, the rest of the eggs would have been eaten by opportunists who waited for the Barracuda to leave before they moved in to eat the eggs considering that we saw Marlin being knocked out for a long time.
  • That scene with the anglerfish. We don't even know what's lurking in the pitch black for several seconds other than a small, unidentified, hypnotic light (though literally anyone who knows what an anglerfish is will recognize the situation as soon as they see the disembodied light and be practically begging the two to get the fuck out of there). But when Dory tries to touch it, it jerks away and slowly starts ascending. As Dory and Marlin play around with it, what descends to meet them are some long, razor-sharp teeth, and two big, blank-white, bug-like eyes. And she doesn't make a sound until the camera angle changes.
    • She is scary enough to look at with all those teeth, but she's also a particularly aggressive hunter, especially after Marlin. Later Played for Laughs considering how distracted and bubbleheaded Dory is acting, fully oblivious to how close to danger Marlin is as she tries to read the address on the diver's goggles in the trench.
      • For a brief moment, the fish actually manages to get Marlin, but is forced to spit him back out since he was hanging onto her lure. While it's a more humorous scene, it doesn't change the fact that if it weren't for him clinging on for dear life, Marlin would be dead.
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    • Sweet Jesus, the sounds she makes. Instead of a more stock roar, she instead emits an absolutely soul-crushing screech. It sounds almost alien, which perfectly fits one of the closest things our planet has to a real-life Eldritch Abomination.
      • In the DVD commentary, they mentioned that after a preview, they considered lowering the volume of the anglerfish (or just getting rid of its screech altogether), but a young kid turned to them and said that "tuning down the anglerfish is like tuning down nature itself". Still, it's frightening in surround-sound.
    • The anglerfish's realm: The deep-sea trench. Just like in real life abyssal zones, this place is pitch black and the only light around will most likely come from a predator. It's a "good" thing the only voyagers we see going here are marine life, because the water pressure would crush any land-dwellers.
  • The jellyfish. Good god, the jellyfish. Unlike the other sea dwellers who behave slightly human due to the nature of the film, these things have no defining features and behave realistically. This is exceptionally disturbing as while other characters have readable expressions and movements the Jellyfish have neither, making it impossible to know what they're thinking. They display none of the intelligence of other fish or motivations other than instinctively eating. They're slow and don't actively try to stop Marlin and Dory's escape but had no qualms of eating them both.
    • While Marlin is tending to a sting Dory received from a tiny jellyfish, blue slowly turns pink as bigger jellyfish start swarming them from every direction like ghosts. And they don't even make a sound, so Marlin and Dory don't even notice it until Marlin mentions that it was just a small jellyfish.
      • Notice how the camera is constantly zooming in on them before any of the big jellyfish appear. You know something bad is about to happen, even without the warning the moonfish gave Dory before they reached the trench.
      • When they finally realize they're surrounded, Marlin looks up and then down. The jellyfish above look like straight judgement day and the ones below look like they're about to pull him to the bottom of the ocean never to return.
    • Marlin finding Dory tangled and looking dead in the tentacles of a jellyfish. Not to mention her wounds afterwards from being stung so badly and how close both came to being Eaten Alive.
  • Darla. Poor Darla. Especially once we first see her. You know - in a picture holding a dead goldfish. It is plenty scary even if Nemo wasn't terrified about being her next victim.
    Darla: Fishy? (Roughly shakes the bag with Nemo in it) FISHY!? Why are you sleeping!?
    • She even has her own Scare Chord for when she finally arrives.
      • And not just any scare chord, they brought out genuine "Psycho" Strings for her.
    • Imagine being in that bag, knowing that if someone doesn't make her stop, and quickly, you're a goner. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
      Nemo: Gill! Don't let me go belly-up! DON'T LET ME GO BELLY-UP!
      Gill: You won't go belly-up, I promise! You're gonna be ok!
      (Psycho theme plays as Darla arrives at the door)
      All: DARLA!
  • Considering how realistically visual Pixar can get, some of the darker underwater scenes can really be this, especially to aquaphobics. Take Bruce's den with the "balloons", for example.
  • Bruce the great white shark. The first we see of him is a load of massive sharp teeth and a rather dark look in his eyes. Somebody even pointed out that the animators made sure Bruce went out of his way to make Dory and Marlin as unsettled as possible before showing his true colors, especially when he turned around for a second and then RUSHED BACK TO CHOMP HIS TEETH RIGHT IN THEIR FACES (not to mention the laugh he gave of afterwards)!!!
    • Rage-mode Bruce illustrates how utterly terrifying animal instinct overriding good judgement can be. Look at the Oh, Crap! moment when he relapses at the scent of Dory's blood and his pupils dilate to those lifeless doll's eyes, complete with his Slasher Smile and the fact that he is a mile high and has lost complete control of himself...
      • It's worth noting that this was foreshadowed by the aforementioned jump scare.
        (Huge slasher smile)...Hello.
        Anchor and Chum: (at the same time) *Gasp!* INTERVENTION!!!
  • That scene at the end where they are in the fishing grounds. Just the cries and screams of terror as the crowds of fish try to swim away from the net. And then knowing that they are going to be hauled up and die of suffocation or worse. Imagine if you were one of the fish that wasn't in the net but someone you knew or loved was.
    • Then imagine if you were one of the fish that was in the net.
  • When the baleen whale was first seen. The way it appeared to be a little fish from a distance is...unsettling. Plus the way it just comes up from behind them (again, without making any noise at all) and opens its mouth...
    • ...And you can hear the terrified Krill rushing past them yelling: SWIM AWAY!
    • Made worse a scene later when it shows Marlin and Dory in the whale's mouth. Dory oblivious but Marlin perfectly aware that they are in a large predator's mouth, just moments away from being swallowed. His dejection and terror is palpable, especially with his realization that he let his son down.
    • Admittedly, the horror factor is somewhat diminished once it's made clear that the whale was actually helping them by getting them to Sydney and thus closer to Nemo.
  • Nemo's first attempt at blocking the tank's filter. The filter is sucking him back down the tube while his tank friends are desperately trying to reach him with a plant, the only thing stopping Nemo from becoming shredded to bits.
  • Imagine this: You're walking down the street in a bad neighborhood, and you see a young woman alone by the side of the road, pacing in circles around a lamppost. She's visibly distressed, so you go and ask her if she's okay, and she blurts "I don't know where I am." Then she tells you she has no idea what's going on, and the only thing she thinks she maybe knows is that she "lost somebody", but she can't remember. So it's not just that she's lost - she actually has no memory of getting there at all or what she was doing beforehand. How concerned would you be?
  • The trench that Marlin and Dory find before swimming up to where the jellyfish are. Not only does the trench itself look particularly haunting, but the low, creepy music that plays as they're both gazing into it is very unsettling.
  • When the seagulls surge for Marlin and Dory on the dock, Marlin is saved by Nigel right away, while for a split second, Dory looks as if she's being pulled apart by them at every angle! Whether this is terrifying or hilarious depends on the viewer.
  • The Jump Scare at the end of the credits where a tiny fish eats the huge anglerfish.
  • The way the scuba diver just looms behind Nemo. Not to mention the look on Nemo's face when they make eye contact. There's a reason this shot is the image provider for Humans Are Cthulhu.
  • At the end, the tank gang manage to escape by rolling their bags out to sea. They then realize they are trapped in the bags with no idea to get out of them, leading to an And I Must Scream moment.