Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / Moana

Go To
A mortal has no business in the Realm of Monsters...

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

  • Lalotai, The Realm of Monsters, features a few freaky and nasty creatures trying to kill any visitors.
    • Upon her arrival, Moana is ensnared by the Overly Long Tongue of an eel-like monster. As the monster is inches away from dragging Moana into its mouth, it is eaten by a giant plant monster, severing its tongue which falls to the ground still squirming.
    • Special mention goes out to the creepy four-armed purple-and-black anemone creature (as seen on the right). HOLY SHIT. Just look at the jerky, unnatural way it moves towards Moana. It doesn't get a lot of screen time but it still managed to be the freakiest scene in the movie.
    • Advertisement:
    • One big one is Moana seeing some thing moving off the side. We don't see much but whatever it is is gigantic... And do tell, what does this thing resemble?
  • Tamatoa is a giant, narcissistic crab who was largely a comical villain, but still managed to be absolutely terrifying. Case in point, in the movie, he delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to Maui while singing a David Bowie-inspired musical number. It sounds hilarious but it's actually a genuinely chilling and disturbing moment.
    • Tamatoa is stopped midsong by Maui when he gets his hook back. However, when Maui shows how rusty he is with his hook's shapeshifting powers, Tamatoa's starts to grin and then the second half of the song comes - "Well, well, well... " The sound of the music starting back up during that part is rather unsettling.
    • Not to mention, there's a verse in his song where he points out and tears into Maui's Inferiority Superiority Complex. Think about that. He's not just more powerful than Maui currently is, he also knows how to get to him emotionally. How to hit him where it hurts. And he loves every second of the process.
      Far from the ones who
      Abandoned you chasing
      The love of these humans
      Who made you feel wanted
      You try to be tough
      But your armour's just not hard enough
    • Advertisement:
    • The Italian dub misses some jokes, but dials Tamatoa's cruelty Up to Eleven:
      You have the abandonment
      Ingrained in your heart.
      I leave you in the dark,
      You aren't that strong!
      Nobody loved you;
      But you tell me - who cared?
    • During this scene especially, Tamatoa closes off the only light source in his cave and reveals that he and the rest of his cave are covered in bioluminescent paints. Tamatoa in particular looks like he was ripped directly out of "Friends On the Other Side". Near the end there's one particularly freaky image where the only things visible are Tamatoa's eyes, the paint on his face, and his teeth about to eat Maui. Brrrrr...
    • It's played for Black Comedy but there's his throwaway line about having eaten his own grandma. "And it took a week because she was absolutely humongous". Yeah... best not to imagine that scene.
    • Special mention goes out to him grabbing Moana and almost eating her, who at the moment was trying to distract him while Maui tries to get his fish hook back. He does this after taunting her about her grandma. Considering how big he is compared to Moana, he possibly could've swallowed her whole and Moana would've been Eaten Alive. And all Moana could do was squirm helplessly as Tamatoa lowered her closer to his maw...
    • Part of what makes it so effective is how quickly it all escalates. At first he's singing about how good it is to be pretty and shiny, and ten seconds after that it's about eating them, and not long after that he's suddenly looking like an Eldritch Abomination with lyrics that are a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that proves he knows all of Maui's secrets and exactly how to hit him where it hurts, and getting a Voice of the Legion in places (basically, there are parts that sound like a chorus - where there isn't one that we can see). He goes from funny, to funny but thinking you look tasty, to any humor vanishing in an instant as the purely malicious creature, who knows things he can't possibly know by normal means and who stands at the top of the monster realm's food chain for a reason, has decided to drop the act in terms of both appearance and personality, and make sure you suffer as he ends you. There's a good reason some wish he'd been the Big Bad.
    • Near the beginning of his song, his gestures while holding Moana, such as jabbing his claw into her chest and barely crushing her or pulling her arms as if he were on the brink of tearing her apart, make it clear he could destroy her very easily if he wanted to. In fact, with his size and strength compared to hers, it would probably be easier to accidentally kill her than it would be to keep her alive intentionally, and he only holds back because he enjoys taunting her. During his fight with Maui, he moves very deliberately to unbalance Maui and shake him off his shell, toss him around a bit, and then when Moana tries to run to help Maui, he jumps to the side and moves his claw to separate them, before grabbing and throwing Moana into a cage, and then very efficiently curb stomps Maui (hammering him into the ground with his claw hard enough for Maui to make an imprint, then dragging him against the walls). He does all of this while making it look like a dance. Tamatoa's behavior may seem strange and odd on the surface, but it belies a controlled, calculating mind that's intensely unnerving.
    • Tamatoa ends his Villain Song with an impressive Nightmare Face, complete with his eyes somehow flashing multiple colors, similar to Kaa's.
    • Him knowing what to say to Maui makes a certain amount of sense given they have fought before and are both old actually but how did he know exactly what Gramma Tala told Moana??
    • When he thinks he'll get his hands on the Heart of Te Fiti, Tamatoa excitedly exclaims "The power of creation, for a crustacean!" One shudders to think of what someone like Tamatoa would do with such power...
    • It's a quick moment, but at one point during the song we get to see thing's through Maui's POV. It's blurry, and unfocused because he's currently being beaten to death by Tamatoa. It's a frightening juxtaposition that such a fun, energetic song is the backdrop of a man, a powerful man mind you, is being battered by a Giant Crab demon.
  • Te Ka, the monstrous lava demon who is really Te Fiti in an angered form after having her heart stolen, has this written all over her.
    • The end of "Know Who You Are", everything slows down, and we see her crawling like a clawed snake towards Moana, mouth open in a howl of rage, and Moana just stands there, holding up the heart to lure Te Ka closer. It's like something out of a horror movie. We know why Moana does what she does, but god, if you don't still want to scream at her to run.
  • Maui's parents "abandoning him" turns out to be them throwing him in the ocean to drown as an infant.
  • A flashback shows Tui and his friend getting caught in a violent storm while attempting to sail. But the scary part? Tui failed in saving his friend from drowning. He watched his friend die.
  • The Kakamora may be little coconut... people... things... but they're also vicious pirates who attack without mercy and have strategies for corralling boats to their doom. Their main ship can split into separate parts, surround their victim's boat and crush them which makes the Kakamora a force to be reckoned with.
    • The fact that they look cute at first, which Moana sort of lampshades, just makes them even creepier. You might be expecting them to be goofier, but then they're shooting tranquilizers all over the place, and they come very close to actually stealing the heart from Moana and Maui.
  • Moana's first attempt at sailing does not go well. After a wave capsizes her boat, she ends up getting her foot trapped in a reef and almost drowns. Her unprotected body is pounded against the coral reef by the undertow, and had this scene been portrayed realistically, we should have seen quite a bit of blood from her being torn up by the razor sharp coral.
  • It's almost a throwaway line, but this must really rub salt in Moana's wounds: Moana recently has experienced the death / loss of her Grandmother Tala, who Moana shared a deep bond with, and she hasn't even had the time to properly mourn her Gramma's loss since she immediately set off on her journey afterwards... then she gets to hear these words from Tamatoa:
    Moana: [Upon Tamatoa trying to snatch away her necklace that contains "the Heart" stone that greatly signifies her relationship with her just-deceased grandmother] Don't! That's my Grandma's!
    Tamatoa: [Mocking Moana's voice] That's my Grandma's! [Serious again] I ate my Grandma, and it took a week, because she was absolutely humongous!
  • How about the nightmare Moana has when she falls asleep on the boat? At first it seems like she's managed to steer them back to her home of Motanui... And the black plague that was threatening when she left is now engulfing the entire island, as her parents desperately run toward her on the beach, only to be swallowed and consumed along with all other life on the island. It's not until she wakes up, understandably panicked, that both she and the audience finally realize it wasn't real. But if the Heart is not restored soon...
    • Even better when you remember that, with the amount of time that the heart's been gone, and as implied by Gramma Tala's narration at the beginning, this has actually happened to probably hundreds of other islands. And even if the land actually gets restored at the end, those islands' inhabitants wouldn't have been so lucky...
      • Admittedly after a thousand years the decay had only just spread to Motanui, which was seemingly only a matter of a week or so in distance sailing from the goddess' island. Ergo the number of islands affected at the time was probably not that high. The darkness also seemed to effect the open ocean centuries before any land masses.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: