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Nightmare Fuel / War of the Worlds

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WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.


The 2005 film:

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/WarOWorldsSpielberg_3367.jpg
Ever wonder what an ant goes through under a magnifying glass? These people are about to find out.
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  • The scene where the aliens first show their hostility by deliberately, systematically exterminating a crowd of unarmed civilians with a heat ray and destroying every structure in front of them with their Wave-Motion Gun. Human bodies turn to nothing but ash, leaving their clothes flapping in the wind. A bridge full of stopped traffic fares little better.
    • Put yourself in Ray's place. He's running for his life, while people all around him are being incinerated. The only reason he survived that attack is Plot Armor. No mystery why he arrives home an ash-covered, shell-shocked wreck.
  • The ferry scene, where we're introduced to the all-new terror of the Gatherer Tripods. Ray, Rachel, and Robbie just barely survive the horrors of the sinking ferry and swim clear, only to get a front-row view of the two choices humanity is given: Be vaporized or be harvested. All to mingled screams of an air raid siren (from the town) and the ferry victims being gathered by the Tripods.
    • Ray and his kids get treated to the lovely sight of a car that still has people in it getting flooded with water.
    • When they emerge above the water surface, the sight of the spinning boat propeller would startle unsuspecting viewers, as at first glance, it looks like the tripods are shredding them.
  • The way the man's legs twitch when the Gatherer Tripod impales him to drain his blood. Even scarier, we only see this behind a truck. We don't see what happens to the poor bastard after he's drained of fluids.
  • The foghorn-like three-chime marshaling call the Tripods make. It translates from "Alien Invader" to "You're fucked!" at warp speed. You hear that noise, you know in half a millisecond nothing good is about to happen. The only time this is a good thing is when the foghorns make the "ULLA!" sound when they are dying.
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  • People being captured alive, both a) to feed the Tripods (which have a biological component that looks like an orifice) and b) to be used as fertilizer.
  • The plane crash scene is absolutely terrifying. It doesn't help that it overdoses on Hell Is That Noise.
    • "Are we still alive?"
    • "Once the Tripods start to move, no more news comes out of that area."
  • Ray thinking there's only one tripod attacking, then he looks at the reporter's video and sees hundreds of them burning down an entire city.
  • Rachel stumbling across a river full of dead bodies. The look on her face says it all.
  • The Hobbes Was Right aspect of the crowds, like the one that threatened Ray and his kids just to have access to a car, and the insane mob killing each other over the car beforehand.
    • Rachel is treated to the sight of a man desperately clawing through the car's windshield with his bloody hands.
    • And then someone picks up Ray's gun and shoots the guy who just stole his car.
  • "The trees are funny."
  • Ray and the kids racing through the forest as the Tripods vaporize survivors in the hills behind them. As they run, clothes slowly rain down from the sky, showcasing the slews of people who have been blasted to dust.
  • The basement sequence in general, just because of how dark the mood is and how the tension slowly builds.
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    • Rachel's facial expressions during these scenes are a bit creepy. She quite often has this emotionless look on her face, like she's seen too much to take in any more.
  • The scene where Ray is forced to kill Ogilvy. It's eerie listening to Rachel singing her lullaby to herself, knowing what's happening in the next room.
    • The way we can still hear Ogilvy's ranting in the background while Ray's talking to Rachel makes it even more upsetting. At one point, you can hear him shout, "They can take you! They can take your daughter!" He's effectively wishing death on a 10-year-old girl. It really drives home how unhinged he's become.
    • After the door falls closed, we briefly hear Ogilvy screaming, followed by a shot of Rachel tightening her hands around her ears. It's really chilling.
  • When Rachel wakes up to find an alien probe right in her face. Her screaming in this scene is absolutely bone-chilling.
  • The train scene. At first, while everyone is making a mass exodus, people see a train coming by. The train is on fire and not a single noise is made while it goes right by everyone. No screams, no music; just the sound of the train just whooshing by. Nothing Is Scarier, indeed.
    • Just beforehand, Rachel says, "Looks like the power's still on here." Imagine what would've happened if it wasn't and the train crossing bars didn't go down.
  • The total destruction of the US military forces fighting the Tripods as they buy time for civilians to escape. Imagine the Armed Forces completely outgunned in every way and unable to effectively fight the enemy as masses of people are getting slaughtered around them. And they know it. And yet they stand their ground, knowing full-well they're going to be massacred just so that those around them might have some chance to live.
    • Not helped by the scene of flaming Humvees rolling down the hill and massive explosions which are implied to be the US Army tanks and APCs as the Tripods completely brush off the attack to resume their slaughter.
    • Worse, the tripods didn't even flinch, as they have strong forcefields surrounding the tripods which remained impervious against the jet fighter-launched missiles.
  • After the last Tripod crashes, we get a close-up of its pilot decaying.

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