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Top 10 Thriller Movie Traps

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake

In the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a TRAP!” These crafty thriller and horror movie traps were as ingenious as they were deadly. Our list includes bear traps, booby traps, and entire buildings of traps, from movies such as “Skyfall” (2012), “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), “Cube” (1997), “Sin City” (2005), and more! Which trap do YOU think is the cleverest? Let us know in the comments!


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Script written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Thriller Movie Traps

Top 10 Thriller Movie Traps

In the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a TRAP!” Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Thriller Movie Traps.

For this list, we’re taking a look at literal, physical traps from thriller movies. We’re including thrillers of all kinds, as well as horror movies. Since some characters die as a result of these traps, a spoiler alert is in order.

#10: Bear Trap

“Friday the 13th” (2009)
While certainly not in the same league as the original slasher classic, the 2009 remake of “Friday the 13th” wasn’t without a few inspired kills. Actor Derek Mears actually compared his version of Jason Voorhees to John Rambo, as he litters Camp Crystal Lake with traps. Ensnaring Amanda in a sleeping bag, Jason hangs her over a campfire to roast like a marshmallow. When Richie stumbles upon the ghastly scene, he’s caught in a bear trap before he can rescue her. Although Whitney tries to pry Richie free, Jason finishes the job with the good old machete to the head move. Bear traps ultimately come back to bite Jason, however, as our heroes turn his own tricks against him.

#9: Dance for Your Life

“The Collection” (2012)
This horror franchise revolves around a serial killer known as the Collector, who spends his down time devising extravagant and deadly traps. In the opening scene of the sequel, we see that he’s renovated an entire nightclub into a slaughterhouse. When Elena finds Arkin trapped in a red trunk, she triggers a trap that sends a spear darting toward them. Although they avoid getting impaled, this is just the beginning of a much more elaborate trap, as a row of rotating blades descends from the ceiling and shreds through the crowd, painting the dance floor red. This isn’t the only trap the Collector has cooked up, as he catches several survivors in a cage that leaves them flatter than pancakes.

#8: Jackie Boy’s Head Bomb

“Sin City” (2005)
Jackie Boy starts the night off getting his head shoved into a toilet and that’s not even the worst place it ends up. After Miho turns him into a Pez dispenser, Jackie Boy is eventually completely decapitated. Dwight uses the severed head to his advantage, offering it to Manute and his men in exchange for Gail. The backstabbing Becky is the only one who realizes something is amiss, noting the tape around Jackie Boy’s mouth. By the time Manute realizes that Dwight has rigged the head to explode, it’s too late. Blowing up the head, Dwight not only destroys the evidence of Jackie Boy’s murder, but also catches the mercenaries off guard as a full-blown ambush ensues. Way to kill two birds with one head.

#7: Bond’s Booby Traps

“Skyfall” (2012)
We usually associate James Bond with fancy gadgets, but the super spy doesn’t have an exploding pen to work with in the climax of “Skyfall.” This gives Mr. Bond a chance to demonstrate just how resourceful he is, booby-trapping his family estate along with Q and Kincade. Imagine if MI6 enlisted Kevin McCallister! Silva’s men have no idea what they’re in for as they approach the mansion, getting gunned down by Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. Rushing inside, they’re thwarted by an old mirror trick, explosives in the floorboards, and a flick of the lights. These traps maintain the creativity we’d expect from the 007 series, but with a gritty, grounded touch that suits the Daniel Craig era.

#6: Waking-World Booby Traps

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)
Freddy Krueger is virtually unstoppable in the dream world, but Nancy is able to level the playing field by bringing him to her home turf. She turns her house into Freddy’s worst nightmare, rigging her bedroom door with a sledgehammer that slams into his gut. After tumbling downstairs, Freddy triggers another trap that nearly blows him up. All the while, Nancy tries to get the attention of the world’s most oblivious police officer. The chase takes them down to the basement where Nancy corners Freddy, setting him ablaze once again. Freddy is usually such a creepy and confident boogeyman. Seeing this horror icon get bested in over-the-top fashion is nothing short of priceless, not to mention satisfying given everything he’s put Nancy through.

#5: Erin’s Front Door Trap

“You’re Next” (2011)
This slasher flick puts a unique spin on the final girl trope. Instead of being an innocent who slowly becomes more badass, Erin asserts upfront that she isn’t going down without a fight. Coming from a survivalist background, Erin is able to use household items as effective weapons. She’s also able to put together several impromptu traps as masked intruders threaten her and her boyfriend’s family. Erin even turns the front door into a death trap that’ll send an axe charging into the person who enters. Since there’s more than one entrance, however, it appears at first that this clever trap will go to waste . . . until a cop shows up and makes the mistake of using the front door.

#4: The Slice & Dice

“Cube” (1997)
Showcasing some of the best production design you’ll ever see in a horror movie, this cult classic centers on several strangers who must navigate through a funhouse of death traps. It’s like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube, except your life is on the line. This naturally paves the way for a lot of creative and gruesome possibilities, including an acid trap that burns one victim’s face off. He didn’t see that coming! The most painful trap to watch also sets the tone for the entire film. Thinking the coast is clear, Alderson takes a step forward. In the blink of an eye, though, an unseen force that’s eventually revealed to be a fence-like device swishes through him, turning Alderson into a pile of cubes.

#3: Toilet Booby Trap

“Lethal Weapon 2” (1989)
It’s the film that made audiences everywhere afraid of their toilets. Okay, maybe not, but you have to admit that placing a bomb under a toilet is a pretty inventive way to kill someone. In a scene that masterfully balances thrills and comedy, the authorities attempt to free Roger Murtaugh, who finds himself between a toilet seat and a hard place. Martin Riggs sticks around to give his partner moral support, knowing that they could both die in the most hilariously tragic way possible. Counting down from three, Riggs pulls Murtaugh off the can, detonating the bomb. Our heroes survive the blast with their butts intact, but the toilet will sadly never be flushed again.

#2: The Bus

“Speed” (1994)
Howard Payne is both an evil genius and a trap master, bringing together two of our favorite villain tropes. Always one step ahead of the police, Payne rigs his own house to blow up with a SWAT team inside. Even more ambitiously, he formulates the trap that sets this whole movie in motion. Planting a bomb on a bus, Payne rigs the vehicle to explode if it goes under 50 mph. The bus will inevitably either run out of fuel or run out of roads - making every second count. It’s an ingenious setup with seemingly no feasible solution. When you have the unstoppable duo of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock behind the wheel, however, no trap is too tricky.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Spring Spear Trap
“First Blood” (1982)

Booby Traps at Sea
“Blow Away” (1994)

Oven Trap
“Escape Room” (2019)

#1: Angel Trap

“Saw III” (2006)
The “Saw” movies are defined by twisted death traps, and the reverse bear trap from the first film set the standard for the franchise. The threat of getting your mouth torn off is one thing, but “Saw III” upped the ante and the anguish with the angel trap. Hooked up to a harness, Detective Allison Kerry is one minute away from having her ribs ripped apart. In true “Saw” fashion, the key to Kerry’s escape is at the bottom of a glass of acid. Even after burning her hand to retrieve the key, though, Kerry realizes that this game was over from the get-go.


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