10 Split-Second Movie Shots You Will NEVER Forget

These jump-cuts stay with you forever.

Deadpool 2 Brad Pitt Vanisher
20th Century Fox

In the world of cinema, it's important not to waste a single frame. Every moment on-screen must tell a story or convey an emotion.

But we're not just talking about plot-heavy scenes or iconic shots. We're looking at the visuals that directors put a pain-staking amount of effort into, despite lasting less than a second.

Although filmmakers are renowned for being perfectionists, it doesn't seem helpful for them to obsess over a blink-and-you-will-miss it image that... y'know... the audience might miss. If a film is two hours long, what difference does it make if a few milliseconds are cut or added?

But one should never underestimate how inserting a second of footage in the right place can leave a major impact on viewers. If utilised correctly, a jump-cut can heighten tension, emphasise a joke, or give you the fright of your life. By not including these brief shots, you might view a character, a scene, or the whole plot in a different way.

In the hands of a lesser director, these easy-to-miss shots can come across as gimmicky, forced, or unintentionally funny. But when executed correctly, they can be the movie's biggest highlight.

10. Eye Pop - Twilight Zone: The Movie

Deadpool 2 Brad Pitt Vanisher
Warner Bros.

Twilight Zone: The Movie concludes with a recreation of the classic episode, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. The segment begins with anxious flyer, John Valentine (John Lithgow), suffering a panic attack in an airplane lavatory. After returning to his seat, he does all he can to relax.

When John suspects there's something on the plane's wing, he tries to ignore it. As he becomes increasingly agitated, he peers out his window, only to be greeted by a leering gremlin.

Not only does this demonic-looking critter look genuinely frightening, the whole scene is accentuated by the unnerving music, seamless editing, perfect lighting, and Lithgow's compelling performance.

But it's not the gremlin that makes you jump out of your skin - it's John's reaction. Upon coming face-to-face with the monstrous creature, there's a momentary shot of John's eyes popping out of their sockets. These frames appear so quickly, many viewers assume they imagined it. If this shot lasted a little longer, it would've come across as cartoonish and silly.

Because this shot is held for the right amount of time, it makes this already scary scene even scarier.


James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Horror Movies Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85