I’ve seen a lot of horror movies. I’ve seen a lot of the scariest TikTok videos, too. In fact, as a 26-year-old woman with anxiety, I would consider myself an expert on the subject of fear.
I have never in my entire life been as scared as I was at the end of this 15-second TikTok, though.
Months after TikTok user artem_mokrushin uploaded the original post, a tweet from journalist Ben Bell re-sharing the clip went viral.
If you’re the kind of person who reads about horror movies before watching them, first of all, you’re a genius (I do this). Second, you’re gonna want to skip past the TikTok now.
Warning: This video is legitimately horrifying, especially if you’re not a fan of jump scares. Also, the fact that I am telling you what is scary about it doesn’t make it any less scary.
“2020 in one TikTok,” the tweet read. I think that’s underselling it.
In the video, a man turns off the lights in a hallway, and a vague figure appears twice. A woman sitting on the bed points to the figure each time, and each time the man turns the lights back on and sees nothing. That part is a little spooky, of course, but it’s a misdirection.
You probably expect to see the figure slowly inching closer as he turns the lights off a third time, but instead, a screaming sound blows out the audio and the figure rushes to the camera at lightning speed and a terrifying face fills the screen.
To me, it felt a little bit like having a heart attack, in that my chest hurt and I couldn’t breathe. My body was filled with guilt and shame over the fact I was scared and didn’t see that coming.
There’s something about the low production value at first that lures you into a false sense of security and then grabs you by the neck, figuratively speaking.
At one point while writing this story, I opened the TikTok window again, not realizing it would start automatically playing, and got scared of that close-up of the face all over again.
I was also thrilled to find that I was not the only person shocked by my own reaction to this video. In fact, there are thousands of horrified reactions to comb through.
“Whatever you do. Do NOT click on this,” one Twitter user wrote. “Wish I could go back in time and be free of this curse.”
“I nearly hurt myself. Why would someone make this,” another said.
“I’m real mad at whoever made this,” a third commented. “Scared me to death.”
For good measure, a TikTok user declared it the “scariest video on the internet.”
“I was on earth and currently I’m in heaven,” they added. “My soul left my body.”
Fellow In The Know editor Katie Mather likened the clip to a vintage video of yesteryear (or 2005) called Ghost Car, in which a car peacefully driving through a meadow distracted viewers from a very similar jump scare that, for me at least, brought many a sleepover to its early end.
The only difference is that a German company called k-fee tried to sell you something at the end of that video.
If this video terrified you, you’re in good company. If you are not scared of it, then I am scared of you.
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If you haven’t had enough, you might enjoy reading more about scary TikTok.
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