The Scariest Scene In The Lost World: Jurassic Park Warns You To Stay Out Of The Long Grass

(Welcome to Scariest Scene Ever, a column dedicated to the most pulse-pounding moments in horror with your tour guides, horror experts Matt Donato and Ariel Fisher. In this edition, Matt charts a course to Isla Sorna in "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" because second time's the charm, and Ariel reminisces about "Jaws.")

"Jaws." "Tremors." "The Lost World: Jurassic Park." What do these films have in common?

Steven Spielberg only directed two of them — try again.

Are they all creature features? Warmer!

They're creature features that showcase an exceptional predatory hunting sequence where said creatures lurk, stalk, and attack their prey with nightmarish results. You already know what I'm talking about — unleash the raptors!

"The Lost World" is often criticized as a disappointing sequel to the cinematically perfect "Jurassic Park," but it's not an opinion I share. Even the worst movie about dinosaurs is still pretty rad because it's still about dinosaurs. We're talking about a film where Rexy causes mass hysteria in San Diego, a gymnast kicks a Velociraptor mid-swing, and genetic miracles dispose of countless poachers. Where's the disaster? It's bigger, more dinosaur-y, and introduces insane technology for the period in these massive mobile control vehicles.

I just love "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" and want to protect it from haters at all costs — it's a curse.

The setup

The events of "Jurassic Park" have left John Hammond's (Richard Attenborough) dinosaur theme park on Isla Nublar an overrun failure. Suffice to say, Isla Nublar is no vacation destination. Unfortunately for a family cruising on their yacht, neither is Isla Nublar's neighboring island, Isla Sorna. Wee Compsognathus minions harm the family's daughter (Camilla Belle) as she wanders from their site, barely saved by her father and the accompanying yacht crew. Dinosaurs roam free across Isla Sorna, beginning another exotic encounter with Hammond's creations.

Back again is mathematician and chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who's called into action by Hammond. Isla Sorna is the original location where InGen cloned dinosaurs until a hurricane left the compound abandoned and released all the dinos to the island's wilderness. Hammon's nephew, Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard), has seized control of InGen after the yachting incident and wants to exploit the no-longer-extinct creatures to save InGen from bankruptcy. That's where Ian comes in — he's part of a team that will document the dinosaurs in their natural habitat to promote non-interference policies.

The story so far

Dr. Malcolm joins field engineer Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff), activist and videographer Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn), paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore ) — who's already on Isla Sorna — and Ian's daughter Kelly (Vanessa Lee Chester), who stows away in their mobile trailer. Ludlow's party of big-game hunters arrives around the same time, hoping to capture as many dinosaurs as possible for their San Diego amphitheater attraction. So begins an ongoing back and forth as Ian's cohorts attempt to sabotage Ludlow's efforts and avoid becoming dino chow. Nick eventually rescues an injured baby T-Rex from Ludlow's InGen poachers — score one for the good guys — but in so doing invites the li'l one's carnivorous parents to their doorstep, and Eddie gets eaten.

Enter Ludlow, morally strict hunter Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite), and the rest of InGen's mercenaries to save the day.

With all their communications equipment trashed in the T-Rex attack, Ian has no choice but to work alongside Ludlow, whose comms setup was totaled when Nick and Sarah released InGen's captured dinosaurs. Tensions run high, but an abandoned InGen base could still have working devices to call for extraction. Together, Ludlow and Ian's groups navigate Isla Sorna's jungles filled with toothy dangers. A pack of Compys kills Dieter Stark (Peter Stormare), and the adult T-Rexes later stumble upon slumbering humans, eat InGen's paleontologist, and drive everyone else sprinting towards an eye-high grassy field.

The scene

So the InGen hunters flee into a large open field with nothing but "long grass." Tembo's trusted partner, Ajay Sidhu (Harvey Jason), shouts a warning: "Don't go into the long grass!" It's futile, as burly men push past the frightened expert who can sense something's not right. Ajay follows deeper into the cover-all greenery and quickly tosses his knapsack, submitting to the inevitable doom of marching forward by leaving his belongings to be found by someone else.

The camera glides parallel atop the long grass like an ocean's surface, showing only the heads of InGen hunters bobbing up and down in the distance. Ajay shouts another warning, but it's no use. All the commotion has drawn the attention of the raptors living there, as we see their heads begin to break the long grass' topside, like shark fins penetrating glassy waters.

InGen's hired help is shown leaving a trail as they push forward, the camera now looking downward from an aerial view. A quick cut to Ajay shows his eyes frantically darting in all directions, sensing predators on the prowl. He's right — another flip to the aerial coverage shows raptors leaving pitch-black trails in their wakes, headed straight towards the pack of panicking trespassers.

Before long, the last hunter in line is pulled under the grass. We hear a raptor's screech and catch a tail flailing above the field's sightline. Another goes down, then the next. The group starts changing direction like two kids playing "Pong" on Atari, back and forth, meeting more raptor attackers no matter which way. One raptor leaps into the air and pounces on an unfortunate soul with a flashlight, shining bright on the hungry dino assassin. There's no escape.

Ian, Sarah, Nick, and Kelly start to head into the long grass, not far behind the fleeing InGen cronies, but Nick stops everyone when he spots Ajay's bag. They pause and suddenly hear cries of agony in the distance — presumably Ajay's at its loudest — as raptors feast on flesh.

The impact (Ariel's take)

Matt has my full support on this pick as easily one of the scariest scenes in the movie. I've always been particularly partial to the other great raptor scene where Kelly annihilates one of the full-grown Velociraptors with gymnastics!!! But, admittedly, that would have to go down as the coolest scene in the movie, rather than the scariest. The T-Rex scene with Baby Rex, Mama Rex, and Papa Rex is definitely a close second, though, for sure.

But I digress! (What else is new?)

Matt hits the nail on the head here with his "Jaws" analogy, and I'm nothing if not a sucker for a "Jaws" analogy. It's fitting, really, that both are Spielberg. As with Bruce once he has two barrels in 'im, each one bobbing up to break the surface of the water, signaling impending terror, so too do the raptor's heads and tails. They pop up above the very tips of the long grass and you immediately know what's going to happen. Then, like watching two barrels rip through the water towards the Orca, the raptors tear through the sea of green about to grab their dinner. It doesn't even take any effort this time around. Where Muldoon (Bob Peck) had to cautiously attempt to outwit the clever girl that was hunting him, these guys just strapped the dinner bell to their necks and went for a jog through their home.

Unlike the scene with Muldoon and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), there really isn't much tension at play. You're not waiting and wondering if, but rather when they'll strike, and it all happens lightning fast. Ultimately, the raptors are evocative once again of a slasher villain. But rather than the OG Jason, these dinos are 2009 Jason (Derek Mears) bolting for Richie (Ben Feldman) with no reprieve.