Don't blink. Blink, and you're dead. Don't turn your back. And...don't...blink. Good luck.
~Doctor Who episode Blink.
What do Alfred Hitchcock and Doctor Who have in common?
In the episode Blink (10th Doctor, Season 4), we meet the Lonely Assassins--terrifying beings that feed on potential energy by zapping their victims into the past. And guess how they're disguised? As common 'weeping angel' statues. "Beware the weeping angels!"
I think that that device--taking something ordinary and turning it into a terror--is probably one of the best fiction devices in use. Granted, it can be overused. I also think it would take a very experienced, competent writer to pull it off because of the factors involved--making it believable (or at least plausible enough in the story-world that the reader's/watcher's disbelief is suspended) and drawing the terror out so well that you're forever afraid of seagulls or weeping angel statues. Ahem...yeah, that's me. *raises hand* But when it works...wow. It works!
Does anyone have a favorite book or movie where this technique is used well?