Love it or hate it, the Zac Efron ‘upside down’ trend is back: ‘Telling my kids this is inception’
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Despite coming out in 2008, when the youngest Gen Z-ers were still in elementary school, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, the only film of the franchise to be released in theaters, has become particularly popular among the younger generation — so much so that they’ve made the decision to re-create an iconic, albeit somewhat cringe-inducing, dance sequence featuring the franchise’s leading man, Zac Efron.

In the third and final HSM installment, Efron’s Troy Bolton becomes overwhelmed with inner conflict, as he must decide between pursuing his dream of basketball at the University of Albuquerque and continuing to hone his musical theater talents at the University of California, Berkeley. Amid all this, Troy’s girlfriend, Gabriella Montez, played by Vanessa Hudgens, is off pursuing her own goals at Stanford University and has resolved to skip the final school production.

Troy’s inner conflict comes to a head during the song “Scream,” during which he dances around the hallway. At one point, Troy repeatedly slides down the lockers and onto the floor, as his surroundings begin to rotate around him.

On Sept. 27, @kikibuurke posted a video of her and her friends trying their hand at the dramatic dance sequence. As of reporting, her video has more than 8.5 million views, 1.3 million likes and 63,000 saves. Several commenters are noting how well their re-creation started and how quickly it fell apart.

“The simultaneous struggle,” @snaildudee wrote in response to @kikibuurke’s video. The comment has since received more than 64,000 likes.

“It STARTED SO WELL,” @sidylights also wrote.

“Telling my kids this is inception,” @urhairlookssmall added, referencing a scene in the 2010 sci-fi film in which actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt finds himself in a fight in a similarly rotating hotel hallway.

More Gen Z TikTok creators have recently taken to the platform to re-create the dance number themselves, to the joy of many fellow users. The trend itself, however, isn’t exactly new — TikTok users have been documenting their “Scream” re-creations as far back as 2021. Over the past month, it seems the “upside down” trend has regained popularity.

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