Movies Known for Their Jump Scares

A “jump scare” occurs when a filmmaker utilizes a loud bang or abrupt cut to shock the audience, prompting them to leap from their seats in panic. Nowadays, most horror directors utilize them sparingly, as it is not difficult to frighten the audience by blasting them with unexpected loud noises, and many people dislike the feeling of being cheaply terrorized. However, the majority of directors use these scares in a predictable manner, so you can often anticipate them well in advance.

1. Psycho


Even while jump scares did not catch on immediately after Cat People, they made their way into the mainstream through Alfred Hitchcock’s films, notably Psycho. In fact, many have remarked that a specific jump fright acted as the impetus for future horror. I’m confident that most have seen the photograph from whence this particular jump originates. This may be a spoiler for those unfamiliar with the film, but it occurs at the end when Vera Miles is searching for Norman Bates’ mother and he is about to discover her snooping. She observes a woman seated with her back turned in the basement. Mrs. Bates is revealed to be a skeleton when she spins her around in circles. The viewer must initially believe that Mrs. Bates was the murderer. This disclosure revealed how psychologically ill Norman Bates truly was, elevating the horror of the picture to a new level, both through horrible story detail and the unexpected shock of seeing a brightly lit body that we had only moments before believed to be alive. Psycho gave birth to modern slasher films. Such films as Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street were influenced by the film. The list continues. Consequently, what this groundbreaking film did influenced future horror films.

2. American Werewolf in London

American werewolf in London

Possibly the most prevalent and well-known sort of jump scare, the mirror scare occurs in this movie when a character either closes a medicine cabinet or stares into a standing mirror while something terrifying is visible in the reflection.

3. The Exorcist III

In contrast to the majority of the other films on this list, The Exorcist III does not contain a significant number of startling moments. The fact that it contains one of the most effective jump scares ever made it worthy of this spot, however. The beheading of the nurse in Exorcist III is an unforgettable example of a jump scare because it maintains its intensity even after being seen numerous times.

Once the surprise has passed on most jumps, so has the majority of the horror associated with them. On the other hand, this is not the case with Exorcist III, which, over the period of five minutes, so skillfully builds up an unsettling sense of dread that the jump almost feels like a cherry on top of the cake.

4. The Conjuring


The jump scare is so effective that a teaser trailer was constructed around it. In this scene, the scariest in the first Conjuring film that spawned an entire universe, director James Wan plays us brilliantly: there is the slow lure down the staircase, the bouncing basketball, the exploding lightbulb, and then a moment of silence before the hands reach in from nowhere for a fast clap-clap. All of these elements come together to create the final effect. A wonderful rejoinder that gives people a reason to watch horror movies. 

5. The Ring 

You may argue that this type of cut-away is the cheapest method, as it randomly interrupts a riveting conversation, but that does not make it less powerful. And in The Ring, it is all the more striking for providing one of our initial glimpses of the twisted, frightening, Munch-like expressions Samara leaves on her victims. We also saw her face, and we will not forget it any time soon.

6. The Descent

The Descent

The movie about friends trapped in a cave is claustrophobically terrible long before the creatures appear, but when they do, the suspense escalates to the point where some have called The Descent the best horror film of the 2000s. The filmmaker mixes two effective distraction methods for this horrifying “boo”: we’re both emotionally invested in the debate and attempting to follow it as Marshall’s camera wanders from person to person, the action already veiled by night-vision. When the camera swivels back to reveal a monster lurking behind Alex Reid’s Rebecca, we are caught completely off guard. Cue the piercing snarl.

7. Paranormal Activity

Oren Peli directed the supernatural horror film Paranormal Activity, originally named Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, which was released in 2007. Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat feature in the picture, which was written by James Wan, Leigh Whannell, and Jason Pagan and produced by Jason Blum and Steven Schneider.

The plot focuses on a young couple whose home is plagued by a ghostly entity. For scientific investigation, they begin to capture “ghost” activities on video. The original concept for the picture was independent, but Paramount Pictures later acquired it. After the success of The Silent House (2010), Peli opted to make a more mainstream horror picture with this Alcon Entertainment-financed feature.

8. Creep


A clerk at a video store becomes persuaded that a customer is a serial killer. This “thriller” is actually a dark comedy, yet it is one of the creepiest movies I have ever watched. The film’s ability to create tension and unease with no effort and no special effects is unsettling. The camerawork is straightforward, and there are no major plot twists, yet the entire thing makes your skin crawl.

Simple premise: A man obtains a job at a video store and soon discovers that his most frequent customer is a notorious serial murderer. He cannot bring himself to give him in, so he follows him around as he commits crimes at night.

9. Hush

Hush is an American psychological horror film that was released in 2016 and was written and directed by Mike Flanagan. The film stars Kate Siegel as a deaf writer who is tormented by a masked murderer. After a Halloween party, Maddie Young and her boyfriend John are travelling through the woods to her parents’ house on Halloween night. John is bitten in the jugular vein by a man they struck when he was walking on the road.

10. Se7en

Se7en is considered a horror film because to its visceral and horrific representation of crime and serial murder, despite its more realistic and dramatic subject matter. As law enforcement discovers the decomposing corpse of another victim, we must believe that we have seen everything there is to see at this time. However, the dead body is not entirely lifeless, as a single startling cough is sufficient to cause viewers and everyone in the room to jump in fear. The question of how this individual has survived in such a condition of deterioration is more frightening than the initial shock. Every time a jump fright occurs, it triggers a train of thought and concerns that disturbs us.