The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares


Horror movies that make the audience jump out of their seat are a fan favorite – and these scary flicks have mastered the jump scare.

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The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

Horror enthusiasts generally fall into one of two camps: fans of gore (Saw), and fans of the jump scare (Paranormal Activity). Although the two can certainly co-exist (and often do), some horror movies are literally designed to make viewers jump out of their seat, often without even showing the viewers what they’re afraid of. In other words, a good jump scare is like a science. Build the tension, set the mood, quiet everything down… and then BOOM, you’ve wet yourself. If you enjoy horror movies that make you jump, then here are some of the very best.

Updated September 8th, 2020 by Zach Gass: When it comes to what makes a great horror film, jump scares are a filmmaker’s bread and butter. They can have monsters, scary dudes in masks wielding sharp objects, demonic possessions, or whatever the flavor of the day might be, but if they don’t have jump scares, they won’t hold a horror hound’s attention very long. True, good horror movies aren’t made by jump scares alone, but for fans wanting a little extra oomph in their favorite scary movies, they should definitely check these out.

15 Paranormal Activity

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

When it comes to JUMP scares, can anything beat the Paranormal Activity movies? For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, the original film (released in 2007) centers on a young couple who are haunted by a supernatural presence in their home. In an attempt to capture the “haunting” on film, they set up surveillance cameras all over their house to document the strange occurrences. It seems like the grainy security footage would somehow minimize the scare factor, but it actually does the opposite. This movie singlehandedly proves that you don’t have to actually SEE the evil to be afraid of it.

14 The Conjuring

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

No one can forget the infamous “clap scene” in The Conjuring, a 2013 supernatural horror film that was frightening in its relative simplicity. After a family is terrorized by a dark entity in their Rhode Island farmhouse, they look to paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren to shed some light on what they’re dealing with.

Not exactly a unique storyline in terms of horror movies, but the unexpected scenes and scares in this movie will make you jump right out of your skin. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s currently available to stream on Netflix.

13 Creep

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

Creep is a 2014 “found footage” horror film that was originally released on video on demand before making its way to Netflix in 2015. The film follows a videographer named Aaron who agrees to work for Josef, a terminally ill (and seriously creepy) man who wants to make a series of videos for his unborn son. For those who haven’t seen it, just the trailer will have you jumping out of your skin. Sometimes the scariest things aren’t supernatural at all.

12 Hush

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

Total silence makes jump scares all the more frightening, which is exactly the 2016 slasher film Hush has made the list. The film centers around a writer named Maddie, a deaf-mute woman who finds herself being hunted like prey in the middle of nowhere by a masked killer.

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There are several times when, due to her hearing disability, Maddie remains completely oblivious to the fact that the killer is right behind her. The suspense is truly magnificent. This movie will have you jumping out of your seat more times than you can count.

11 The Babadook

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

As you can probably tell by the picture above, 2014’s The Babadook is nothing but a suspense-fueled, childlike nightmare that will cause you to second guess every book you read to your child from here on out. The story seems simple enough – a widowed mother reads a mysterious pop-up storybook called Mister Babadook to her son, who soon becomes convinced that Mister Babadook is real.

In terms of jump scares, screams, and sheer creepiness, this movie scores an 11/10. Watch it if you dare.

10 Insidious

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

2010’s Insidious, directed by James Wan, is the first installment in the Insidious franchise and the third in terms of series chronology. In the film, a couples’ son falls into a coma and becomes a vessel for ghosts who want to inhabit his body.

Things get dark real fast in this movie, and the unexpected twists and turns, particularly at the end, will have you screaming (no, seriously). Created by the same makers behind Paranormal Activity, this film knows how to send you flying out of your seat.

9 Scream

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

Scream can best be described as a “slasher film,” but it is also one of the best “jump scare” horror movies ever made. Released in 1996, Scream follows the life of Sidney Prescott, a high school student. She becomes the target of a mysterious killer called Ghostface. The film sometimes feels like a collection of horror movie clichés, but it’s also the perfect example of how to scare someone with something as simple as a phone call. It’s not often that a ringing phone can make your heart jump out of your chest, but that’s exactly what this movie manages to do over and over again.

8 The Lazarus Effect

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

The infamous dog scene in the movie trailer led us to believe that The Lazarus Effect was going to be a jump scare masterpiece, and that’s exactly what it was. When medical researchers develop a serum, code-named “Lazarus,” to assist coma patients, they soon realize that they’ve inadvertently discovered a way to bring the dead back to life. Whether it’s a dead animal or a dead human, both creatures can be brought back only in body. Do they still have a soul, or has it been replaced with something much darker? Watch and find out (and get ready to be jolted out of your seat).

7 A Quiet Place

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

As mentioned before, silence makes jump scares all the more effective, and no horror movie has ever been as quiet as A Quiet Place. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the plot revolves around a family struggling to survive alongside blind extraterrestrial creatures with an acute sense of hearing.

Any sound the family makes, however small, can be detected by the creatures from miles away, so their silence is crucial to their survival. As all horror enthusiasts know, the secret sauce to a good jump scare is tension, and this movie is fraught with it.

6 The Blair Witch Project

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

The Blair Witch Project, released back in 1999, tells the fictional story of three student filmmakers who set out on a hiking expedition to film a documentary about a local legend known as the Blair Witch. In this found footage documentary, the three students disappear but their equipment and footage is discovered a year later. Like most good horror films, the constant feeling of dread throughout the movie is what really primes the viewers for a good “jump.” Whether it’s the snapping of a twig in the darkness or an unexpected scream, viewers of the film become just as hyper-sensitive as the students who are allegedly filming it.

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5 Hell Fest

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

It was panned by some, but for most fans of the genre, Hell Fest was a return to form. Picture a classic gory slasher movie with all the beloved trimmings and a special appearance by the Candyman himself, Tony Todd, and set it in a Halloween-Horror-Nights-inspired theme park.

That’s Hell Fest in a nutshell. Because of the setting, the film is stuffed to the gills with jumpscares and in-your-face moments. Though it might feature some cookie-cutter elements, it feels like a dish of blood-soaked comfort food. That ending with the killer’s POV is also something worth talking about.

4 Brightburn

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

Ever wonder what would happen if Superman was evil? David Yarovesky, along with all three Gunn brothers attached, answers that question with this superhero-slasher flick, Brightburn. Not only does this film come with an exciting and original premise, but it comes with a hefty collection of jump scares as well, not to mention a post-ending body count reaching astronomical numbers. This movie maniac has no need for machetes, hatchets, or elaborate traps to bring the terror, all he needs is a well-aimed gaze. Mighty and merciless, Brightburn is certainly one superhero that won’t be joining the Avengers Initiative any time soon.

3 Evil Dead II

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

When it comes to jump scares, there are few who rack up the numbers as often or as much as the legendary Sam Raimi. With his Evil Dead series, Rami essentially became the undisputed king of intense and in-your-face horror flicks.

While his first flick in the series was iconic, it’s the second one that truly went for the gold. There’s no shortage of jumpscares in this Deadite-infested flick, but Raimi gives viewers a little something extra by fusing gut-turning horror with some of the best dark comedy ever seen in the genre. Ash said it best, “groovy…”

2 Drag Me To Hell

The 15 Best Horror Movies For Jump Scares

Of course, if viewers are looking for quantity over quality, Raimi has fans covered with this dive into the depths of damnation, Drag Me To Hell. The CGI might not hold up in places, the plot might be a bit stereotypical with its ancient curse, evil witch, and demonic activities, but if there’s one thing this flick’s got in spades, it’s the jump scares. In fact, it’s more than likely a safe bet that Drag Me to Hell is the most jumpscare heavy film mentioned. For fans looking for a good way to cram tons of scares into an hour and a half, this is it.

1 It (Chapters 1 and 2)

It’s two for the price of one with this pair of freaky films. While there might not be as many jump scares as the last entry on this list, the It films do things with their horror elements every horror flick should strive to do. They scare the audience, they keep them tense and on their toes, but at the same time, the movie is just as fun and enjoyable as it is nightmare-inducing. Tim Curry he might not be, but Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise will definitely keep viewers up at night. Over-the-top? Sure. Loud and unrealistic? maybe. Scary? You bet your fern.

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