Ever since a bus screeched into frame in 1942
horror classic Cat People, jump scares have become a prominent fixture of the
When they’re done right, these scares can be
incredibly effective, taking us by surprise with genuinely creepy imagery. Both
The Conjuring and Insidious are the perfect examples of horrors that do jump
scares right. Unfortunately, though, far too many horrors rely solely on this
tactic to generate their scares.
There’s only so many times we can watch a
character look in the direction of an ominously spooky noise as the
atmospheric music gives way to the musical sting of whatever ghostly presence
is nearby before the experience wears thin. It’s cheap, lazy, and can easily
see a horror devolve into a comedy.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of devilish
delights out there that prove that jump scares aren’t what make films scary.
Relying on their suspenseful atmospheres and gripping narratives to immerse us
in unnerving tension, these flicks stand as being some of the most frightening
horror offerings to date.
Although they may include the occasional jump
scare, none of them are cheap or the main source of the encompassing terror.