10 Horror Films With Terrifying Sound Design

10. The Ring (2002)

DreamWorks Pictures

Remakes of horror films often pale in comparison to the original. This is especially true when it comes to western adaptations of J-horrors, with The Eye, One Missed Call, and 2020’s The Grudge all losing the sinister spark of their eastern counterparts. One exception to the rule, though, is Gore Verbinski’s The Ring.

The remake of Hideo Nakata’s J-horror classic Ringu, the American version follows the same general premise: a journalist (Naomi Watts) finds herself investigating a cursed VHS tape linked to a series of strange deaths. However, after watching the tape herself, she has only seven days to break the curse before she’s killed by the malevolent force behind it.

Like the original, the palpable sense of dread lies primarily within its selection of terrifying imagery and unsettling atmosphere, which is greatly amplified by the sound design.

Through adding the peircing screech of television static to the backdrop of Hans Zimmer’s unnerving score, The Ring easily crawls under the viewer's skin.

Throw in clever sound editing that’ll have you jumping out your skin every time a shrill ringing phone interrupts the eerie silence and you have some of the most effective sound design in horror history.

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Glasgow-based cinephile who earned a Master's degree in film studies to spend their time writing about cinema, video games, and horror.