10 Most Terrifying Jump Scares In Recent Horror Movies

These fantastic jump scares provided some of the most terrifying moments from recent horror movies.

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A strange noise causes a character to walk into a dark room. The soundtrack goes quiet as they slowly look around for whatever caused the sound.

Viewers know that something bad is going to happen, and this anticipation creates a sense of tension as they wait for the inevitable to happen. Then, when the tension reaches a sweet spot, something appears onscreen with a loud musical sting.

This is a jump scare, and they've become one of the most common ways that horror filmmakers frighten moviegoers. They’re simple to pull off and can be incredibly effective when done right, however they’ve also been overused to the point that viewers can see them coming from a mile away.

While there are plenty of examples throughout the genre of how to do these scares properly, with the corridor scene from The Exorcist III and the demon reveal from Insidious being just some of them, far too many modern jump scares fall flat on their face.

Despite their saturation, there are nevertheless some recent horror films that contain genuinely good jump scares that prove that this formula can still be downright terrifying in the right hands.

10. The Magazine Rack - The Nun II (2023)

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Warner Bros.

After appearing in The Conjuring 2, demonic nun Valak has become one of the most iconic figures in contemporary horror. While their first spin-off movie failed to deliver the same level of fear that this franchise is known for, 2023 sequel The Nun II was a far better outing than its predecessor.

Set four years after the events of the first film, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) is tasked with investigating a series of murders that are believed to be committed by Valak, who's still processing Irene’s friend Maurice (Jonas Bloque) following the events of the previous film.

Her investigation takes her to France where she tracks down a young witness to one of Valak’s killings. Following the boy, Irene finds herself in a darkened alley in front of an eerily lit magazine rack. The pages begin to flutter open, forming a picture of the monstrous nun.

Tension is everything in this sequence as an offscreen noise causes the camera to slowly pan into the darkness before returning to the magazines. Irene steps closer, and as the lights flicker Valak manifests from the pages and attacks her.

While this series' scares are known to follow a similar formula, this sequence's pitch-perfect tension and timing reminded viewers how effective these jump scares can be.

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