When deployed correctly, the reveal that the action within a story was actually only an extended nightmare can be a shocking and effective twist. But let's face it: The vast majority of the time, revealing that a sequence was "all just a dream" is a lazy way of justifying trippy imagery without actually embedding it in the context of the story.
Since long before old Fredward Krueger cropped up in his first nightmare, horror moviemakers have relied on dream sequences to add in a handful of scares which the narrative simply didn't have room for or the internal logic to justify. However, not every dream sequence is guaranteed to be a lazy excuse for jump scares.
What makes the sequences featured here stand out is how they are used to deepen the film's existing themes and how cleverly they reflect and distort the film's story. Not to mention the fact that they're terrifying to boot.
With that in mind, here are ten dream sequences scarier than any jump scare nightmare.
And speaking of nightmares, to make things a little less predictable, this list has opted to leave out the adventures of one Mr. Krueger.