10 Horror Movies That Are Basically All Jump Scares

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10 Horror Movies That Are Basically All Jump Scares

Horror movies come in all shapes and sizes. There’s psychological horror, so-called “elevated” horror, creature features, zombie features, ghost stories – you get the point. While some movies rely on atmosphere and tone to create that creeping feeling of dread, other movies utilize jump scares to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

What constitutes a jump scare? Basically, any time there’s an abrupt, hard cut and a LOUD, JARRING noise meant to startle the audience – that’s a jump scare. Sometimes it can be cheap (like the “jumping cat out of nowhere” cliché, or relying on non-diegetic music cues to startle the audience), but if used properly by a director who knows what they’re doing, jump scares can be wildly effective (like the birthday party scene in Signs – you know the one).

People enjoy watching these kinds of movies because they want to jump out of their skin. To feel that intense dread and racketing tension; it’s like a 90-minute buzz of adrenaline. A lot of times, movies are lambasted for their use of excessive jump scares. And while some do rely too much on the “cheap” type of jump scare, there are plenty of quality movies that don’t.

If you’re looking for a good films that doesn’t go easy in the terror department, here are ten horror movies that are basically all jump scares (according to statistics gathered by WheresTheJump.com).

RELATED: 15 Best Jump Scares in Horror History



10 Ghost Stories


Ghost Stories, an anthology-style horror movie from directors Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, follows Phillip Goodman, a professor who specializes in debunking psychics and instances of supernatural phenomena. He’s given three cases to investigate, and as you might expect, things get weird.

Ghost Stories originally started as a stage play; Dyson and Nyman utilized a wide-arrange of old-school tricks to get the audience jumping out of their seats in person, and wisely brought that old-school feel to their film adaptation, packing in 21 jump scares. It’s a wonderful throwback to the horror films of yesteryear, featuring a genuinely unnerving atmosphere coupled with a gentle through-line of humor, all told with a sly and knowing wink.

9 The Conjuring 2

Warner Bros. Pictures

James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 contains more jump scares than any film in the connected Conjuring universe, coming in at 22 jolts over the course of its 135-minute running time. Wan’s films have been criticized by some who find issue with his over reliance on jarring jump scares (especially in his non-horror films like Aquaman), but the seasoned horror director knows how to use them.

Perhaps due to the film’s length (and overall quality of the story), the jump scares in The Conjuring 2 don’t feel cheap or overused. Wan – who unsurprisingly has another movie on this list – rackets up the tension to unbelievable heights, before finally hitting the audience with a perfectly timed shock of horror. Jump scares don’t come better than this.

8 The Grudge

Sony Pictures Releasing

The Grudge, the American remake of the incredibly popular (and terrifying) Japanese film Ju-On, stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as a nurse living in Tokyo, who is exposed to “the grudge,” a supernatural curse that is born when someone dies in a state of extreme rage or sorrow. The curse claims and eventually kills its victims before moving on to the next unfortunate soul.

Director Takashi Simizu manages to recapture the dread-soaked atmosphere and creepy imagery that made his Japanese original so popular (a whole generation will forever be haunted by that image of the meowing little boy). But Simizu also leans more heavily into the shock-inducing jump scares; the American remake has 23 jump scares, as opposed to the 15 found in his more atmospheric original. It’s not a perfect movie, and the original may edge it out ever so slightly, but The Grudge is an early-2000s horror classic that will have you clutching your chest throughout its 90-minute runtime.

7 It: Chapter One

IT Movie Alternate Ending Revealed by Losers' Club Actor
Warner Bros Pictures

Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s seminal novel follows a group of bullied teens who band together to kill a terrifying shape-shifting clown known as Pennwyise, played by the incredibly unnerving Bill Skårsgard. The film features a handful of truly nightmarish sequences that linger long after the credits roll. At 23 jump scares, It: Chapter One really packs them in. But given the film’s two-hour-and-fifteen minute runtime, the jolts don’t feel nearly as excessive as that number may suggest.

Funny enough, the follow-up – Chapter Two – features an equal amount of jump scares, but given the film’s close to three-hour running time, the scares don’t feel nearly as abundant.

6 Drag Me to Hell

Universal Pictures

After directing three Spider-Man films back-to-back, Sam Raimi took a break from the big-budget Hollywood action movies and returned to his horror roots with the uproarious and terrifying Drag Me to Hell. The movie stars Alison Lohman as Christine Brown, a loan officer who evicts an old woman (who happens to be an ancient witch) from her home, and becomes the victim of a relentless, supernatural curse.

If you’re a fan of the director’s mix of over-the-top humor and gross-out horror, you will find a lot to love in Drag Me to Hell. While the film has its detractors for its overuse of LOUD jump scares (of which it has 23), Raimi uses these jolts of terror to create a consistent atmosphere of high-strung tension and dread, placing you directly into the character’s shoes to great effect.

RELATED: These Are the Greatest Final Scenes in Horror Movie History

5 Insidious

Patrick Wilson in Insidious

Insidiouswhich follows a family trying to rescue their comatose son from a supernatural realm known as “The Further” – squeezes 24 total jump scares in its economic runtime. The imagery in this film is truly the stuff of nightmares, and James Wan manages to pull off not just one, but two jump scares that will go down as some of the best in horror movie history. (If you’ve seen the film, you know exactly which ones I’m talking about).

Unlike The Nun or The Curse of La Llorona, Wan knows when to lean into the trusted jump scare, and when to play it cool, resulting in a movie that feels very much like a twisted ride through a haunted house. His masterful control of mood and atmosphere is why James Wan is one of the most successful horror directors working today.

4 The Beyond

Lucio Fulci's The Beyond
Medusa Film

Notorious Italian horror director Lucio Fulci gave the world one of his best films with the release of The Beyond in 1981, a film that was viewed generally unfavorably upon its initial release but has developed a passionate and devout cult following in the years since. The Louisiana-set gothic horror movie follows Liza, a young woman who inherits an old hotel which may or may not be a literal gateway to hell. The film is a surreal, gaillo-inspired descent into madness that is not for the faint of heart.

Not only does Fulci create a masterful atmosphere of uneasiness, he doesn’t skimp on the jump scares, either. The 87-minute film has a total of 27 scares, meaning you’re in for a jump every three minutes. If you have a weak ticker, you may want to stay away from this one.

3 Evil Dead II

The Evil Dead 1200 x 630
New Line Cinema

Sam Raimi will forever be remembered for his contribution to the horror genre with The Evil Dead franchise. While the famous director already makes an appearance on this list, one of his “scariest” movies (at least in regard to jump scares) also happens to be his best – and that’s the classic Evil Dead II.

When Ash once again opens the Book of the Dead, the gory, disorienting insanity that follows will make you scream and laugh in equal measure. But despite all the humor, Raimi manages to cram 27 jump scares into the lean and mean 84-minute movie, making it one of the best – and most economical – horror offerings on this list.

2 The Haunting in Connecticut 2: The Ghosts of Georgia

Ghosts of Georgia

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: The Ghosts of Georgia is a pretty standard haunted house movie: a family moves into an old home in Georgia, and mysterious occurrences begin to take over their lives. Though the film was never intended to be a sequel to The Haunting in Connecticut (hence the Georgia setting), the studio revamped the script to capitalize on the success of that film.

Unfortunately, The Ghosts of Georgia isn’t very good. The movie was critically lambasted when it was released, and general audiences haven’t been very kind to it, either. But the film earns its spot on this list because it includes approximately 32 jump scares which, according to WheresTheJump.com, is more than any horror movie released…well, ever.

RELATED: The Best Haunted House Movies of All Time, Ranked

1 Host (2020)

Host movie cast
Vertigo Releasing

Rob Savage’s surprise COVID hit Host was one of the first films released during the pandemic that was shot entirely remotely. The film follows a group of friends who hold a séance over Zoom, and get picked off one-by-one by the demonic presence they have inadvertently summoned. It’s a simple premise, told uniquely, that takes full advantage of it’s limited resources with some very impressive results.

Host has approximately 23 jump scares, meaning it doesn’t set the record for most scares in a movie (as we’ve already seen, that award belongs to The Haunting in Connecticut 2), but at only 56 minutes long, Host has more jump scares per minute than any other film on this list, with one every two and a half minutes. If you’re looking for a streamlined, scare-a-minute movie, you can’t do much better than Host.

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