Movies can be scary. In fact, movies can be really scary. And throughout the years, several horror films have proved the point, terrifying global audiences with their super atmospheric storylines as well as a few iconic jumpscares that still haunt viewers to this day. Still, the true meaning of the word varies, and thus what is scary for some may not be for others.
And what better place than Reddit to ask cinephiles what movie absolutely startled them out of their wits? From Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum to Fire in the Sky, here are some of the most frightening movies that have made the hearts of movie enthusiasts on the platform skip a beat.
1 ‘Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum’ (2018)
This terrifying South Korean found footage horror movie directed by Jung Bum-shik follows an internet broadcaster who reunites a team of people to work on a horror web series. When the crew travels to an abandoned asylum to record a live broadcast and the host starts pranking the guests, things start to get seriously out of hand.
An extremely nightmarish film through and through, Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum seemingly does not leave anyone indifferent. On Reddit, jaketwo91 reveals that they thought they were “completely immune” to being scared by horror movies until they came across the South Korean movie. “I actually got goosebumps watching Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, it genuinely creeped me out,” the user says. “I’m not really even sure what exactly it was, since it’s basically just Grave Encounters in Korean. But something about it really freaked me out.”
2 ‘Paranormal Activity’ (2007)
No wonder this 2007 feature made many lose sleep back in the day; the first movie out of the famous supernatural horror franchise Paranormal Activity depicts a couple’s increasing anxieties when a demonic presence starts to torment the two after moving into a suburban home.
Directed by Oren Peli, this memorable horror feature is still very much favored after all these years. Apparently, many people agreed with a Reddit user when they picked the movie as the scariest; in the comments, one of them even mentioned that the film “scared the hell out of” them, “and then I got to walk home at 1 am through Hollywood. Alone. And both my roommates were out of town.”
3 ‘Pulse’ (2001)
Also known as Kairo, Kiyoshi Kurosawa‘s mind-bending feature Pulse centers around a group of young residents who, after one of their friends commits suicide, find themselves falling victim to a strange series of events — including seeing visions of the dead friend on the wall and realizing that spirits may actually be trying to invade the human world through the Internet.
Among many similar reactions to the film on the platform, one of the most memorable was mustnttelllies’: “It genuinely caused an emotional spiral that almost landed me in the hospital.” Surely, Pulse is a movie that is not to meant for the faint of heart.
4 ‘The Descent’ (2005)
British horror The Descent depicts what happens when a caving expedition goes terribly wrong (except, fortunately, that isn’t always the case). When six women become trapped inside an unmapped cave system, they strive to get away from a very peculiar breed of flesh-eating predators.
Redditors seem to agree that the main reason why Neil Marshall and Jon Harris‘ film is so incredibly scary is because it is realistic — or at least, it deals with realistic fears. “I’d reckon only The Descent would still get to me. I think a part of it is the claustrophobia and darkness, since those are genuine, common fears,” a now-deleted account says.
5 ‘REC’ (2007)
This Spanish film starring Manuela Velasco and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza follows a young TV reporter and her cameraman who, after following emergency workers into a dark building while covering the night shift at the local fire station, find themselves trapped inside something disconcerting.
Some viewers were surprised to see the film so low down on the platform, including Bwebbmann. The user also adds that the movies are “best watched as one long film,” post adding that the second installment of the franchise was terrifying.
6 ‘Hereditary’ (2018)
One of A24’s most beloved horror movies to date, Ari Aster‘s unmatched Hereditary is everything everyone says it is and more. A grieving family finds themselves tormented by disturbing, tragic events after the death of Annie’s (Toni Collette) heartbroken mother.
The praise for Hereditary is certainly never-ending, and the beloved platform highlights that once again. “Went to the theater to see Hereditary not knowing it would deliver one of the biggest gut punches in any movie I’d ever see,” ghostraptor42 says. In a comment, a user also reflects on the same scene, adding that “I’ve never felt more alone and horrified. I just sat there with my mouth covered by my hands and stared as that unending scene unveiled.”
7 ‘Sinister’ (2012)
Starring Ethan Hawke as Ellison Oswalt, a true crime writer who finds a suspicious box of super 8 home movies in his new home, Sinister depicts the uncovering of a murder case in which the main star is an unknown serial killer whose crimes date back to the 1960s.
Apparently, there is something about Sinister‘s soundtrack that doesn’t sit right with cinephiles (in the best possible way). Often described as evocative of uneasy feelings, the movie features a thrilling score as well. “The soundtrack alone is enough to get your hairs rising,” syktty says. On another post, another user adds that the “found footage scenes have the scariest soundtrack I’ve ever heard in any movie. Just these disturbing filtered grainy moans over the crackle of static really hits a nerve unlike anything I’ve ever heard.”
8 ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ (2011)
Brilliantly executed by Lynne Ramsay, We Need to Talk About Kevin follows the strange title protagonist Ezra Miller, who does and says dangerous things as he matures, and his mother Eva (Tilda Swinton) who, despite it all still attempts to love her child. The intriguing thriller follows the desperate mother as she tries to piece together her life after an incident caused by her bizarre son.
“I don’t know if it quite fits into the horror category, but “We Need to Talk About Kevin” was one of the bleakest, most unsettling movies I’ve ever seen,” JoanieKoobs says and many agree. Surely, even if it doesn’t feature extreme content, the psychological drama is undoubtedly a very disturbing watch that provides tons of food for thought.
9 ‘A Dark Song’ (2016)
When a determined young woman named Sophia (Catherine Walker) and a damaged occultist (Steve Oram) come together to perform a dangerous ritual that will concede her deepest wishes — including contacting her son that was murdered by teens who practiced black magic — an unexpected turn of events takes place.
As for Redditors’ takes on A Dark Song? A great number of people seem to agree that the film is amazing and one of the best occult horrors ever. “I’d say the movie that instilled the most terror in me was A Dark Song,” abigaillevya says. Others even describe it as a “rare beauty” and “something that feels so real and deep.”
10 ‘Fire in the Sky’ (1993)
This 1993 film focuses on the disappearance of Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney) who goes for a closer look when he spots a bright light in a forest in the White Mountains but is abducted by a flying saucer in the meantime. He remains missing for five days while his co-workers are wrongly accused of murder.
Fire in the Sky seems to both amaze and terrify global viewers. On the platform, a user says that it features “the scariest alien abduction scene I’ve ever seen,” reminiscing on the effects the sci-fi fantasy film had on them as a child.
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