What elements make a good horror movie? An engaging story, a dark setting, compelling characters and most importantly, a few (or many) well-executed jump scare scenes. Jump scares can be considered as the most effective approach to remind the audience that they are watching a horror flick, and get their attention.
However, executing a jump scare that will make the audience hop out of their seats is not an easy task. There are several variables that need to be considered to catch the audience off-guard. The timing, the background music, the setting, every tiny detail matters. That being said, here are 15 of the best jump scare scenes of all time:
15. The Sudden Emergence (Jaws)
Steven Spielberg’s 1975 Ocean Thriller, Jaws is still considered as one of the best shark films. The best thing about the flick is that none of the scenes seem to overstay their welcome, but the element of fear looms over during the entire 124 minutes.
One of the most iconic jump scenes from the movie involved Martin Brody waiting to hook the shark while looking in the opposite direction. The 25 feet shark, from behind, pops out of the ocean all of a sudden, much to Brody’s (and the audience’s) surprise. It was a simple yet effective scene that got everyone’s adrenaline pumping.
14. The Wardrobe (The Conjuring)
The first installment in the Conjuring franchise is filled with some of the most intense jump scare scenes. Part of the purpose of a jump scare scene is to catch the audience by surprise. However, most of the scenes leading to a jump scare moment in the movie made it quite obvious that something big was about to go down but when something actually went down, nobody saw it coming.
The scene in discussion here is the closet scene where the mother opens the wardrobe to find out the weird stuff going on, only to discover the supernatural creature on the top. The sudden reveal of the creature can give people nightmares for many days.
13. Tall Man Walking (It Follows)
One of the most simple and underrated jump scare scenes has got to be in the 2014 Psychological Thriller, “It Follows”. The story revolves around Jay, who is stalked by a supernatural being named, “It”.
The scene where Jay is being assured by her friends of everything being normal, followed by the sudden arrival of “It”, disguised as a tall man with disturbing black eyes was terrifying. The appearance of “It” followed by his surprising entry made for a scary jump moment.
12. Vomiting in the Tent (The Sixth Sense)
Sixth Sense, the movie about a young kid being able to see and communicate with the dead, was a sleeper hit. The ending of the movie alone was enough to classify it as a masterpiece. Despite not being a full-fledged horror flick, the movie was filled with a few jump scares here and there.
One of such scenes featured Cole in a tent feeling the presence of a being, when all of a sudden, an apparition of a young girl vomiting appears behind him. It was a short and sweet jump scare moment that no one saw coming.
11. The Projector Scene (IT)
Based on Stephen King’s highly acclaimed novel, IT emerged as a smashing hit. The story about a killer clown hunting down kids, once every 27 years was a challenging concept to make a film about. However, Andy Muschietti did an excellent job.
One of the most shocking scenes of the movie was when the kids were studying details about Pennywise the clown, through a projector. All of a sudden, the projector started controlling itself, making the lights go on and off, with the sudden emergence of a giant Pennywise. The few seconds’ scene was enough to fasten the heartbeats of many.
10. The Running Girl (Annabelle)
The Conjuring spin-off had a decent story. The film was great for a one-time watch. There were a number of scenes in the movie which would make you wish that you weren’t watching them alone.
One such scene was when the little girl, running towards a room with the door partially closed, transformed into an adult supernatural being upon entering the room. The reason why such a scary scene is so high up in this list is due to it being shown in the trailer, which took away its high shock value.
9. The Bathing Ghost (Jessabelle)
The 2014 horror flick revolved around Jessabelle being haunted by a long-tormented spirit anticipating her arrival to her childhood home. Although the movie didn’t score big numbers on the Box Office, it had some out-of-the-blue scare scenes.
The most talked about scene is the Bathtub scene where Jessabelle is seen resting in the bathtub with her eyes closed. The lights go out all of a sudden and the spirit is then seen sitting in the pool in front of the protagonist. Although something fishy was expected as soon as the lights went out, the sudden appearance of the spirit was an extremely shocking moment.
8. Inside the Closet (The Ring)
The Ring emerged as a cult classic and is still watched to this day. As if the story about an unseen force killing the person seven days after they watch a cursed videotape, wasn’t scary enough, the film includes a few jump scare scenes too!
One of such scenes featured Ruth (mother of the victim, Katie) urging her sister Rachel to investigate her daughter’s death. The scene, which is quite emotional and slow, then suddenly pans to the moment when Ruth discovers Katie’s vandalized corpse in a closet. The scene was unexpected and served its purpose well.