The jump scare is one of the easiest, laziest, and most maligned techniques in horror cinema. For decades, it’s been used by directors as an easy way to get a cheap scare, and usually involves a long stretch of silence interrupted by a sudden loud noise. These moments doesn’t necessarily make a movie scary, they just mean that audiences are momentarily surprised.
But in the right hands, and deployed at the right moment, the jump scare can be a highly effective device. The most skilled directors use them to add to the tension and intensity of a movie, letting an audience know that anything could happen at any given moment. Whether it’s a monster appearing from the shadows, a hand from under the bed, or something in the background making a sudden movement, the best jump scares are hard to forget.
So here’s our look at some of the most memorable, effective, and terrifying jump scares in horror history. Hold on tight!