With 13 new horror movies releasing in its first week alone, October is proving to be a busy time for horror movie fans. Though horror fans tend to be as diverse in their preferences as the genre itself is, it’s hard to completely deny the appeal of the occasional jump scare. The concept was believed to have been first introduced in the 1942 horror film Cat People and since then it has proven itself a beloved horror movie staple. Some films are known specifically because of their use of the technique.
However, just because jump scares are a part of horror filmmaking doesn’t guarantee that horror fans can’t tire of it. The technique can be downright irritating for some – it’s all a matter of preference. Thankfully the horror genre is, as previously acknowledged, diverse. Can’t stand jump scares but love horror films? Then these ten jump-scare-free Redditor picks are the right choice.
10/10 The Mist (2007)
Based on acclaimed author Stephen King’s 1980 novella of the same name, The Mist focuses on the inhabitants of a small town as a strange mist wreaks havoc. Redditor BigTuna5595 picks the film as their jump scare-free choice, simply responding with, “The Mist.”
The Mist borrows elements from other classic horror films like Night of the Living Dead, all while delivering an altogether different sort of fear. Those wanting something a little more tense than the possibility of a jump scare will do well to check out the film, as it keeps audiences guessing and creates a genuinely claustrophobic atmosphere.
9/10 As Above So Below (2014)
This Paris-set horror film failed to gain any significant ground with critics upon its release, however, audiences seemed to take to it. In the story of a group of explorers searching for the philosopher’s stone in the Parisian catacombs, Redditor Plot33 makes it their pick, saying, “As Above So Below.”
While the film may be a little too far-fetched for some, its found footage style and relentless delving into the traumas and feelings of its characters create an atmosphere that doesn’t need to rely on jump scares. Unsettling and tense, As Above So Below might not be for everyone, but it does win points for trying to take a different angle on the found footage horror genre.
8/10 The Fly (1968)
Filmmaker David Cronenberg gained considerable acclaim for this body horror remake of the classic Vincent Price film about a science experiment gone wrong. A now-deleted Redditor says, “The Fly – more a sci-fi than a horror film, though there are some very freaky moments. My favourite Cronenberg movie.”
Definitely not for those with weak stomachs, The Fly delves into just how disgusting (and terrifying) of a process it would be to turn into the eponymous insect. Much of the film’s terror comes from simply watching Jeff Goldblum transform – the likes of which don’t require any jump scares whatsoever making The Fly a unique horror experience.
7/10 The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Known primarily for its tiny budget and pioneering of the found footage genre, The Blair Witch Project avoids using jump scares and remains one of the most successful horror films of all time. Redditor g2g4m10 adds it to the list with, “Blair Witch Project.”
Rather than frighten audiences with the evil that lurks within the Burkittsville woods, The Blair Witch Project uses what can’t be seen to its advantage. Something is not right for the film students who venture into the woods, but exactly what that never quite presents itself to the audience. Instead, viewers are left to make their terrifying conclusions.
6/10 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
One of the few horror films to ever win big at the Oscars, Jonathan Demme’s adaptation of Thomas Harris’ serial killer novel took the world by storm upon its release. Redditor Baramos picks the film for its lack of jump scares, saying, “Silence of the Lambs…”
From its setting to its tone to the wonderful performances from Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs is indeed a first-rate horror film. Far more real and enduring than any typical horror genre contrivances could be, the film offers endless ways to unnerve its audience.
5/10 The Innocents (2021)
Not to be confused with the classic 1961 British horror film of the same name, The Innocents is a psychological horror thriller from Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt. Critically acclaimed but not widely seen, Redditor LoveScore happily recommends it with, “The Innocents! More people need to see this gem.”
The film focuses on a small group of children on a Norwegian housing estate who exhibit some very strange – and very dangerous telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Far from the clichés of mainstream horror, The Innocents utilizes a unique approach to the genre, the likes of which subvert traditional horror tactics in favor of something much more visceral.
4/10 Eden Lake (2008)
The idea of heading off to the woods for some camping has largely been done to death within the horror genre. Somehow, however, Eden Lake manages to revive the trope and give it a little something new. Redditor Shakespere seems to agree, saying, “Eden Lake. Jebus shmist it’s gotta be Eden Lake. Fucking terrified me.”
While jump scares can still add a great deal to a horror film when well used, Eden Lake proves that such tactics can easily take a backseat to a well-written, well-made film. Genuine fear can be found in a lot of different ways, and Eden Lake isn’t short on any of these possibilities – despite its disappointing box office take.
3/10 Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Arguably one of the most unique films about the Devil to have ever been made, the scares in Rosemary’s Baby come from the mystery surrounding protagonist Rosemary’s pregnancy. Redditor lupianwolf gives the film their seal of approval with, “Rosemary’s Baby.”
Audiences are more likely to be frightened by Rosemary learning that she’s being served questionable health shakes than they would be from any sudden or unexpected movement during the film. A true horror classic, Rosemary’s Baby moves along at an engaging pace, carrying with it a daunting feeling that everything isn’t what it seems to be.
2/10 The Exorcist (1973)
A classic that revolutionized horror, The Exorcist took the concept of demonic possession into the mainstream, horrifying audiences in the process. Redditor TheScientistSupreme picks it for its lack of jump scares, saying, “I have to go with The Exorcist.”
The scares in The Exorcist are largely confined to the evil that is brewing within the MacNeil family home. Watching a child grapple with the transformative qualities of demonic possession was an unheard-of horror movie concept in 1973, but even today, the film has a quality that draws viewers in and keeps them fixated on the eerie tale.
1/10 The Shining (1980)
The second Stephen King work to make its way onto this list, master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was able to imbue The Shining with scares that have stood the test of time. Redditor phnuggle agrees, saying, “The Shining. Just a massively unnerving affair but I don’t remember ever jumping at any point.”
Since its initial release, The Shining has been accused of many things, with King famously not finding it to his liking. But regardless of King’s opinion, the greater public has long since labeled The Shining a masterpiece – and rightly so. The film ventures deep into the troubled mind of Jack Torrance, and there’s more than enough there to ensure terror.