A few days ago, I celebrated my birthday. I’m not writing this to get congratulations (thanks anyway!) but to get a point. You see, on the very same day, the celebratory premiere of “The Nun 2” was held, and I got invited. Unfortunately, this time, I had to decline the offer. On my birthday, I celebrate with my wife and family unless I want to abstain from certain things for a few months or, even worse, become a monk who sleeps on the sofa. The premiere ended, and reviews of the film began to appear on the various websites, in the Facebook groups dealing with horror, and more. One of the more recurring claims in these reviews was that The Nun 2 had nothing to offer besides those cheap scares known as jump scares. “The whole movie is jump scares,” someone exaggerated and said, “and everything is very predictable.”
I will complete “The Nun 2” in the coming days, but these reviews couldn’t help but raise a question for me. See, I am not too afraid of horror movies, maybe because I have seen almost all of them. It’s tough to surprise me with jump scares, a cheap “scare” tactic in most cases. Although I remember a few scenes that made me almost jump out of my seat and scream, as if my Liverpool had scored a winning goal in extra time, I usually see the scare coming from a mile away and am unaffected. I guess I’m not alone.
Are movies based almost entirely on jump scares pretty average or below, or is it possible to combine effective scares with high-quality or even more “intelligent” frights? You may find the answer in the films that include the most significant jump scares. Since I don’t have enough time or ability to watch movies and write down the number of jump scares in each one, even if it could be interesting, I was happy to discover sites like Where’s The Jump that do the trick. The website rates the jump scares in each movie indicates at which point precisely the scare appears, briefly describes what the scene includes (the more successful scenes are in bold), and also gives them an overall score (which, of course, does not indicate the overall score of the movie).
Of course, this list of movies with the most jump scares is dynamic and could change quite a bit, maybe even after someone counts the amount of jump scares in “The Nun 2”. So, what movie has the most jump scares? Here are the top 10, headed by a film you may have missed or even forgotten you ever saw.
What Is A Jump Scare?
A jump scare is a technique often used in horror films and video games. The main aim is to scare the audience by surprising them with an abrupt change in image or event, usually co-occurring with a loud, jarring sound. The jump scare is considered “one of the most basic building blocks of horror movies.”
In the optimistic scenario, such scenes will make the audience – well, jump and scare. Most of the time, however, the viewers may get bored and see these scares as unappealing and ineffective. Some critics have described jump scares as a lazy way to frighten viewers and believe that the horror genre has declined in recent years following an over-reliance on the trope, establishing it as a cliché of modern horror films.
However, some jump scares can be pretty artful and compelling, depending on how they are executed and integrated into the story and the atmosphere. Jump scares can also elicit a solid physiological and emotional response from the audience, which can be thrilling and satisfying for some horror fans. Therefore, whether a jump scare is considered “cheap” may depend on personal preference and taste.
Horror Movies With The Most Jump Scares
IT: Chapter 2 (2019)
“II: Chapter 2” is one of the highest-grossing horror films ever, and you can see it on the list of movies with the most jump scares as well. The film takes place 27 years after the first film’s events and introduces the members of the “Losers Club” and their renewed fight against the murderous clown. It’s hard to find unanimity about its quality among horror fans and critics, with the recurring claim being that it’s a long film that lasts almost three hours (two hours and 49 minutes, to be exact) and doesn’t justify it. That could be why it has so many scares: 23, by the count of the Where’s The Jump people, with the majority in the early parts of the film. With the possible exception of a few effective scares, most scenes are predictable.
General note: In some cases, scenes from the movies we mention will appear later in the list. I recommend not to watch them if you have not seen the film because the entire viewing experience can affect how you will be affected by the scene. In the case of “IT: Chapter 2,” the descriptions of the jumps contained spoilers about the fates of the characters, so you can make do with the trailer for now:
Frieday the 13th (2009)
Jason is here, and not for the last time. The rebbot and the 12th film in “Frieday the 13th” franchise follows a group of young people who go to a cabin near Crystal Lake, where they encounter the masked killer Jason Voorhees. The jump scares are mostly caused by Jason’s sudden appearances, attacks, or kills, involving weapons and stuff. Some of the jump scares are also from other characters or animals that surprise the main characters. The movie has a total of 23 jump scares, which is considered very high, but the scenes are rarely effective or memorable.
The Grudge (2004)
Remember the years when Sarah Michelle Gellar was one of the hottest horror stars? So our Buffy has stepped down over the years, partly to cook in the kitchen, but she’s responsible for some horror movies many of us grew up on. “The Grudge,” based on a Japanese film that got several rather mediocre sequels, is considered by some horror fans to be a cult.
It has some scary scenes – 23 in number, to be exact – although it seems easier to remember it or the disturbing images of the deformed boys and girls, who strangely walk around the house and make strange noises. And yes, that includes the ghost who did something almost obscene to one of the characters under the covers. But maybe that’s just my overdeveloped imagination.
You may have already forgotten, but in 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic caused us to be in long and depressing closures. British director Rob Savage, who uploaded a panic video to YouTube that went viral at the beginning of the year, thought it was good. The film is from the found footage subgenre, or Computer Screen films, in which the viewer sees everything through digital screens. It deals with friends who hold a séance via “Zoom,” and quickly discovers that everyone is in danger. The film was based mainly on an impressive number of jump scares (23), even more special if you consider that the film is less than an hour long. So maybe, considering its jumps per screen time, it may be the horror movie with the most jump scares per minute, or something like that (I’m suck at Math).
Most of the jump scared didn’t leave a unique mark on me, but I may be wrong. In 2022, a study was published in which scientists took a group of people, showed them horror films, and examined the effect of the movie on their physical parameters by comparing the resting heart rate to the peak moments of the film, especially the jump scares. In this list, believe it or not, “Host” was ranked first and was awarded the title of “world’s scariest movie according to science,” or something like that, while ahead of “Sinister” (which was ranked first in a similar study before), “Insidious,” “The Conjuring,” “Hereditary” and more.
Pennywise, it turns out, knows how not only to make money – it’s the highest-grossing horror movie ever – but also to scare us. The film also includes 23 scares, in most of which Pennywise makes a surprise appearance or does something unexpected. It may be that we will remember other things from this film, such as the excellent opening scene or the creepy performance of Billy Skarsgård as the clown.
However, there are some memorable scares: for example, the projector scene, in which Pennywise’s character grows and grows until the clown appears by surprise and startles the children. One of the reasons this scene is thriving maybe because it was the first time the child actors saw Pennywise, so their horrified reactions seem authentic.
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
“Drag Me to Hell” is a controversial film directed by the horror expert San Raimi (who wrote the script with his brother). On the one hand, it has ridiculous scenes that are hard not to laugh when you watch them. On the other hand, many of these scenes are out of awareness and a massive love for the genre. The result is entertaining and full of reflexivities, with some scenes that manage to scare.
The film is about a loan officer (Alison Lohman) who refuses to grant a loan to a gypsy woman. This gypsy, in response, sends jump scares at her for a good few days, with a curse that she should end up in hell. It turns out that the road to hell is paved with a lot of good scares.
Scream 3 (2000)
The movie is the third installment of the Scream franchise, and it follows Sidney Prescott, who is haunted by a new Ghostface killer. The killer targets the cast of a movie based on Sidney’s life, and Sidney has to face her past and stop the killer. The jump scares are mostly from Ghostface popping up, stabbing, or slashing someone. Some of the jump scares are also from false alarms, such as phones ringing, doors slamming, or people appearing unexpectedly. The movie has 23 jump scares in total, which is very high, and they are average in my opinion. Maybe thats why the movie considered ny many as the worse at the series.
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
“Annabelle: Creation” is a prequel to the 2014 film “Annabelle” and the fourth installment in The Conjuring Universe. the movie is about a dollmaker and his wife who welcome a group of orphaned girls into their home. However, a possessed doll, shut away for the past 12 years, soon begins to torment them. The doll is named Annabelle and it is connected to a demon named Toby, who wants to take over the body of one of the girls, Janice.
The jump scares characteristics of the movie are that it has 23 jump scares, of which one is major and 22 are minor. The movie has a jump scare rating of 4.5 out of 5, meaning that it is packed with jump scares, some of them are effective. Personally I was more impressed by the other asceptcs of the films. which had some terrific scenes involving possesed kids making weird moves, scarecrow and one terrific doll.
Freddy Vs. Jason (2013)
If you are a visitor of this website, you probably don’t need a further explanation about Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, some of the biggest horror villains ever, “Freddy vs. Jason” put the two iconic slasher villains against each other in a bloody showdown. The movie’s plot revolves around Freddy Krueger, who has lost his power to kill people in their dreams because the residents of Springwood have forgotten about him. He uses Jason Voorhees, a seemingly unstoppable killing machine, to spread fear and revive his legend. However, things go awry when Jason starts killing Freddy’s potential victims, and the two horror icons fight each other for supremacy.
The movie is filled with jump scares, especially sudden and loud moments meant to startle the audience. According to Where’s The Jump? the film has 24 jump scares, of which one is significant and 23 are minor. The website also gives the movie a jump scare rating of 4.0 out of 5, indicating that it is full of jump scares, but most feel cheap and unoriginal.
I like “Insidious,” and luckily, I’m not alone. Ostensibly, this is a routine ghost film about lost souls that haunt an American family, a medium that transports them between worlds and other subplots, demons, and monsters that we have come to know in the franchise films or even in its “evil brother,” “The Conjuring.”
In practice, James Wan’s directing is excellent, partly creating an utterly creepy atmosphere. There are a lot of scares here – 24 in number – but most of them are successful because they are unexpected (unlike many movies with most jump scares). Yes, I’m primarily referring to that famous scare where a red-faced burnt creature appears behind Patrick Wilson just when we’re not ready for it because we might have expected a different kind of scare.
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
In 2009, the movie “The Haunting in Connecticut” was released and was a reasonable success, with revenues of about 77 million dollars worldwide. It’s hard to say that he invented the wheel of his plot: another story about a family that moves into a mysterious house, which used to be a funeral home and experiences supernatural events – mainly through the character of the boy with cancer.
There are no fewer than 26 jump scares here, by Where’s the Jump’s count, almost all of them belonging to the “body pops out of nowhere” genre. Whether it’s a body that pops up when you turn on the light (perhaps the most effective jump scare here), one that falls, or suddenly moves, the actors here must have jumped in the air more than the girls from that Freddy Krueger song.
Does it work? I am Still trying to figure it out. At almost any moment, the “Boooo” here can appear, which means that in some cases, they are dull and, in others, actually effective. It is hard to say that the other aspects of the film, such as the atmosphere or plot, could be more successful.
The Messengers (2007)
“The Messengers” presents, like duh, the story of a family that moves to a farmhouse and discovers that it has a dark history of madness and murders, which, of course, affect the present. Suppose you were expecting from this description to see scary scarecrows here. In that case, you may be disappointed because the scarecrows written in the original script were saved for the prequel (prequel), which could have been better in every way. In “The Messengers” we see a collection of scares, most of them relatively cheap, to be honest, with hands, birds, and demons entering the frame, often accompanied by exaggerated sound.
But it turns out that it had a particular effect, at least on Kristen Stewart, who played the wayward daughter here and is angry about the move to the new house. I think some scenes frightened her so much that she could not close her mouth for the duration of all the films in the “Twilight” franchise.
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
You’re right if you thought that most of the movies on this list were relatively new. Nevertheless, another film is already celebrating more than 35 years. It is the sequel to “Evil Dead,” which presents the continuation of the fight of Ash (the excellent Bruce Campbell) against the forces of evil (a great idea for a TV series. Who will pick up the gauntlet?).
I saw the movie a long time ago and was surprised to read about the impressive number of scares here. I went through some of the shocks again. Then I realized that maybe the reason for this is that it is based mainly on exaggerated humor so that some of these scares are not necessarily (only) intended to scare: for example, the scene where a headless body holding a chainsaw breaks into the door and tries to cut off the head of Ash.
Regardless, this is a great movie. It may be the best on this list, in my opinion.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)
Have you ever asked yourself how it is being jump scared in 3D? “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” from 2015, the fifth installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise, tried to provide the answer. “Paranormal Activity” movies are not all about jump scares, as it has some creepy slow moments, fitting the found footage subgenre perfectly. In this movie, however, the method was a bit different.
“Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” is about a family that moves into a new home, where their daughter Leila is attacked by a demon named Toby, who can be seen through a particular camera. The film had 29 jump scares, mostly sudden ghosts or demons appearing or scary noises coming out of nowhere. I didn’t like the movie as much as most critics and viewers and thought the jump scares were too “cheap” and unoriginal. It did have some fine moments, including this scene:
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)
“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” as you can understand from its title, was meant to be the final movie in the franchise. In 2021 we got “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” a pretty disappointing reboot with Kaya Scodelario, meaning No Mila Jovovich kicking the zombie’s ass this time.
The film got 29 jump scares, which weren’t convincing considering that it got “only” 3.5 jump scares rating on the website. The most refreshing thing here is that you get shocked by zombies, including zombie dogs or flying creatures, and not just dull ghosts. Overall, it was a solid sequel for a franchise that, in my opinion, dragged too much (I am not familiar with the Resident Evil video game).
Extraterrestrial is a sci-fi horror film that follows a group of friends who encounter an alien invasion while staying at a cabin in the woods. The film has 30 jump scares, caused mainly by the aliens appearing suddenly or attacking the characters. Some of the most intense jump scares occur when an alien grabs Lex from the car roof and pulls her into the sky, An alien jumps out of the bathroom and grabs Kyle. or when April (Brittany Allen) sees an alien-human hybrid in a glass tube on the spaceship.
The film also has some scenes of gore and violence, but it’s hard to say it’s too memorable. The film has a rating of 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, and some critics have praised its visual effects and atmosphere, while others have criticized its clichéd plot, the characters, and the frequent use of jump scares.
The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts Of Georgia (2013)
The honorable first place – or not – goes to the movie “The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia”, which you must have already realized surpasses even its predecessor from the fourth place in the number of scares. The movie, you might be surprised to hear, is about a family that moves into a house in Georgia and discovers that it, too, has a mysterious past, blah blah.
“The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia” was directed by Tom Elkins, who included as many as 32 scares in just under 90 minutes. Perhaps since the same Elkins mainly works as a video editor (between the movie, “Annabelle,” the “Child’s Play” remake, the “Wrong Turn” reboot, “The Invitation” and others), he maybe forgot for a moment the difference between Jump Scare to Jump Cut.
It’s hard to say that “The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia” is good. The film got minimal distribution in the cinema and was distributed mainly in the home media. It is a bit more famous today because some people google something like “what movie has the most jump scares” or read articles like that, and want’s to see what is all aobut. It’s important to note that some of the jump scares work here, as evidenced by the fact that the guys at Where’s The Jump chose to give it a maximum score of 5 for the scares, but it seems to prove once and for all that it’s tough to make a horror film with only jumps.
Jumping To Conclusion: What Can We Learn From Jump Scares
So this is the complete list of movies with the most jump scares, which includes four parameters: the number of jumps in the film, the total score given to them according to Where’s The Jump, the weighted score of voters on the IMDB site and the weighted score of critics (Metascore) through Metacritic.
|Movie||Jump scares||Jump scares score||IMDB||Metacritic|
|The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts Of Georgia||32||5||5.3||26|
|Resident Evil: The Final Chapter||29||4.5||5.5||49|
|Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension||29||4||4.6||30|
|Evil Dead 2||27||4||7.7||72|
|The Haunting In Connecticut||26||4.5||5.8||33|
|Freddy Vs. Jason||24||4||5.5||37|
|Friday the 13th||23||4||5.5||34|
|Drag Me To Hell||23||4.5||6.6||83|
|IT: Chapter 2||23||65||58|
To gain far-reaching insights, someone should research the scope and quality of the scares and compare them to the film’s score, box office success, and other characteristics. I think this list of movies with the most jump scares can be used by all those who claim that bounces indicate “cheap” scare tactics in most cases. We haven’t seen many masterpieces in this list, and some of the films are negligible (especially those in the first place). We also didn’t see most of the scares considered famous and significant in cinema history – very soon, we will make our list – here, so it’s better to choose quality over quantity. On the other hand, there are films here that have succeeded in a big way, perhaps also due to the jumps, and in some cases, even physiological indicators have shown that it has an effect.