Shutter Island (2010)
The Scare: Scorsese shows his mastery of suspense as Teddy Daniels goes poking around in the bowels of the mental institution, with a bald loon just waiting to burst into frame and bellow, “tag, you’re it!”
Brace Yourself When: “Laeddis,” breathes Teddy. “I can feel him…”
Julias Eyes (2010)
The Scare: Julia pursues a man she believes to be connected with her sister’s death into the shadows, using her mobile phone for light. Having illuminated a figure, she is blinded by a series of camera flashes, and plunged into darkness once more…
Brace Yourself When: The mobile phone brings the shadowy figure into sharp relief.
The Scare: Pennywise the clown makes a grab for a youngster’s foot. Steer well clear of those storm drains, kids.
Brace Yourself When: As soon as a drain comes into shot, you can be fairly sure that Pennywise will soon make himself known!
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Scare: The Mayor is staring out of his window onto a Gotham that is beginning to spiral out of control… and just as he does, a hanged corpse comes thudding into the glass.
Brace Yourself When: The Mayor gets right up close to the glass. So unexpected the first time around…
What Lies Beneath (2000)
The Scare: Utterly shameless in its reliance upon jump scares, What Lies Beneath does still contain a few goodies, as witnessed by Michelle Pfeiffer’s examination of the windows in the house across the street…
Brace Yourself When: Her eyes return to the first window she checked. Is there somebody staring back? Of course there is. Cheap, but effective.
A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)
The Scare: Scared by the story of a dead girl under the sink, Eun-joo decides to check under hers. Happily, there’s nothing there! The first time she looks, anyway…
Brace Yourself When: She spots a hair-clip on the floor, and a bloodied arm shoots out from under the sink!
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
The Scare: The camera zooms in on Laura Palmer’s dresser to reveal the horribly grinning visage of murderous weirdo, Bob.
Brace Yourself When: The camera enters Laura’s room. Who’s that hiding behind that lamp over there? Jesus fuck, it’s Bob!
An American Werewolf In London (1981)
The Scare: After a horrifying dream sequence in which David answers the door to an army of machine-gun toting loons, he wakes in his hospital bed, only for his nurse to open the curtains on to another scene of horror.
Brace Yourself When: Ms. Agutter makes her way over to the curtains. A classic example of lulling the audience into a false sense of security.
The Scare: Dr. Gordon is making his way to his car after a motel rendezvous with his mistress, only for a figure in a pig mask to appear out of nowhere and kick-start his nightmare…
Brace Yourself When: Gordon hears a suspicious noise and begins to look around him…
The Devils Backbone (2001)
The Scare: We get our first glimpse of Santi’s ghost when Carlos locks himself in a wardrobe. Understandably, the poor little soul is terrified.
Brace Yourself When: Carlos presses his eye to the keyhole to see if the coast is clear. It isn’t.