50 Terrifying Movie Jump Scares

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.

It (1990)

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.

Saw (2004)

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.

George Wales

George was once GamesRadar's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it. But now he's working at Stylist Magazine.