Movies with jump scares are fun, there, I’ve said it. The adrenaline that’s allowed to spike when that first, initial jump scare hits in a movie is great since it makes a person more alert, more prepared for whatever might come next, or so we think. One very real issue with jump scares is that when not used judiciously they tend to become a bit annoying and even predictable since the audience expects them to come with a regularity that can become kind of tiresome. At certain points in a movie a jump scare can serve a very big purpose, to get the audience to scream and even become hyper aware of what’s around them and of everything they’re seeing on the screen. But when used too often this element becomes a bother that people don’t want to deal with and aren’t shocked by in the least. There are movies that don’t rely on jump scares and still end up terrifying people since a person might be waiting, and waiting, and waiting for that jump scare, and in the process will begin to psyche themselves out just enough to scream at the merest hint of danger when it finally comes. Horror movies come in all different flavors to be certain, but when jump scares are used people become used to them quickly, but when they’re not people are actively looking for them and tend to freak themselves out, so it’s kind of a win no matter what.
Here are a few great movies that didn’t need to rely on jump scares.
5. The Village
Opinions kind of vary about this movie since some people loved it and fully enjoyed the twist, while others apparently saw it coming and deduced just why people in the movie were acting so oddly. The fact that it reveals that the time period isn’t quite what we’re thinking and that the situation isn’t as simple as a small village hemmed in on all sides by woods that they dare not enter becomes kind of a ‘gotcha’ moment at the end that drags on for a while and continues to unravel the whole idea that we were watching a carefully scripted act within the actual movie. It’s enough to make a person wonder if those without any knowledge of the outside world would be labeled as abused in some way, but that would be an even bigger twist if you think about it, and extremely ironic as well.
Some would argue that this movie does indeed have jump scares, such as when the Sloth victim suddenly starts coughing and reveals himself to be alive. But in truth there are several reveals in this movie, such as when the Gluttony victim is lifted from his bowl of spaghetti. There aren’t any real jump scares to be had in this movie, and it works just fine without them since the tension builds all the way to the end with lulls that are placed in the right location to get people wanting more and to move along with the tale even as the action gets them revved up and wanting to see just what happens to the intrepid detectives.
What you see is what you get in Misery, since there’s no hiding the fact that Annie Wilkes is just flat out crazy. Things do get steadily worse though as the movie goes along and delves deeper into her psychosis as she continues to reveal just how truly mad she is. The fact that she flips out over the death of a fictional character is nothing but sheer lunacy even if it does happen in the real world, but her reaction is definitely next level since there’s no setting between calm and rational and breaking Paul’s legs with sledgehammer, which is a step up from chopping one of his feet off in the book.
2. The Silence of the Lambs
The movie didn’t really need a jump scare, it had Anthony Hopkins after all, and that was enough. To think that Ted Levine’s character was supposed to be the main villain though is kind of funny since he ended up being kind of a joke while Dr. Lecter was the guy that everyone should have been keeping a closer eye on. He did serve a purpose however, as he did help Clarice make her way towards Buffalo Bill. But in the end Lecter was more or less in control of himself and eventually the situation in a way that was absolutely creepy to watch since it doesn’t feel as though his heartbeat rose all that much when he was going about his bloody business.
1. The Blair Witch Project
The sequels had jump scares, the original just had shaky camera angles that made a lot of people experience a bit of nausea when the movie really got rolling along. Plus, the ‘found footage’ aspect of this movie really started something that people began to think was pretty cool, though like many things it became so horribly overdone that it eventually lost its popularity for a while. The Blair Witch Project did manage to create a new way to experience movies though, but thankfully their successors learned how to hold a camera steady.
Jump scares are great, but they’re not always entirely necessary.
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