The Scariest Movies to Watch This Halloween—Ranked by Jump Scares

Grab the popcorn and get ready to jump. These horror flicks will scare you right out of your seat.

If you’re a horror film buff like me, then you know, the scarier, the better. From the subtly spooky to the downright frightening, horror flicks can run the gamut. But arguably, the best kinds are the ones that make you cover your eyes with a pillow, scream or leap out of your seat.

According to Google Trends, searches for Hocus Pocus 2 have increased 5,000% which shows that people are in the mood to be spooked! It also helps that October brings Halloween in all its creepy glory. And, the recent indie thriller Terrifier 2 was reportedly so scary, it had theatergoers throwing up and even fainting.

“Fear responses can produce anxiety-like symptoms, but we are prepared for them when watching a horror movie so the effect is stimulation within our control,” explains Lilly Sabir, a psychologist at London’s Oxford Spires Practice.

“We produce chemical responses in the body and mind, and that stimulation process can lead to heightened arousal. We sometimes refer to it as getting a bit of a kick from our environmental stimuli, getting spooked and quite literally feeling ‘alive,’” she adds.

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If you’re looking to feel alive thanks to the undead or partake in some gory goodness, the experts at have compiled a list of the scariest movies of all time based on “jump scares” (i.e. the number of times in each flick that’ll make you want to jump out of your seat).

Drumroll please, the scariest movies of all time are…

1. Insidious

In first place for the scariest horror movie of all time is the 2010 flick Insidious. It has a whopping 24 jump scares throughout its 103 minutes of runtime. It also received a perfect jump scare rating of five stars. The first in a franchise, this ultra-scary movie inspired follow-ups with Insidious: Chapter 2, Insidious: Chapter 3 and Insidious: The Last Key.

2. It

With a total of 23 jump scares, the second scariest movie of all time based on’s data is the creepy clown thriller It. The 2017 movie (not the 1990 miniseries), which is based on a Stephen King novel, had the lowest jump scare percentage out of the top five at 17%.

3. Drag Me to Hell and 4. Friday the 13th

It was tied with the number of jump scares in the third and fourth winners: Drag Me to Hell and Friday the 13th. However, these movies, which were both released in 2009, had higher jump scare percentages than It at 23% and 24%, respectively.

5. The Evil Dead

In fifth place is the 1980s classic The Evil Dead. It has 22 jump scare moments in its 99-minute duration. (Interestingly, the movie, along with the three others in the Evil Dead series following it, was written by the same person as Drag Me to Hell: Sam Raimi.)

Rounding out the top 10 are Evil Dead, Scream, Scream 4, Sinister, and Don’t Breathe.

Which is your favorite scary movie?

Jené Luciani Sena
Jené Luciani Sena is an accredited journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author, regularly seen on national TV outlets such as Access Daily, Today and Dr Oz. Touted as one of Woman’s World Magazine’s “Ultimate Experts,” she’s a TEDTalk speaker and a busy Mom of 4. Read more
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