Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Jump scares are those moments in films where everything has gone quiet and dark, and a sudden sound or movement jolts you out of your seat. This Halloween, entertain yourself (and your friends) with the best horror movies on Netflix full of jump scares.
Jump scares can provide cheap thrills or genuine frights, but no matter how they’re used, they’re always entertaining. And the following films make use of the technique so well they’re guaranteed to have you leaping out of your seat (and possibly your skin).
The Conjuring has already been touted as one of the classic horror movies of all time. Director James Wan delivers the perfect treatment on one of the oldest storylines in horror movies: a family movies into a new farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and creepy things start to happen. As usual, people who know about the supernatural (paranormal investigators, in this case) come to their rescue.
While it’s not a typical “jump scare” movie, Wan uses the classic trick to good effect throughout the film. There are a dozen such moments, according to Where’s The Jump, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be frightened more often than that. It’s what makes The Conjuring one of the best horror movies to watch on Netflix.
James Wan’s Insidious is a favorite among horror buffs for restarting the “family moves into a new house and discovers an evil spirit” trend of movies. Fans of The Conjuring will also get to see early glimpses into how Wan developed his creepy style.
The film is packed with jump scares, whether it’s how someone retells a dream about the devil or a paranormal investigator using a modified ViewMaster to look into realms invisible to the naked eye. Where’s The Jump counted a total of 24 jump scares in the film and rates it 5/5, so this is a guaranteed hit.
The original Candyman is a delight for those who love jump scares and cheap thrills. It’s not mindless violence either, as the film also offers some insightful commentary on race in America.
Based on a Clive Barker short story, “The Candyman” is a local legend of a bogeyman with a hook for a hand. When a researcher (Virginia Madsen) invokes his spirit by saying his name five times in front of a mirror, a series of killings starts in the small town. Wait for the medicine cabinet scene…
4. The Lazarus Effect [No Longer Available]
After making a documentary like Jiro Dreams of Sushi, you wouldn’t expect director David Gelb to dive into horror. But he is full of surprises in The Lazarus Effect, which is as creepy as they come.
Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass star as medical researchers who have figured out how to resurrect dead animals. But a terrible accident claims Wilde’s life, and in his grief, Duplass decides to bring her back to life. It’s a success. Only the being that has come back to life seems to be losing Wilde’s soul and possessed by something much, much darker.
Looking for a double feature? “Found footage” horror films, like The Blair Witch Project, have its own set of fans. And it gets even more eerie when there isn’t a supernatural element involved. Creep and its sequel are must-watch movies in this genre.
The movies follow the premise of a young videographer finding a Craigslist ad from a man making a bizarre claim, and looking for someone to record it. In the first, the man supposedly wants to record a dying message. The sequel has him claiming to be a serial killer. The truth is stranger than either.
Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice write, direct, and star in both films. Duplass is frighteningly creepy, and Brice’s ability to mix jump scares with slowly-built tension is masterful.
Laura is a typical popular college student. She gets tons of friend requests on Facebook, and she’s happy to add everyone. But she accepts one too many, and unfriends Marina for being creepy. Laura didn’t expect how creepy things would get, as Marina commits suicide, and mysterious videos start appearing on Laura’s profile. Things get worse when Laura’s friends start dying.
The plot of Friend Request is quite silly, but it’s the perfect sort of movie to watch with your friends for a jump-scare delight. It was never going to win any Oscars, but if you can’t have fun with something like this, you might want to go for one of the best horror films for geeks where technology takes center-stage.
In the first film in the Scream series, director Wes Craven reinvents the slasher-horror genre by adding 19 jump scares in the 111 minutes. This means you’ll be spilling the popcorn once every seven minutes, as you watch the adventures of Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette.
After her mother’s murder, a college student and her friends start getting scary phone calls from a serial killer in a strange white mask and a long black robe. The killer seems to be a fan of horror films, through which Craven pays homage to many classics. As new murders begin to hit the town, can the student and her friends survive?
Once you’re done with Scream, Netflix also has the two sequels, Scream 2 and Scream 3, available to watch. Craven has only increased the jump scares in those, so if you like the first film you’ll have a blast.
Thai film Shutter has a cult following among horror film fans for its mixture of jump scares and unfolding mystery. It’s a seemingly simple story, but the screenplay unravels in layers to keep you entertained throughout. Where’s The Jump awards it a four-star rating.
The film begins with a car accident, and the young couple inside drives away. The girl, who was driving, is guilt-ridden. Her boyfriend, the passenger, is a photographer who starts seeing faces and ghosts in his photographs. It seems that the girl they ran over is haunting the boyfriend. But when they discover the girl was part of their college, the movie starts taking strange twists and turns.
9. Sinister 2
The original Sinister is a stronger movie, but Sinister 2 has so many startling moments that you are guaranteed to enjoy it. Where’s The Jump counted five major and 14 minor jump scares in this movie. It’s a must-watch combination of creepy kids and a ghost with a scythe.
In Sinister 2, a mother and her twin sons movie into a remote house. Of course, the house holds many secrets and is the site of past murders. One of the twin boys is sought by the spirits of past children. And a paranormal investigator visits the family to uncover what the house is hiding. Watch the trailer, as it should be enough to make you watch the movie.
It’s well known that you shouldn’t go to the Livingston House. Evil resides there. But that doesn’t stop six idiots from performing a seance in the place. In the course of events that followed, three died, one survived, and two went missing. It’s now to up Detective Mark Lewis and psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Klein to figure out what happened, rescue the missing people, and ensure that the house does not claim any more lives.
Demonic tries to go beyond the usual plotline by including a few twists and turns, including a surprise ending. It won’t work for everyone, but you get plenty of jump scares along the way to keep you entertained.
Scare Yourself Silly This Halloween
Jump scare movies are made for Halloween. So, if you want to enjoy a spooky All Hallow’s Eve, grab a tub of popcorn, switch off the lights, and start streaming one of these films on Netflix. however, you might want to lock the doors and windows before hitting Play.
However, a movie only gives you an hour or two of frights. Those who are ready to stay up all night need more than that, which is where our list of scary TV shows to binge-watch over Halloween comes in.