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Horror fans have different opinions on the best movies in the genre. Many have ranked their favorites from a pool of classic and modern flicks. However, the lists may include different films due to varying tastes. Nevertheless, horror enthusiasts might finally have an answer to the question, what is the scariest movie? In a recent study, researchers observed audiences and their reactions to various movies. And here are the five scariest movies according to science.
The horror genre consists of several subcategories, like monster and zombie flicks. Some styles might scare someone more than others, but another person could react differently. So the scariest movie may seem subjective. However, Forbes reports that a 2020 study may have discovered the most scientifically frightening films.
Broadband Choices, a comparison tool for broadband deals, conducted the “Science of Scare Project.” Researchers compared horror movie viewers’ average heart rates at various times, including at rest, throughout the film, and during jump scares. The results are a list of the 35 scariest movies of all time.
Cracking the top five is the fifth-most chilling movie, Paranormal Activity. The flick mixes found footage with supernatural elements as a demon becomes more active with its hauntings. The suspense slowly builds before it pulls screams from the audience in the final scene. It boasts an average audience heart rate of 82 bpm and a spike of 127 bpm.
Hereditary ranks fourth among the scariest movies, with an average heart rate of 83 bpm. Nevertheless, the highest spike was at 109 bpm. The film is dark and contains things like death, ghosts, and séances. It also has plenty of scenes that give viewers chills, such as a man suddenly bursting into flames.
However, the movie is slightly less frightening than the third-scariest movie on the list. The Conjuring is another supernatural horror flick. It centers around paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Viewers’ average heart rate while watching the film was 85 bpm, and the highest spike was 129 bpm.
In the number 2 spot, Insidious clocked the biggest jump scare, sending heart rates spiking to 133 bpm and causing an average heart rate of 86 bpm. The movie spawned a franchise and had the same director as The Conjuring. Though it’s over 10 years old, the film has several creepy moments that have stuck with viewers.
For instance, the mother listens closely to a baby monitor only to hear a voice shriek. Soon after, an entity appears in the corner of the son’s bedroom. Many people can see why Insidious is one of the scariest movies, but another thriller reigns supreme.
Despite boasting the biggest jump scare, Insidious ranks second to one horror film in the roundup.
The project names Sinister the scariest movie of all time. Its biggest jump scare led to a 131-bpm spike. The supernatural film’s foreboding atmosphere helped create a success, garnering $87.7 million at the box office.
The film ratchets up the thrills when a has-been true-crime writer, played by The Black Phone star Ethan Hawke, discovers footage of murders from various years and cities. He uncovers a pattern that reveals his family is in grave danger. Several notable scares in Sinister make it an obvious pick out of dozens of other films in the study.
August 18, 1973. A day that will become known as…
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The roundup also lists 30 other horror movies that got viewers’ hearts racing. They include It Follows, The Conjuring 2, and The Babadook.
Another film that’s perfect for the Halloween season is The Descent. It follows a small group of friends exploring an unmapped cave system. They get stuck inside and must escape the humanoid creatures hunting them. The characters in The Descent must remain relatively quiet to avoid death, much like the protagonists in A Quiet Place.
A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place Part II keep people on the edge of their seats by using a lack of sound in certain scenes. Actor/director John Krasinski has plans for another sequel, so fans can expect a third film set in the same universe. While they wait, they can watch the other films on this list.
For example, despite being decades old, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre still delivers thrills. It managed to beat The Exorcist and Scream.
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