Picture this—it has been a long day at work and you just want to get home and watch something spooky. A scary movie perhaps. You’re all snuggled up under your blanket, with a tub of popcorn in your lap. When suddenly, a jump scare makes you jump in your seat and send the popcorn flying across the room. It’d be annoying, right? 

Today, many horror movies rely heavily on cheap scare tactics, reducing the tension to a mere gimmick. If you’re like us and have grown tired of this, here are seven movies where the jump scares are kept to a bare minimum or don’t exist. No spoilers! 

 

Seven (1995)

Platform: Netflix Seven

We believe there’s a thin line between mystery and horror. David Fincher’s Seven spans both sides perfectly, creating a dark and dreary atmosphere that could put any modern-day scary flick to shame. The film follows two detectives, played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, chasing down a serial killer who targets people who he thinks represents each of the seven deadly sins. Apart from a surprise revelation at the 54-minute mark, the movie completely relies on its storytelling and camera technique to create a sense of pure, unforgettable terror throughout. And of course, who can forget that iconic scene at the end. 

 

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)Rosemary's Baby

H.P Lovecraft once said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” And while Rosemary’s Baby strays away from Lovecraftian elements, it perfectly encapsulates the feeling of “something’s not quite right.” Instead of a big burly guy chasing our character’s around with a big machete, this Roman Polanski movie climax relies solely on the look of shock on Mia Farrow’s face, and that scene is not a forgettable one. 

 

Midsommar (2016)

Platform: Amazon Prime VideoMidsommar

While the concept of a psychological thriller is nothing new to the horror genre, Ari Aster has played a huge role in popularising it to the modern audience. After the critically acclaimed Hereditary, the director’s second project follow Dani and her friends travelling to Sweden to celebrate the summer festivities. Each frame of Midsommar is beautiful, with bright colours and picturesque landscapes. However, throughout the movie, you cannot escape this impending feeling of doom, which encapsulates the climax of the movie. We highly, highly recommend it. 

 

Gerald’s Game (2017)

Platform: Netflix Gerald's Game

Gerald’s Game is perhaps one of those rare movies that elevates its source material. Directed by Mike Flanagan, the movie follows Jessie and Gerald on their romantic weekend away in an isolated cabin. Tragedy befalls when Gerald suddenly collapses due to a heart attack, leaving Jessie tied to her bedpost in handcuffs. As the days pass, Jessie has to not only try to free herself but also face her demons. This survival horror is a perfect testament to how movies do not need to exclusively rely on supernatural threats to evoke panic in the viewer. If you find yourself liking Gerald’s Game, we also highly recommend Flanagan’s other projects, The Haunting of the Hill House, Midnight Mass and The Haunting of Bly Manor

 

The Witch (2015)

Platform: YouTube (Paid)The Witch

What happens when a Puritan family is exiled from their village and is left to fend for themselves in the middle of spooky woods? Director Robert Eggers had every reason to stick to the tried and tested formulaic approach to horror movies. Yet he chose to use a mix of atmospheric tension, psychological drama and fear of the unknown to create a masterpiece that can send chills down your spine without scaring you off your seat. 

 

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Platform: Amazon Prime VideoThe Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project is considered to be a landmark in horror movies. Not only did it popularise the “found footage” genre, but it also established that you don’t need a multi-million dollar budget to make a good horror movie. The film follows a group of film students, who venture into the woods to find the mythical ‘Blair Witch.’ What follows is an experience that will glue your eyes to the screen. 

 

Cam (2018)

Platform: Netflix Cam

Perhaps one of the most underrated modern horror movies from 2018, Cam is a journey through the rabbit hole, making you think “What is happening?” The film focuses on Alice, a camgirl, who finds herself replaced by…an exact replica of her. 

Instead of relying on jump scared, director Daniel Goldhaber settles for a slow burn, culminating in an inferno by the end. Hold on to your seat and enjoy this ride!