The 15 Best Horror Movies Without Jump Scares, Ranked

These horror movies are scary and intense even without many jump scares. That makes them perfect to watch if you're skittish!
The 15 Best Horror Movies Without Jump Scares, Ranked

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Horror is my favorite movie genre, but I'll be the first to admit that horror flicks aren't for everyone. Not everyone can tolerate blood, gore, dreadful tension, and cheap jump scares. Especially jump scares.

But there are lots of great movies out there that don't rely on jump scares to deliver memorable stories of horror. These kinds of horror movies are still scary and intense, but won't cause too much distress.

If you're in search of worthwhile horror movies that don't have any (or many) jump scares, here are the ones to check out.

Note: The "number of jump scares" metric for each movie comes from Where's the Jump. This site is useful if you're afraid of jump scares because it tells you exactly where they happen!

15. Zombieland (2009)

Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson

Action, Comedy, Horror (1h 28m)

7.6 on IMDb89% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 2

Zombieland is a great horror comedy movie that's palatable even to those who don't normally like horror. It's never too serious with it.

Sure, it's a zombie movie, but the characters in the movie operate with such little fear of the zombies that it makes them feel much less scary. There are a total of nine jump scares in the movie, but only two of them are considered major. You may not even notice the others.

And when you add in the comedic tone that lifts the entire film, you end up with a movie that's enjoyable for both hardcore horror fans and people who don't have a high tolerance for the genre.

14. A Quiet Place (2018)

Directed by John Krasinski

Starring Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi (1h 30m)

7.5 on IMDb96% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 4

A Quiet Place is another fantastic movie for horror fans and non-fans alike. Most of the tension comes from the complete silence in the film, and there's almost no gore in the movie at all.

There are a few jump scares mixed in, but they're done tastefully, they're never cheap, and there aren't too many. In fact, there are only four major jump scares throughout the entire movie.

While many would definitely consider A Quiet Place to sit firmly in the horror genre, it actually feels more like a psychological thriller than your traditional horror film. Plus, the movie is simply incredible!

13. The Babadook (2014)

Directed by Jennifer Kent

Starring Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall

Horror, Mystery (1h 34m)

6.8 on IMDb98% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 2

The Babadook is the movie to graduate to after you've watched all of the other ones on this list, because it definitely pushes the limit of what'll be comfortable for a non-fan of horror movies.

There are only two major jump scares in the whole movie, but the presence of The Babadook is quite unnerving, and he's a rather scary looking "monster."

In the end, there's a huge twist in The Babadook that completely changes the way we interpret the movie. I won't spoil it, but suffice it to say that it's an interesting look at a problem many people face daily.

12. It Follows (2014)

Directed by David Robert Mitchell

Starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi

Horror, Mystery, Thriller (1h 40m)

6.8 on IMDb95% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 1

It Follows is quite an eerie film, making it one of the better horror movies to come out in the last decade.

There's tension throughout as "It" continues to follow the protagonist around, but as the movie progresses, you almost get used to it being there.

Plus, there are only five jump scares in the entire movie—four of which are considered minor—so it's perfectly tolerable.

It Follows is worth watching whether you're into horror movies or not because it's really that good. Once the credits start rolling, you'll realize the real fright comes from the message the movie wants to convey—but I won't spoil it for you!

11. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour

Starring Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh

Drama, Horror, Romance (1h 41m)

6.9 on IMDb96% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 0

Ana Lily Amirpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was advertised as the first Iranian vampire Western. With a cinematic foundation as rich as that, it didn't need any jump scares to frighten audiences.

The plot follows a man named Arash (played by Arash Marandi), who tries to take care of his heroin-addicted father. However, when Saeed—the drug dealer to whom they owe money—comes looking for them, he takes their car as form of payment.

Then, when Saeed walks home that evening and comes across a girl in a chador, he takes her back to his apartment. That ends up being one of the biggest mistakes he'll ever make...

With no jump scares at all, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is an allegorical horror movie that works on several levels.

10. Green Room (2015)

Directed by Jeremy Saulnier

Starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat

Crime, Drama, Horror (1h 35m)

7.0 on IMDb90% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 1

Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room is a tense horror drama from A24. Even knowing there's only one jump scare, your knuckles will be white.

When a punk band realizes they're going to be playing at a neo-Nazi venue, none of them are thrilled. But when they become the sole witnesses to a murder that occurs on the premises, everything becomes that much more horrifying.

The horror in Green Room doesn't come from any supernatural phenomenon but the spine-tingling fear that things are quickly spiraling way out of control.

9. Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Directed by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz

Starring Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, Susanne Wuest

Horror, Mystery, Thriller (1h 39m)

6.7 on IMDb85% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 1

Directed by Austrian directing duo Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, Goodnight Mommy is one of those unsettling horror films that stays with you long after the credits roll.

The story centers on twin boys, Elias (played by Elias Schwarz) and Lukas (played by Lukas Schwarz), who enjoy doing everything together. When their mother returns home from the hospital after having undergone cosmetic surgery for her face, they welcome her together.

However, they both begin to have doubts that the woman underneath the bandages is truly their mother.

Goodnight Mommy only has one jump scare, but it's the unsettling atmosphere that makes this movie one to remember.

8. Funny Games (1997)

Directed by Michael Haneke

Starring Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch

Crime, Drama, Thriller (1h 48m)

7.5 on IMDb71% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 1

Michael Haneke has directed some of the most disturbing films of all time, and that definitely includes Funny Games.

This film centers on a picturesque family who are vacationing in a scenic mountain getaway. One day, when two boys come over to say hello and borrow some eggs, it all seems normal.

But when they refuse to leave, and when they seem uncannily relaxed through every confrontation, it soon becomes obvious that they have a diabolical plan up their sleeves.

Starring Arno Frisch in a most unnerving performance, Funny Games only has one jump scare but will keep you tense for the entire runtime.

7. Don't Look Now (1973)

Directed by Nicolas Roeg

Starring Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason

Drama, Horror, Mystery (1h 50m)

7.1 on IMDb94% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 1

Don't Look Now follows John (played by Donald Sutherland) and Laura (played by Julie Christie), a man and wife who are in the midst of grieving their daughter, who recently drowned in a terrible accident.

As they walk around Venice, John is haunted by visions of a girl in a red coat—the same coat his daughter was wearing when she died.

Nicolas Roeg directed this iconic horror film in 1973, and it's still just as good today as it was back then. The sustained sense of dread is what makes this film so horrifying, despite only one jump scare.

6. Cat People (1942)

Directed by Jacques Tourneur

Starring Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith

Fantasy, Horror, Thriller (1h 13m)

7.2 on IMDb92% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 2

Directed by Jacques Tourneur, Cat People was one of the first major mainstream supernatural horror films. Not only did it blend this genre with the monster movie seamlessly, it also featured only two jump scares.

Irena Dubrovna (played by Simone Simon) believes that her ancestors are actually a mystical species of cat people, who transform into immense felines when they're aroused. As it turns out, it's true.

Don't let the funny title fool you! Cat People isn't just frightening, but it's a classic tale that carries an important message, all while keeping the audience in nerve-racking suspense.

5. Carrie (1976)

Directed by Brian De Palma

Starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving

Horror, Mystery (1h 38m)

7.4 on IMDb93% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 1

Brian De Palma directed Carrie with such skill that it didn't need many jump scares to be horrifying. In fact, it only has one! Set in high school, the setting is terrifying enough already.

Carrie (played by Sissy Spacek in an iconic performance) is a 16-year-old girl who's going through a difficult time: she's being bullied at school, her mother is deranged, and she recently discovered telekinetic powers.

A classic horror film for the ages, the single jump scare in Carrie is developed so well that it could count for ten jump scares.

4. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Directed by Jonathan Demme

Starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn

Crime, Drama, Thriller (1h 58m)

8.6 on IMDb95% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 0

In directing The Silence of the Lambs, Jonathan Demme not only reinvented a classic character, but also ended up creating one of the best horror movies of all time.

Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) is an FBI agent who's tasked with locating Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who's preyed upon numerous women. So, she enlists the help of an even more infamous serial killer who's currently incarcerated: Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins).

The horror in The Silence of the Lambs doesn't need any jump scares. It comes from the superlative performances from Jodie Foster (who convincingly portrays a woman beset with evil at every corner) and Anthony Hopkins (who's iconic as the cannibalistic psychopath).

3. The Fly (1986)

Directed by David Cronenberg

Starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz

Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi (1h 36m)

7.6 on IMDb93% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 2

When it comes to his films, David Cronenberg has never been a director to rely on cheap jump scares.

His horror is usually a mix of metaphysical angst, Lovecraftian eeriness, and grotesque body horror. All of that comes together to make The Fly not only his best film, but one of the best horror films ever.

This movie is about a well-meaning scientist (played by Jeff Goldblum) who believes he's on the brink of inventing teleportation. However, when a fly makes it into his teleportation chamber during one of his test runs, the results are disastrous for him.

He ends up spiraling into an emotional black hole, which means only two jump scares were needed to turn The Fly into a classic of horror cinema. It may be a remake of the 1958 original, but it's improved on every front.

2. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Directed by Tobe Hooper

Starring Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger

Horror (1h 23m)

7.4 on IMDb89% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 2

Directed by Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is easily one of the most frightening films of all time.

When a group of friends are snooping around a seemingly abandoned rural area in Texas, things go from bad to worse as they start disappearing one by one. Turns out, they aren't alone.

Now an iconic horror movie that inspired the birth of the slasher film genre, the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre actually featured very few jump scares for a total of two.

1. Get Out (2017)

Directed by Jordan Peele

Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford

Horror, Mystery, Thriller (1h 44m)

7.8 on IMDb98% on RT

Number of major jump scares: 0

Get Out is my personal favorite horror movie of recent years. It's intelligent, filled with tension, and guaranteed to make you uncomfortable—but not all that scary in the traditional jumpy sense.

It'll make you think deeply about the world as we know it, but it won't fill your head with thoughts of blood and murder. In fact, there are no major jump scares in the whole film (though there are a few minor ones).

Nothing is as it seems in the seemingly peaceful world of Get Out, and the black protagonist Chris (played by Daniel Kaluuya) quickly realizes that something is very wrong with his girlfriend's white family.

Directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out is one of the best examples of how to execute dread in a horror film without relying on jump scares.