Top 10 scariest movies to get your heart racing

The Top 10 scariest movies of all time according to science

A scientific study, done by a broadband comparison website in the UK, has set out to determine the scariest movies of all time.

The Science of Scare

The study tracked the heart rates of participants as they watched a curated list of 50 of the best horror films ever made. The results show which movies elevated the average heart rates of participants and even tracked the highest spikes of each movie to determine which films had the biggest jump scares.

The description on broadbandchoices website reads:

“Is there anything better than a truly terrifying movie? One that gets your heart pounding, makes you jump out of your seat or sleep with the lights on?

We don’t think so. But with such a wide variety of streaming services, giving us an endless supply of horror films at our fingertips, it can be hard to know which can give you a true fight night, and which are child’s play.

That’s why in 2020 BroadbandChoices.co.uk founded the Science of Scare Project, an experiment to categorically find the scariest movies in existence, based on what gets audiences heart’s pumping.”

The Top 10 Scariest Movies of all Time

1. Host

Six friends get together during lockdown for their weekly zoom call. It’s Haley’s turn to organize an activity and instead of a quiz, she’s arranged for a Medium to conduct a séance. Bored and feeling mischievous, Jemma decides to have some fun and invents a story about a boy in her school who hanged himself. However, her prank gives license for a demonic presence to cross over, taking on the guise of the boy in Jemma’s made-up story. The friends begin noticing strange occurrences in their homes as the evil presence begins to make itself known, and they soon realize that they might not survive the night.

Streaming on Shudder

2. Sinister

True crime novelist Ellison Oswald (Ethan Hawke) is so desperate to repeat the success of his first book that he moves his family into a home that served as the setting of a brutal murder. But instead of inspiration, Ellison finds a box of mysterious home movies in the attic that seem to point to unspeakable terrors — ones that could threaten his entire family.

Streaming on Peacock

3. Insidious

A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further. (Original Title – Insidious) © 2010 Alliance Films (UK) Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Available to rent at Google Play, iTunes and Prime Video or watch on Pluto

4. The Conjuring

Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. The Conjuring tells the horrifying true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, world renowned paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives. Oscar® nominee Vera Farmiga (The Departed) and Golden Globe nominee Patrick Wilson (Insidious) play the investigators while Golden Globe nominee Ron Livingston (Band of Brothers) and Emmy® nominee Lili Taylor (Six Feet Under) play the Perron family plagued by sinister spirits in this dark chiller from the writers of The Reaping and the creator of the Saw films.

Available to rent on Google Play and iTunes or watch on HBO Max

5. Hereditary

When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.

Streaming on Prime Video and Showtime

6. Terrified

On an ordinary suburban street in Buenos Aires, voices are heard from kitchen sinks. Bodies are levitating. Evil is here. It is up to a doctor, her colleague, and an ex-cop to get to the bottom of this neighborhood nightmare. Demian Rugna’s must-see TERRIFIED is one of the scariest movies of any year.

Streaming on Shudder

7. It Follows

After a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe of THE GUEST) suddenly finds herself trapped by a vicious curse – someone or something is following her, and the only way to save herself is to put others in harm’s way. Stylish and terrifying, IT FOLLOWS is the critically acclaimed horror of the year!

Streaming on Peacock and Netflix

8. A Quiet Place II

You demanded it and now the surprise hit critics call “one of the scariest movies of all time”* can be experienced in the most terrifying place of all…your home. After a young, middle-class couple moves into what seems like a typical suburban house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be demonic but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. Especially while they sleep. Paranormal Activity builds suspense all the way to the shocking ending.

Available to rent at Google Play, iTunes and Prime Video

9. Paranormal Activity

You demanded it and now the surprise hit critics call “one of the scariest movies of all time”* can be experienced in the most terrifying place of all…your home. After a young, middle-class couple moves into what seems like a typical suburban house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be demonic but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. Especially while they sleep. Paranormal Activity builds suspense all the way to the shocking ending.

Available to rent at Google Play, iTunes and Prime Video

10. The Conjuring 2

The supernatural thriller brings to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.

Streaming on HBO Max and Netflix

Other honorable mentions

Some of the biggest spikes in heart rate can be attributed to movies that had the biggest jump scares. Insidious, Sinister, Host, The Conjuring and The Quiet Place 2 all sent people’s heart rates skyrocketing over 120 beats per minute! The latest results pushed down The Babadook and The Decent out of the top 10, while movies like Hush pushed even closer. Maybe it will break the top 10 when we get the latest update!

See the full results below.


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Jade Allen

Jade Allen

Jade Allen explores East Texas to bring the most exciting activities and locations to The East Texas Weekend. Jade came to Texas in 2018, where it has steadily become a home and a place to explore.