The 10 Most Terrifying Horror Movies in the World
The Science of Fear: Unveiling the Top 10 Most Terrifying Horror Movies of All Time
A spine-chilling video call gathering, a family moving into a haunted house, or malevolent spirits. A question that every horror movie fan must have asked themselves is: what is the scariest horror movie in the world? To answer this question and create a list that will undoubtedly make your heart race, we sought objective criteria and turned to the Science of Fear project to determine the top 10 scariest movies of all time!
Since 2020, the Science of Fear has been an annual ranking conducted by the Broadband Choices portal. The experiment involves gathering 250 people and measuring their heart rate per minute (BPM) while watching a selected list of horror movies. The experience is monitored by medical professionals. The curated selection of films is updated every year to include the most recently released horror movies and is based on recommendations from critics and genre experts. Check out the latest top 10 from the publication—and our take on them too!
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1 - Host
Host is one of the scariest horror movies in the world. Host is a low-budget production entirely recorded via Zoom during the pandemic. Directed by Rob Savage, the film follows a group of bored friends who decide to hold a séance in a setting very familiar to our contemporary routine: a video call meeting. Needless to say, things obviously spiral out of control.
Beware Who's Calling was ranked as the scariest movie by the Science of Fear, generating a peak of 130 heartbeats per minute and an average frequency of 88 BPM. The movie is available for rental on Apple TV.
2 - Sinister
Sinister is a 2012 production directed by Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange) and stars Ethan Hawke (Training Day) in the lead role. The story revolves around the writer Ellison (Hawke) who moves to an isolated house with his family. When he comes across gruesome images, he soon discovers that the malevolent entity Bughuul is putting his life—and the lives of his wife and children—in danger.
This production, which generates constant tension and fear, resulted in a jump scare of 130 BPM and an average frequency of 86 beats per minute in the study. Are you up for it? The movie is available for rental on Apple TV and Google Play.
3 - Insidious
And here we go with James Wan (Saw) on the list. One of the biggest names in horror today, the filmmaker directed Insidious in 2011, which gave rise to a successful franchise—the 5th installment of the film series will be released in theaters in July 2023.
In the movie, Professor Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson), his wife Renai (Rose Byrne), and their children Foster, Dalton, and Cali move into a new house. When confronted with an entity, Dalton falls into a coma. Frightened, the parents decide to move out, but the curse continues to haunt them.
Yes, it's the classic movie with the creepy demon possessing a child—meaning, it's incredibly terrifying. It generated a peak of 133 heartbeats per minute and a frequency of 85 BPM in the Broadband Choices study. For those interested, the movie is available on HBO Max.
4 - The Conjuring
The return of... James Wan. The Conjuring was an immediate success in the distant year of 2013, considered an instant classic in the horror genre, and spawned an 8-movie franchise. In the first installment of the series, we follow the couple Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) who, in 1971, move into a cursed house with their five daughters and a dog. They seek the help of investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga).
The film stands out for its realistic approach to exorcism, demon investigations, and the influence of the Catholic Church. Additionally, The Conjuring features an extremely popular character: the Annabelle doll.
Considered one of the scariest horror movies in the world, it produced a jump scare of 132 BPM in the study's sample and an average of 84 heartbeats per minute. It is available on Prime Video and HBO Max.
5 - Hereditary
A production from the beloved studio A24, Hereditary is the result of a partnership between Ari Aster (Midsommar) and Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense). In the film, Annie's (Collette) mother dies, and she, her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), and their children, Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro), deal with the consequences. However, as time goes by, the family begins to experience inexplicable events.
With constant tension and an absolutely shocking scene—for those in the know—Hereditary was ranked as the fifth scariest movie of all time by the Science of Fear. The film, available on Netflix, generated a frequency of 84 BPM and a peak of 104 heartbeats per minute among the survey participants.