Is a Thriller a Scary Movie?

Thriller movies have always been a topic of debate when it comes to categorizing them as “scary” or not. While some people consider thrillers to be terrifying, others argue that they are not the same as horror movies. In this article, we will explore what makes a thriller movie and whether it can be classified as a scary movie.

What is a Thriller Movie?

A thriller movie is a type of film that creates an intense feeling of suspense, excitement, and apprehension in the audience. These movies are designed to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats with unexpected twists and turns in the plot. Thrillers often involve crime, mystery, or espionage and feature fast-paced action scenes.

What Makes a Movie Scary?

To understand whether thrillers can be considered scary movies, we need to define what makes a movie scary. A scary movie is one that induces fear or terror in the audience. It typically features supernatural elements like ghosts or monsters, graphic violence, or psychological horror.

How are Thrillers Different from Scary Movies?

While both thrillers and scary movies aim to create an intense emotional response in the audience, they differ in their approach. Thrillers rely on suspenseful storytelling techniques to create tension and uncertainty in the plot. They often feature realistic scenarios that could happen in real life, such as crime investigations.

On the other hand, scary movies often use supernatural elements or graphic violence to scare viewers. They may include jump scares or gore that evoke visceral reactions from the audience.

Examples of Thriller Movies

  • The Silence of the Lambs: This classic thriller follows an FBI trainee who seeks help from a psychopathic cannibal killer to catch another serial killer.
  • Inception: This mind-bending thriller explores the concept of dreams and reality as a thief is tasked with planting an idea in someone’s mind.
  • The Bourne Identity: This action-packed thriller follows a man suffering from amnesia who discovers he is a trained assassin and must uncover his identity while being pursued by those who want him dead.

Examples of Scary Movies

  • The Exorcist: This horror classic features a young girl possessed by a demon, and the attempts to save her soul through an exorcism.
  • The Conjuring: This supernatural horror movie follows paranormal investigators as they try to help a family terrorized by an evil entity in their home.
  • Saw: This gory horror movie features victims trapped in twisted games designed to test their will to live.


While thrillers can be intense and suspenseful, they are not necessarily scary movies. Thrillers rely on tension and uncertainty to create excitement, while scary movies aim to frighten viewers with supernatural elements or graphic violence. Both genres have their place in cinema and offer unique experiences for moviegoers.