Is Rear Window a Scary Movie?

Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ is a classic film that has been the subject of debate for decades. Is it a scary movie?

Some argue that it is, while others believe that it falls more into the category of a suspenseful thriller. Let’s take a closer look at the film and explore what makes it both gripping and terrifying.

Plot Summary

Set in 1950s New York City, ‘Rear Window’ follows professional photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (played by James Stewart) as he recuperates from a broken leg.

Confined to his apartment, Jeff passes the time by observing his neighbors through his rear window. He becomes increasingly fixated on one particular neighbor, Lars Thorwald (played by Raymond Burr), whom he suspects has murdered his wife.

Suspenseful Thriller or Scary Movie?

So, where does ‘Rear Window’ fall on the spectrum between suspenseful thriller and scary movie? It’s certainly true that the film is not a typical horror movie – there are no jump scares or supernatural elements. However, this doesn’t mean that ‘Rear Window’ isn’t scary in its own right.

One of the reasons why the film is so terrifying is its emphasis on voyeurism. As Jeff watches his neighbors from afar, we as viewers also become complicit in his spying. This creates an unsettling sense of tension throughout the film – we know that something terrible could happen at any moment.

Additionally, ‘Rear Window’ features some truly spine-chilling moments. The scene where Jeff’s girlfriend Lisa (played by Grace Kelly) investigates Thorwald’s apartment while he’s away is particularly tense – we’re on edge waiting for him to return and catch her in the act.

The Power of Sound and Lighting

Another reason why ‘Rear Window’ is such an effective thriller is its masterful use of sound and lighting. Hitchcock was a true master of his craft, and he knew just how to use these elements to create an atmosphere of dread.

For example, there are several scenes in the film where the only sound we hear is the ambient noise of the city outside Jeff’s apartment. This creates a sense of isolation and claustrophobia – we feel trapped in Jeff’s apartment along with him.

Similarly, the lighting in ‘Rear Window’ is expertly crafted to create a sense of unease. The shadows and Silhouettes that we see through Jeff’s window give us just enough information to be scared, while also leaving much to the imagination.


In the end, whether ‘Rear Window’ is a scary movie or not may come down to personal interpretation. However, there’s no denying that this classic film remains one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most gripping and suspenseful works. With its masterful use of voyeurism, sound, and lighting, ‘Rear Window’ continues to terrify audiences decades after its initial release.