What Makes Horror Movie Scary?

Horror movies have been a popular genre for decades, but what exactly makes them so scary? Is it the jump scares, the suspenseful music, or the terrifying creatures that lurk on screen? In this article, we’ll explore the different elements that contribute to making a horror movie truly frightening.

The Unknown

One of the most effective ways to scare an audience is by playing on their fear of the unknown. Horror movies often take advantage of this by presenting viewers with something they can’t quite explain or understand.

This could be a mysterious creature lurking in the shadows or a supernatural force that defies explanation. By leaving things up to the imagination, horror films instill a sense of unease and uncertainty that can be hard to shake off.


For some horror fans, gore is what makes a movie truly terrifying. The sight of blood and guts splattered across the screen can be shocking and nauseating, evoking a visceral response from viewers. However, it’s important to note that not all horror movies rely on gore to be effective – in fact, many classic horror films from earlier eras relied more on suggestion than explicit violence.


Suspense is another key element of horror movies. By building tension slowly and steadily over time, filmmakers can create an atmosphere of fear and anticipation that keeps viewers on edge. This could involve setting up traps or obstacles for characters to overcome, slowly revealing more about a mysterious antagonist or simply letting eerie music do its work.

Jump Scares

Jump scares are perhaps one of the most well-known tropes of horror movies. These sudden moments of shock are designed to catch viewers off guard and elicit an immediate reaction – whether it’s screaming out loud or flinching in your seat. While jump scares have become somewhat predictable in recent years, they can still be effective when used sparingly and in the right context.

The Supernatural

Many horror movies delve into the realm of the supernatural, exploring themes like ghosts, demons, and otherworldly creatures. By tapping into our fear of the unknown and the beyond, these films can create a sense of dread that lingers long after the credits have rolled. Additionally, supernatural elements can allow for creative and visually striking imagery that adds to the overall impact of the film.


While there are countless factors that contribute to making a horror movie scary, these are just a few of the most common ones. Whether you’re a die-hard horror fan or someone who prefers to steer clear of anything too spooky, it’s clear that horror movies have a unique ability to evoke strong emotions and leave lasting impressions on their viewers.