These are the Scariest Horror Movies, According to Science

These are the Scariest Horror Movies, According to Science

Halloween is coming up fast and with trick or treating off the table for a lot of people, sitting down to watch a scary movie is a great alternative. But there are so many great horror films on the market, which is the right one? More importantly, which one will actually keep you up at night?

The Science of Scare project has developed a method to determine exactly which horror movie is the scariest based on heart rate data. The project sat 50 people down in a room with 5.1 surround sound to watch 50 of the best horror movies, as recommended by critics lists. Examining heart rate monitors on each of the participants helped to determine exactly which moments in each film were the scariest and which kept hearts rates consistently high.

The number one horror film to rule them all, according to the study, is Sinister. The 2012 film, from director Scott Derrickson, follows the story of a crime writer who discovers a series of 8mm films showing footage of the gruesome murders he’s currently researching. The film kept participants' average heart rate at 86bpm with the highest spike at 131bpm. For the record, a human’s average resting heart rate sits around 65bpm.

In order, the 20 best films that kept heart rates above average include:

  • Sinister
  • Insidious
  • The Conjuring
  • Hereditary
  • Paranormal Activity
  • It Follows
  • The Conjuring 2
  • The Babadook
  • The Descent
  • The Visit
  • The Ring
  • A Quiet Place
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Halloween
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • 28 Days Later
  • The Exorcist
  • Hush
  • IT
  • Scream

Insidious, at number two, also holds the title of the best jump scare, bringing heart rates to 133bpm, so keep an eye out for that if you're watching.

Can’t argue with science, right? If you’re looking for something truly scary this Halloween weekend, maybe check out one of these recommended films and see if they were right. Or if you’re really brave check out the number one Sinister, which is streaming on Stan.

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