Horror Films That Don’t Go For Jump Scares

Alice Kirge in She Will

When it comes to horror mainstream media think horror genre is all about jump scares. Fans of the genre know that is not the case, they can be Psychological, heartbreaking, philosophical and with deeper meaning. In support of She Will which is a film that doesn’t use jump scares, below is a list of horrors that tick all the boxes for this list. Not in order nor a complete list, there is some you may expect to be on this list I’ve added to the notables.

The Mist

This one shocked many especially with the end which was heartbreaking. Based on the Stephen King book starring Thomas Jane. He heads to the store for supplies with his son at his local supermarket after the area was hit by a storm. Whilst in the store they find themselves trapped when a fog hits the town with creatures roaming in it.

The sadness isn’t just for the ending as many of the characters are pushed and forced to make some horrible decisions and when you realise the help these people desired was actually closer than they expected it leave you devastating. A film full of Lovecraftian monsters which showed how horrible humanity can be.


Lars Von Trier film of grief and depression about a couple who just have lost a baby head to a forest retreat. A film full of biblical symbolism, and a reminder how horrible humanity can be and sometimes in life and on the screen we are the monsters. Arthouse horror that’s bleak, depressive and traumatic. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe star in this one.


2008 French extreme horror is one of the hardest watches in horror. A bleak film that’s divided critics as much as fans. All about how one might achieve physical transcendence through torment. The film follows Lucie and Anna, played by Mylène Jampanoï and Morjana Alaoui, respectively, in which Lucie’s quest to seek revenge on the people who abducted and tortured her as a child leads her and Anna, also a victim of abuse, into a spiral of something much more sinister. The group is ran by a mysterious group of elites ran by Mademoiselle. A film that goes to some very dark places.


psychological horror directed by Natalie Erika James about three generations of women from one family and a haunted house. A film that will leave you heartbroken due to the film touching on Alzheimer’s , when the matriarch of the family goes missing sees her daughter and granddaughter head to her house to search for her. She returns home bringing a sinister presence with her. This is an atmospheric horror that covers  grief and fear of ageing beautifully. The tone of the film is depressing and a reminder that life can slip away from you before it’s gone.

A Girl That Walks Home Alone At Night

 Ana Lily Amirpour’s directorial debut, Iran’s first horror with a female director. A wonderful film that doesn’t rely on big body counts but on the romance. Some of argued if this film is actually a horror but there is several scenes in the film that contain tension. We follow a strange girl who roams the streets with some of humanity’s less desirables. Depending on your status and personality might help you live another day. Plenty of dread, misery are on these street and when you have a horror inspired by Spaghetti westerns it’s worth a look


If you are looking for that bloody revenge film and one thats a feminist revenge horror, this is a great entry. A married millionaire takes his lover to an isolated getaway turns to an nightmare when his creepy friends join him for a hunting trip that finds our protagonist left for dead. Cue revenge that will leave you rooting for the girl on her path for revenge. There is one trippy part in the film that involves a beer can.

Bone Tomahawk

Kurt Russell’s Western left many wondering why is this being considered a horror? The shocking ending reveals why, it’s gore filled with some horror elements making it a worthy entry and one that’s hard to stomach. Oh did I say cannibals?


Dario Argento will always be credited as the mastermind of this slasher horror, more credit must go to his co-writer Daria Nicolodi. Once told a story of her grandmother told her about when she was a girl invited to an academy to play piano. Argento was at a crossroads in his career and Nicolodi nudged him to move from thriller to horror fantasy. This one can separate hardcore horror fans from the casual fans, it’s a cult classic. I like the remake thats more arthouse and plays more on the witches coven than a slasher inspired film.


Carrie, Alien, Rosemary’s Baby, The Shinning, Visitor Q,

Oculus, Hereditary. Raw, The Vanishing, The Orphanage

Blair Witch Project, Wolf Creek

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