Scariest Movie Ever

What’s the scariest movie ever made? I’m sure everyone has their own opinion on this, and some of those opinions will make other people angry because they don’t match their particular opinions. So it goes! But can we ever officially determine what counts as the scariest movie ever made? I’d say no, since taste is subjective. But leave it to some nerds to try to get to the bottom of this using science. As part of something called the Science of Scare Project, it was determined that Sinister, Scott Derrickson‘s creepy 2012 chiller starring Ethan Hawke, is the scariest movie ever made. And I’m sorry, you can’t argue with science.

Forbes has the story:  broadbandchoices—a comparison tool for broadband deals – ran something called the Science of Scare Project to try to find the official scariest movie ever made. Per the story, they tracked “the heart rates of 50 people of a variety of ages who watched over 100 hours of scary movies. After all of the tracking, broadbandchoices narrowed down a list of what it (scientifically) believes to be the scariest 35 movies ever made.” Then:

For the study, each member of the test audience was fitted with a heart rate monitor to see how much (on average) their heart rates rose above their resting heart rates during a film. All data was averaged for each film, and one film came out on top as the undeniably scariest movie of the bunch.

The average resting heart rate of the participants was 65 BPM, but while watching Sinister, the viewers’ average heart rate went up to 86 BPM – the highest rise in BMP for anyone participating in the study. Released in 2012, Sinister has Ethan Hawke as a washed-up true crime writer who moves his family into a house that was once the scene of a grisly murder. While investigating the case, Hawke’s character uncovers a trove of old film reels that contain supernaturally-driven snuff films. It’s an exceptionally well-made movie.

However, Insidious also got some attention in the study, too, earning itself the “biggest jump scare” title when one scene caused the participants’ heart rates to jump to 133 BPM. The Forbes story doesn’t mention what scene it was, but anyone who has watched Insidious knows it was almost certainly the memorable moment when the red-faced demon pops up behind Patrick Wilson. You know, this scene:

“With more people than ever facing a Halloween at home, our Science of Scare study was designed to help people find the most scientifically scary films ever made, to save them the time of searching through thousands of titles across streaming services like Amazon, Netflix and Shudder,” said Daniel Clifford, creator of the study. You can check out an infographic about the study below.

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