Video: Jump scares are a staple — and one of the most divisive elements — of modern horror movies. Some people are too susceptible to them, while others find them gimmicky. To people in the former camp: Does the above gif scare you in any way? The answer is almost certainly no.
Despite the “jump” in “jump scare”, what I realised while watching Burger Fiction‘s latest supercut is that movement really isn’t what creates shock with these scenes: It’s sound. Go ahead, watch the video on mute. Demons and popping out of mirrors suddenly becomes awkward or even laughable without the ubiquitous jolt of noise. Someone in the industry has almost certainly discovered exactly how loud these things need to be in order to work, and has been capitalising on it for decades.
The other realisation about watching so many of these scenes in sequence is that, even with the shrieks and clangs, the scenes eventually start to fall flat. For a jump scare to work there has to be some build-up in preceding tension that climaxes and is relieved by the jump scare. All that time searching a creaky old house, listening for slamming doors is important — arguably more so than the actual payoff.
If jump scares work too well on you, this supercut might make you realise how little power they hold. And if you think they’re a dead horse whose ghost has been beaten into vengeful haunting, Burger Fiction has provided you with all the justified rage you’ll ever need.