To make a successful horror and scary movie, there are some essential ingredients that one can choose to incorporate in their recipes. Some of those key elements are practically always needed, like a good gut-wrenching scream, a place dived in darkness or creepy and suggestive sounds. We can also find recurrent characters like macabre kids, menacing dolls or terrifying clowns.
But, there is one more essential components that plays a huge part in the building tension process: silence. Have you ever stopped breathing, trying to jolt as silently as possible, digging your fingernails in the palms of your hand during a quiet scene? If you have (and I know you have, come one! ) it is because silence gives a sentiment of strong anxiety and of unpredictability that triggers some of our darkest fears. Our minds dread the calm before the storm. It feels just like we are part of the movie ourselves and that our own survival is at stake. Silence is uncomfortable and abnormal. Which is everything a horror movie should be.
We gathered for you 5 of the most terrifying scenes in horror movies. So grab your bottle of oxygen and let’s do this.
5 Jurassic Park
While the 1993 classic is not considered as a horror movie per say, there is one scene in Jurassic Park that still gets me every time I watch it and where silence is essential for the survival of the characters. Remember when the two kids, Lex and Tim are hiding from the Raptors in the kitchen? Traumatizing for a lot of spectators. The way the raptors tapped their claws on the floor, this is pure torture for these poor children. When little Tim hits the metal tools with his head but the spoon falls on the ground… I know a lot of people who still gasp and hold their breath at this moment (even if it’s the 325th time they’ve watched it) … I don’t know about you, but playing hide and seek with dinosaurs is not my wildest dream…
4 The Woman in Black
Whether you liked the movie or not, silence, once again, plays a huge part in this movie. Arthur, portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe, stays on his own in an isolated scary mansion (for professional reasons, of course, that’s the only valid reason one would have to sleep in such a creepy house). Being alone in there, it’s obviously very quiet. Except that this mansion is haunted. So, quiet? Not that much. There is one scene in particular where Arthur is going through the corridor, a candle in his hand. All we can hear is a low background music and then no music at all, his slow breath and the sound of a rocking-chair. He steps into the room, the chair stops rocking… why? Because our crazy ghost is sitting on this chair! You’d think the character would run away in front of such a terrifying scene… absolutely not! He stays! AND ON TOP OF IT, he keeps on searching the room, full of creepy dolls and monkey toys. Oh what’s that in his other hand? An axe? Yeah genius, an axe against a ghost, that’s gonna work well isn’t?
3 The Others
The 2001 Alejandro Amenabar movie shows a desperately scared Nicole Kidman, raising her two kids in a big house. Classic plot? Not really, because the ending took everyone by surprise, but, I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it yet (and if you haven’t, what are you even doing?) Again, a single mother in a big house: silence is obviously predominant. And scary. Especially when the piano starts playing on its own… We follow the character tiptoeing down the stairs, in the empty piano room. Kidman closes the piano and locks it with a key and closes the door behind her. Well, she tries because something -or someone- seems to be holding it back. The ongoing squeaking of the door and her heavy breathing are getting so intense that it feels like danger could jump in at any moment. She finally goes back into the room, to find the piano, open again.
2 A Quiet Place
Now, for THE “you need to stay quiet or you’ll die” movie, please welcome A Quiet Place. The survival of a family in a horror movie is always a good idea. The viewer will empathize and everyone can relate to it. Of course, there are plenty of silent scenes in this movie (since it is the only way for them to not get killed by the monsters). But, the flooding scene is just UP THERE in terms of acting, lightning, filming. They all add more to the intensity of it. The bunker is flooding and Evelyn is trying to reach out to her newborn baby, while the monster is emerging out of the water just a few inches from her. The unpredictability of the baby’s cries, Evelyne trying not to scream or panick, the red light and the creature’s scream… Wow, I’m crying just thinking about it.
1 A Quiet Place
Yes, we’re honoring A Quiet Place in this top list because silence is truly a matter of life or death in this film. But the most unbearable scene to watch is when Evelyn gives birth in the bathtub. Seriously, as if she hadn’t suffered enough, she has to bring a child to this world WITHOUT MAKING A SOUND. The monsters are climbing the stairs and poor Evelyn is on her own, bleeding in a bathtub, trying to hold her baby inside. She finally takes advantage of the fireworks exploding in the sky to scream and push her baby out. Honestly, I’ve never been so scared for a character… Seriously, can this family get a moment of peace and quiet please? I mean not quiet, but of peace at least.
That’s it for this top list guys, of course, we know that horror movies don’t work the same on everyone. So let us know in the comment section what quiet scene scared you the most!