Sinister Is No Longer The Scariest Movie Of All Time, According To ‘Science’

by : Cameron Frew on : 24 Sep 2021 16:49
Sinister Is No Longer The Scariest Movie Of All Time, According To 'Science'Momentum Pictures

Sinister once held the title of ‘the scariest movie of all time’ – however, a recent horror has knocked it off the top spot.

Fear is all completely subjective, of course. The Blair Witch Project, in concept and execution, absolutely terrifies me. Yet, when I showed it to my friends, they swiftly dubbed it ‘boring’ and ‘hilarious’.


However, some horror films unite audiences in fear more than others. The Shining is universally recognised as creepy, The Exorcist has an untouchable legacy, and Sinister is known as one of the more ferocious, grisly movies in the crop of modern horror films. However, after being declared the scariest movie ever, it’s now second to another, newer entry.

Sinister 2012Momentum Pictures

Between August and September this year, the Science of Scare Project invited 250 ‘victims’ to watch 40 of the ‘world’s scariest’ horror movies, where they were ‘fitted with heart rate monitors and invited into our specially designed screaming rooms to watch the movies over the course of several weeks, under medical and researcher supervision’.

Last year, Sinister produced the highest results, with an average heart rate of 86bpm during the movie, a 32% increase from a resting rate of 65bpm, and jump scares causing a spike of 131bpm.

Host. (Shudder)Shudder

Those results have barely dipped at all in this year’s experiment, but another film managed to bag a higher average heart rate of 88bpm: Host, Rob Savage’s frightening quarantine horror taking place entirely on Zoom.

‘Our audience experienced a 37% uplift in heart rate when watching the movie, from an average of 64bpm, up to 88bpm, with the film’s scariest moment sending hearts pounding to 130bpm (the equivalent of jogging),’ the researchers wrote.

most scary films ranked (Science of Scare)Science of Scare Project

Insidious ranked third after Host and Sinister, with an average heart rate of 85bpm, followed by The Conjuring, Hereditary, Terrified, It Follows, A Quiet Place Part II, Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring 2. Interestingly, classic horrors didn’t fare so well, with A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween ranking at 16th and 17th respectively.

Daniel Clifford, from broadbandchoices.co.uk, who funded the study, said, ‘We found that most of the movies on our list are available widely on streaming services, with our winner Host, being a Shudder exclusive. That means, if you’re feeling especially brave, you can turn the lights off and enjoy some of these heart-pumping movies in the comfort of your own home.’

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Film and TV, horror


  1. broadbandchoices

    The scariest movies - according to Science! 2021 Update