'Sinister' crowned scariest movie of all time after heart rate experiment

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2 min read
Ethan Hawke in 2012 horror movie 'Sinister'. (Credit: Momentum)
Ethan Hawke in 2012 horror movie 'Sinister'. (Credit: Momentum)

If you’re looking for the scariest possible movie to watch this Halloween, then 2012’s Sinister is your best bet — according to science.

Broadband Choices recently carried out a study, entitled The Science of Scare, in which they tracked the heart rate of 50 viewers watching a curated list of 50 memorable horror movies.

Read more: Halloween 2020 cinema and streaming guide

Sinister came out on top, with an average heart rate of 86 bpm across the movie and a highest spike of 131 bpm for the biggest jump scare — presumably the unforgettable lawnmower scene.

Other modern horror efforts completed the top five, with Sinister only narrowly beating Insidious, The Conjuring, Hereditary and Paranormal Activity.

Watch: Scariest horror movies of the 2000s

Insidious managed the biggest single spike, with one jump scare shooting participants’ heart rates to an average of 133 bpm.

Modern films dominated the list, with A Nightmare on Elm Street (13th place) deemed the scariest movie released prior to the new millennium.

Read more: Most disturbing movie scenes ever

Sinister tells the story of a crime writer, played by Ethan Hawke, who secretly moves his family into a home with a violent past in the hope that it will inspire him.

He finds a box of Super 8 snuff films, with Hawke’s character ultimately noting the presence of a demonic figure — revealed as Pagan deity Bughuul — in each of the movies.

'Sinister'. (Credit: Momentum)
'Sinister'. (Credit: Momentum)

Scott Derrickson helmed the film, which earned $83m (£63m) at the global box office and was followed by sequel Sinister 2 in 2015.

Derrickson followed Sinister with another horror effort in Deliver Us From Evil before making the jump to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the man behind Doctor Strange.

Read more: Chiwetel Ejiofor says Sam Raimi is perfect for Doctor Strange 2

He has been replaced for the Doctor Strange follow-up by Sam Raimi, but has signed up for a new project of his own in the shape of a sequel to cult fantasy film Labyrinth.

As creepy as the Goblin King was first time around, it doesn’t quite pack the same fear factor as Sinister — as far as we know.

Watch: Halloween movies for scaredy-cats