Study Confirms That The Scariest Movies Star The Nicest Dads

Boo! It's all about the dads.

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There are two kinds of people in the world: People who hate scary movies and people who should probably reevaluate the type of movies they enjoy. Scary movies aren’t for everyone, but this time of year, they are super popular, and it turns out the scariest movies all happen to star the nicest dads.

Each year, MoneySuperMarket’s Science of the Scare project sets out to find which movies are the scariest, and this year’s list is both terrifying and interesting. To rank the movies, they find the “scariest films taken from critic best-of lists, forum and subreddit suggestions (a particular thanks the r/horror community), personal and expert recommendations, and of course your feedback.”

This year, which is their fourth year ranking scary movies, they had more than 200 people screening over 100 hours of horror movies. They always use metrics to help determine which movie was scarier than the rest, but they used a slightly different metric this year than in the past.

“In previous years, we would measure the average impact our shortlisted movies had on the heart rate (measured in BPM) of our subjects, compared to the average resting BPM of the total sample size (64 BPM),” they explain. “However, new for 2023, we have developed a more detailed way of measuring, with the creation of the Science of Scare Score.”

The new score system looks at both the heart rate BPM and heart rate variance. They note this change happened to ensure there wasn’t a bias priority over scary movies that have a jumpscare. The results are really varied, and there’s one interesting thread between many of them we didn't expect: Some celebrity dads we love are all over this list.

Here’s the top ten list of scariest movies for 2023:

  1. Sinister
  2. Host
  3. Skinamirink
  4. Insidious
  5. The Conjuring
  6. Hereditary
  7. Smile
  8. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
  9. Hell House LLC
  10. Talk To Me

Among the top movies, Ethan Hawke and Patrick Wilson appear several times, and both “hold the record for most appearances as a different character on the list with two a-piece,” the study shares. Both also happen to be known for being the nicest dads in real life — Hawk to Maya and Levon and Wilson to Kalin and Kassian.

Kevin Bacon is another nice dad who has made a lower rank in the list for his role in Friday the 13th. He also broke a record this year and became the first father-daughter duo on the list. Sosie starred in Smile.

There are several other interesting takeaways from this year’s list of scariest movies. For one, Sinister tops the list this year after coming in second place last year. And last year’s winner, Host, took second place this year.

It’s also interesting that this year’s top list has a lot of modern movies, including Skinamarink, released in 2022, and Smile, which was released the same year. Some of the more classic Halloween movies still made the list, though ranked slightly lower — like Paranormal Activity at 15; 1974's Texas Chainsaw Massacre at 23; The Ring at 20; and the 1978 movie Halloween in 26th spot.

Still, bottom-line, the most of the scariest movies tend to involve the nicest dads, which is both spooky and kinda perfect.

To see the full list of movies, check out The Science of the Scare.

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