5 Great Horror Movies With Perfect Pacing And Tension

A horror movie is really nothing without its pacing. The most disappointing movies have cheap jump scares and no sense of tension, and audiences don’t really care what happens to the characters. But when a horror film is perfectly plotted, it feels like anything can happen at any time. Moviegoers want to feel like they can’t stop watching for a minute or they will miss something important.

The best horror movies understand how crucial tension is, and there are many popular and well-done films that fit in this category. These films have smart characters, well-written scripts, and creepy tones that keep audiences interested.


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The pacing of the 1978 movie Halloween really can’t be beat, as Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is spending what she assumes is a regular, ordinary night in her small town, babysitting and hanging out with her good friends. Instead, Laurie is fighting to survive the horrible villain Michael Myers who is diabolical and terrifying. Even the way that Michael walks around is perfectly paced as he’s very slow and yet still so scary.

There is an eerie and uneasy feeling to the entire movie, as Laurie learns the truth and tries to save the kids who she is babysitting. When audiences look back on this film, they love the score by John Carpenter and the sense of fear that Laurie experiences, as it motivates her to fight back and make sure that she gets through the night.

Jordan Peele fans look forward to nopehis latest film which will hit theaters in summer 2022. Peele’s 2017 movie Get Out has a memorable and important premise, as Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) meets his girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Alison Williams) parents and realizes a horrifying truth. Chris’s best friend Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery) is a great horror movie supporting character as well.

Get Out also has a ton of tension, as Chris has a horrible feeling about Rose’s family (and rightly so) and then falls into The Sunken Place. As the trip continues and Chris meets different people at the house, he knows that this isn’t going to end well.

Sarah Paulson’s thriller Run is better than misery and has a similar premise: Diane Sherman is overly protective of her daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen), now a teenager dreaming of leaving home and going away to college. Chloe has always thought that she was sick and that’s why she couldn’t leave the house, but after a series of discoveries, Chloe figures out that her mom is just pretending.

run is perfectly plotted and it’s possible to cut the tension with a knife once the movie really gets going. Whether Chloe is trying to use the phone or look something up online without her mom knowing, or she sneaks away to the local pharmacy during a movie, audiences won’t be able to look away. Chloe knows she has to save herself and if her mom finds out what she’s doing, it will be all over. The fact that Chloe is so terrified of her own parent powers the whole movie.

Ti West’s 2022 Horror Movie X tells a brilliant story of filmmakers making an adult movie and the story also has perfect tension throughout. Whether Bobby Lynn (Brittany Snow) is getting eaten by an alligator or Lorraine (Jenna Ortega) is stuck in Pearl (Mia Goth) and Howard (Stephen Ure)’s basement, audiences are on the edge of their seat, wondering who will live and who will die.

One of the movie’s best scenes is also the most tension-filled, as Pearl and Maxine (Goth) share a strange moment in Pearl and Howard’s home. Pearl touches Maxine’s face and dreams of being young and beautiful again and Maxine is, understandably, totally creeped out, wondering why she and the others had to film this movie in this eerie rural setting.

It Follows has endured as a popular horror movie, and its star, Maika Monroe, also stars in the creative and smart 2022 film watcher. Julia (Monroe) and her husband Francis (Karl Glusman) move to Bucharest, Romania, and as Julia tries to pass the time since she isn’t working right now, she becomes suspicious of a man who she thinks is following her (played by Burn Gorman).

The pacing of watcher is incredible and impressive, and with every scene, Julia feels more and more alone and isolated, and audiences feel her pain. There’s a debate about elevated horror and the slasher genre, and watcher has an art-house feel while also delivering an entertaining and terrifying story about a young woman trying to stay safe and figure out what’s really going on in her new city. By the time audiences reach the conclusion, they have likely been holding their breath for a while.

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