Horror Movies With the Scariest Opening Scenes: Jaws, Scream and More!

We have seen plenty of horror movies over the years. Some have stayed with us because of how effective and visceral the films were as a whole, while some horror movie openings have been so effective that they alone have created a lasting impression in our minds. Regardless of what the rest of the film might be, these horror movies with the scariest opening scenes have left a tough imprint on our minds.

So, if you want a movie to provide a gripping experience from the start then check out this list of horror movies with the scariest opening scenes that will definitely create a lasting impression in your mind!

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

Although the 2006 remake was pretty bad, the original When a Stranger Calls’ opening is very scary only for one simple fact – it’s very realistic. Think about it – you’re babysitting, the little ones are safely in bed, you’re doing homework… everything is calm and quiet. Until the phone rings and an unknown man asks you whether you’ve checked on the children. He continues doing this… what do you do? Sounds horrifying, right?

Watch it here.


Wes Craven’s Scream is a lot of things and there aren’t very many negative things that can be said about the film. The entire film and almost all of its sequels are great to watch – and that’s a given considering Scream basically brought the slasher genre to the forefront. However, that opening sequence – horrifying.

Casey is alone in her sorority house, until a mysterious caller starts pestering her. Pretty quickly she realises that it’s not a prank as the stakes get higher and she has to take part in a game of cat-and-mouse with him. That is, until she fumbles and loses to him. The caller gives away punishment in the most gruesome way possible.

Again, the reason I like Scream’s opening and why it really stuck with me is because this horror movie opening is absolutely tense – and can absolutely happen in real life.

Watch it here.

Also Read: Our Favourite Horror Movies of the Last 5 Years

Final Destination

Another one of my favourite franchises, although the films have progressively become bad towards the end. Final Destination’s first chapter was creepy as all heck (my personal favourite is the second one though). However, what the first three movies have in common are really great horror movie openings. The first one is on a plane, the second on the highway and the third on a rollercoaster. It’s gruesome, it’s horrifying and it comes as a vision to the protagonist. That means, it’s just meaning to go down exactly the same if you don’t take the correct decisions.

Let me just say though, Final Destination 2 is one of those horror movies with the scariest opening scenes that still gives me the creeps when I drive by a logging truck. Can’t help it.

Watch Final Destination 1, Final Destination 2 and Final Destination 3.


Midsommar is a creepy movie throughout, no doubt about that. I can safely say that it’s one of my favourites because of the various themes that it tackles. But it has one of the best horror movie openings that I have ever come across. Dani and Christian are really bad together – they don’t love each other anymore and are together out of habit. It’s hearbreaking to watching his friends talk about his relationship in such a derogatory way.

However, you know what’s more heartbreaking? Watching her shriek and sob when she gets to know her whole family is dead in a murder-suicide. And don’t worry, you get to see in excruciating detail how that happened. Additionally, that background score though – haunting.

Watch it here.

It Chapter One

It Chapter One opens with two brothers and a gloomy, rainy day. While the older wants to stay at home, the younger wants to play in the rain and sail boats. Totally innocent and kinda wholesome. The trouble begins, however, when Georgie goes down to the basement to fetch some glue. There’s something eerie there and he runs away before anything happens. Phew, right?

Not quite. When he goes out to play with the boat that Bill makes, it floats down a drain. Trying to get it out, he comes face-to-face with It. The latter converses with him and makes him comfortable enough to reach inside the drain… only for It to tear his fricking arm off. And the only witness? The neighbour’s cat. Horrifying.

This horror movie opening totally broke my heart.

Watch it here.

Also Read: Jump Scares in Horror Movies: Lights Out, Scream, Paranormal Activity and More!

Ghost Ship

Another horror movie opening that is absolutely devastating is that of Ghost Ship. It starts off on a ship – all the adults are drinking and dancing and having a generally good time except for the youngest member of the boat, Katie, who is quite bored. While everyone is dancing, the captain of the ship asks her for a dance. She is excited and happy. Until a wire snaps somewhere and sweeps across the boat. All is still for a moment… and then the unthinkable happens. The carnage is devastating.

As one of the horror movies with the scariest opening scenes, the entire rest of the film, however, is quite the dud.

Watch it here.


A classic that everyone has probably watched at least once in their lives, Jaws made us all scared to be at the beach. I think the reason it’s so scary to think about sharks when you’re at the beach is that these creatures are mostly unseen and unheard of. They’re very… shy. Well, if you can call it that. However, that opening sequence is absolutely scary. Although it’s something that we see a lot these days, the original will always be the best.

The juxtaposition is also striking, in my opinion. It’s so calm out there, why wouldn’t you think of taking a dip! However, what lies underneath that calm exterior is something to horrifying that it drags poor Crissy down into the water. A horror movie opening that inspired so many more to come – and it didn’t even show the villain!

Don’t go swimming in the ocean in the middle of the night, kids.

Watch it here.

It Follows

Another one of my all-time favourite horror movies with the scariest opening scenes, It Follows is a curious film. There are lots of things that are… off about it. That includes this horrifying opening sequence where Annie is seen coming out of her home, frightened out of her mind, in high heels and ridiculous clothes. Something is following her but the audience cannot figure out what that is. She gets in her car and drives off to the beach (goddamn beaches!), sits on the sand in the glow of the headlights and tells her father that she loves him. She then turns up dead the next morning in a gruesome way. We don’t know what went wrong! It’s horrifying!

The opening sets you up to expect exactly what It Follows is going to give you – it’s an enemy whom you can’t see and a constant need for running away. The film does it brilliantly with the camera work as well. The way it follows Annie as she takes a lap around her neighbourhood is brilliant and induces true horror, all the while you are expecting to catch a glimpse of something or someone!

Watch it here.

So, did you like our list of horror movies with the scariest opening scenes? Tell us in the comments below if we missed out on your favourite horror movie opening scene!

Also Read: Revisiting IT Follows (2014), A ‘Timeless’ Horror Movie

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