Top 10 Scariest Scenes of 2020

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Top 10 Scariest Scenes of 2020

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Alex Slade
As if this year hasn't been scary enough, along come these scenes! For this list, we'll be looking at terrifying scenes that made us unnerved, uncomfortable, disturbed, or just filled us with dread. Our countdown includes "Sputnik", “The Lodge”, "The Invisible Man", and more!
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Top 10 Scariest Scenes of 2020


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Scenes of 2020.

For this list, we’ll be looking at terrifying scenes that made us unnerved, uncomfortable, disturbed, or just filled us with dread. TV and film scenes are both eligible as well as movies that premiered in 2019, so long as their wide releases happened in 2020.

Let us know in the comment section below which scene had you shaking under the blankets.

#10: Creature Feeding

“Sputnik” (2020)

We’ve seen scenes where an alien feeds on a human before, and it always terrifies us. However, this particular scene differs from those, and its disturbing nature is elevated because the feeding is deliberate, and there are onlookers. Seeing it in thermal vision and from a distance has us filling in the blanks in our minds, and the unknown is always scarier in our heads. The way the creature moves and makes a precise and calculated decision to rip the captive’s head off highlights that we are right to be scared of it.


#9: Trapped

“Relic” (2020)

Change is always frightening, whether it be physical, circumstantial, or environmental. So, when the interior of a house you know is changing before your very eyes, we can understand being fearful. Knowing that your freedom is just behind a wall that you can’t get through is devastating, as is the claustrophobic feeling this scene induces with its camera angles. We, as an audience, feel trapped, and that makes us feel incredibly uncomfortable. While the rest of the film is relatively slow, Sam’s entrapment happens unexpectedly fast, which doesn’t allow us to ease into the situation as viewers.

#8: Ghost by the Bed

“Lovecraft Country” (2020-)

It’s the eyes, the damn eyes. A scary scene succeeds when we feel scared for a particular character, so when that character is sleeping and defenseless, the danger and fear we feel for them is amplified. While the exact intent isn’t revealed here, we’re expecting the worst. If the ghost’s intense gaze isn't enough to make your skin crawl, its mutilated mouth is. While this would have been enough on its own to scare anyone, the jump-scare of the blanket being pulled off at the end is an excellent finisher.

#7: Grace Regresses

“The Lodge” (2019)

Thinking you’re about to die is a scary thought, but what if you thought you were already dead? That’s precisely what happens in “The Lodge,” as Grace’s partner’s children try to convince her that they are dead and in purgatory. While we aren’t sure what to believe at this point, there’s no denying that the visual of Aidan seemingly ending his life is a heart-stopper. Our hearts do start again and quickly reach 120 beats per minute when Aidan reveals that he’s unharmed and cannot die because he is already supposedly dead.


#6: In the Attic

“Host” (2020)

Firstly, we have to commend the creators for crafting this superb chiller during the COVID-19 pandemic while quarantine restrictions were in place. The Zoom application allows us to be a part of the film characters’ hangout and watch as demonic force terrorizes the group of friends. Attics are a naturally creepy place, and the anticipation this scene builds by having the camera slowly pan across the room has us tensing every part of our body as we wait to see what will appear. What does reveal itself does not disappoint.

#5: Opening Scene

“Possessor” (2020)

While we aren’t presented with horrifying or spooky demons here, it’s the very idea that scares us. Imagine being possessed by a different person to carry out something you have no control of. Director Brandon Cronenberg follows in his father’s footsteps with body-horror and surrealism, so if you’re a bit squeamish, this may not be for you. The opening scene does an excellent job in relaying all this with some close-ups, so you’ll know right away if you can stomach it. It’s gory, bloody, grotesque, and it all looks shockingly real.


#4: Dinner Nightmare

“His House” (2020)

There are many horror movies in which a character sees a ghost or is attacked by a demonic presence and then somehow goes to sleep in the same house. “His House” gives us a perfect reason as to why our characters can’t leave, and the night witch, or apeth, haunting them, uses this knowledge to torment Bol. The illusion of the vast emptiness and red skies emits an ominous aura as zombie-like people emerge from underwater. We can’t see them until they burst up, which means we don’t know when we can feel safe.


#3: Mutant Wife

“Color Out of Space” (2019)

Cosmic horror as a genre is scary enough. A lot of what works in delivering scares is knowing that something is out there far more powerful than you. The being’s influence is subtle at first, but that changes soon enough. The melding of mother and son together to create a monstrous abomination makes us sick to our stomachs to hear and see, not because it’s so disgusting, but because we’re witness to a small child and innocent woman in a lot of pain and despair. As it continues to transform, we’re presented with a face that’s straight from a nightmare.

#2: Through the Gown

“The Haunting of Bly Manor” (2020)

While it may not be as frightening as Hill House, it certainly is chilling and has its moments. With the scares being sparse, their arrival holds greater significance and work in their favor to make our skin crawl. Usually, audiences can tell when a scare is coming, and they can brace themselves, lessening the blow. This is not the case when a pair of ghostly arms grab Perdita. The black-and-white grading adds an ominous look to it, and the scene highlights what lengths people, or ghosts, will go to to get their revenge.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Detective Jack Hoskins Encounters the Man, “The Outsider” (2020)
Because He Disappears in a Flash


Seeing Cthulhu, “Underwater” (2020)
Because the Creature Is Far More Terrible Than We Thought


The Dining Room, “Z” (2019)
Because It Will Make You Jump Out of Your Skin


Under the Pavement, “Vivarium” (2019)
Because It Will Make Your Skin Crawl

#1: In the Restaurant

“The Invisible Man” (2020)

There are a few things at play here as to why this scene works in a horror film. First, we are shown that public places are not safe anymore. It lets the audience know that we can’t trust ourselves not to be scared in seemingly safe places. We’re also shown that not only do we have to be fearful for Cecilia, but for her friends and family too. Additionally, the psychological torment disturbs us more than any other jumpscare would. The scene also highlights Cee’s lack of control of the situation, and that realization is just as terrifying as all the other elements.
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