The Best Jump Scare In Recent Memory Was Strategic Perfection

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Written By Sedoso Feb

“Skinamarink” should be studied for its restraint. Ball’s vibes-first approach to making this movie resulted in an experiential marvel, and the very fact that the film was not full of wall-to-wall jump scares meant that when he finally did drop the hammer, it landed in a huge way and rattled audiences to their core. 

It’s the same reason that jump scare in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” works so well. You know the one: When Bilbo Baggins reaches out to try to take the One Ring back from Frodo. Not only are we not expecting something scary to happen in that moment, we’re certainly not expecting something scary from that specific character. It’s Bilbo! Our old pal! He wouldn’t hurt his own relative! To see his face contort into a monstrous form and to get a glimpse at the corruption the Ring has wrought inside him is terrifying, and to see that simple Fisher Price toy phone contort in a similar way in “Skinamarink” has an equally unsettling effect.

We voted the phone jump scare as one of the 50 best movie moments of 2023 on the latest episode of the /Film Daily podcast, which you can listen to below:

You can subscribe to /Film Daily on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, and send your feedback, questions, comments, concerns, and mailbag topics to us at bpearson@slashfilm.com. Please leave your name and general geographic location in case we mention your e-mail on the show!

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