A girl with a flashlight walks up to a creepy old cabin.
The music becomes high, and suspenseful ass she pushes the door open.
She closes the door behind her and the music holds a steady high note.
There is a sudden jolt of music as the masked killer steps from a janitor’s closet, grabs her, and slits her throat. Then the music drops low as the killer tosses her body to the floor, the evil deed done. Would this be as scary without the music?
Most likely not. If comical music was put behind it, it would most likely incite a different reaction, and with no music the whole scene might just seem downright silly. Music is really what seals the deal in a scary move. When the hapless victims are actually safe, the music is lighthearted. When the music changes and becomes high pitched or ominous, impending doom is on its way. That’s when audiences start to bite their nails.
The music sends subconscious messages to the brain. The mind knows what to expect, and it reacts with a shot of adrenaline. This is why so many people jump during movies. The lighting and background noise may help, but without the music, it’s just not the same. This is yet another good example of how music connects to and drives our most basic thoughts and instincts.