Here are the movies that *personally* scare(d) me most, either on first watch or after thinking/reflecting on it, so vote kindly and see a few explanations below to find out why they're included. I've not seen every movie so send any suggestions my way! Enjoy!
MOTHER!: Any film that makes me feel like I'm inside of my own nightmare deserves to be on this list.
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW: This movie scared me so much because the well-done effects and focus on characters' relationships made it feel like I was seeing a very real, plausible future, and that's one of the scariest things horror movies can do.
DISTURBIA: The believable, deceivingly polite serial-killer neighbor and tight pacing made 13-year-old-me practically piss herself in the theater.
THE TAKING: I struggle with memory, so using the idea of dementia as a vessel for a horror story was VERY effective on me - not to mention the effectiveness of the film itself. And that climax sequence is the thing of literal nightmares.