Visual horror without darkness

It strikes me how much horror, especially modern horror, relies on darkness to some degree. It’s certainly no surprise. It limits visibility, it’s suffocating. Oftentimes night can signify that nobody is around to notice your plight. Even if you’re not going for the cheap jump scare (as too many horror films try to do), the lack of visibility can be effective.

Is there any horror that, despite being well lit, is still effective? Extra points for an excessively cheery atmosphere. Super extra points if it doesn’t rely on excessive gore to compensate.

Note that I’m going for “intentional horror” here, not some kids show that is trying to be kid friendly but just messed it all up. Also, for our purposes “darkness” includes other methods of explicitly reducing visibility such as fog, mist, and so on.

These certainly exist, I’ve seen them, but I’m largely drawing a blank. Note that I say “visual horror” to exclude written and audio works. I love written horror, but while night is still common in written horror, it’s not nearly as overused in my experience.

The first that comes to mind for me is Night of the Living Dead which takes place mostly in a well lit house, and even the outdoor night scenes are well lit. Of course, we can debate how much NotLD qualifies as “horror” vs “interpersonal drama that happens to involve zombies”, but I’m counting it.

One of the murders in Zodiac is horrifying BECAUSE it takes place in broad daylight.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen them, but didn’t large chunks of the Insidious films, Mama and Battle Royale take place during the day?

Most of the crap going on in the original Japanese version of One Missed Call (I couldn’t make it more than a few minutes into the American remake) takes place either in the daytime, or in well lit areas - one rather out of place scene takes place in a darkened building, and another much more effective scene in an area with muted lighting, but, mostly daytime, well-lit buildings, or well-lit roads.

Similarly, very little of the Ju-On movies takes place in darkness (thankfully, given how terrible the copy of 2 I used to have was…if more of it was dark, I’d never have been able to follow the damn movie).

(One thing that those have in common - no inhuman monster that might not look as impressive or scary if we get a good look at him…OMC doesn’t really show the malevolent spirit at all, and Ju-On, they’re completely human in appearance…just ghostly white, and, in Kayako’s case, covered in blood.)

I forgot to mention The Ring, which I did like. Yes, it’s mostly set during the daytime too. The two scariest scenes were in broad daylight.

Cujo, iirc, takes place mostly in bright sunlight. Outside of the opening scene, I believe all the scary scenes in Jaws also take place during the day.

Seeing nothing can be scary. Abandonded buildings or people and objects being out of place creates unease.

Jaws comes to mind for well lit and cheery. OK, maybe not “horror” but at least close.
Any movie with things running in corn fields.

Or, say, an empty street.

These real life urban explorers just about shat themselves in broad daylight.

The movie Very Bad Things was a sort of comedy horror film, ISTM. Visually very bright and even slapsticky but essentially horrifying and macabre.

Most of Hitchcock’s films are pretty well-lit. Vertigo and Rear Window are well-lit. Psycho, Saboteur, and The Lady Vanishes are too, but they are in B&W. Of course they rely of almost unbearable suspense, as opposed to horror; even most of Psycho is suspense.

Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining I wouldn’t call cheery but the scariest scenes are well lit. I don’t know if they classify as horror either but they both gave me nightmares.

I’ll add THE BIRDS to the Hitchcock list. While some of the attacks do happen at night, the house is well lit.

I know you excluded fog, but Silent Hill seems worth mentioning for its high-key lighting in the outdoor scenes.

One Hour Photo has some stark, brightly-lit scenes. Not exactly horror though.

The Wicker Man (need I say “original version”?) is the first movie I think of when someone asks for “daylight horror”.

The British TV series Utopias is a sort of conspiracy thriller that dips its toe in the horror waters on occasion, but mostly has an aesthetic of brightly lights and bright, primary colors. Pretty gorgeous show.

Some of the scariest scenes in the original Poltergeist were during the day or in well-lit rooms.

I’ll second that. And, the most horrifying part occurs during a celebratory festival.