Horrifically good

Horror movies can be more helpful than anticipated


Credit: Alice Kasdan ’24

During this time of year, horror movies are considered an essential among my friends and I. While this is the case for us, horror movies are more often than not dismissed by viewers out of fear. 

 Although many people believe that horror movies increase stress, I would argue the opposite. I, like many, used to despise horror movies, finding it unusual that others gain happiness from such gruesome situations. While it’s an understandable argument, it is important to note that the majority of these situations are not real. I now look forward to nothing more than the satisfaction of an unexpected jumpscare in the middle of a movie. I find unpredictability exhilarating, almost like being on a rollercoaster. The twists and turns of horror movies are what keeps me intrigued. The plots of other films are simple and easy to anticipate, follow precise patterns, and have almost indistinguishable endings. I am not asserting that there are not good films in other genres. After all, my favorite movie is “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” and I often find comfort in iconic classics such as “Mean Girls,” but when I want something surprising I can always rely on horror. 

Despite the obvious satisfaction of thrill, horror movies have many under-appreciated psychological benefits. For those suffering from trauma and phobias, exposure to fears in a controlled environment could be beneficial depending on the situation. Although many may perceive those who suffer from anxiety or post traumatic stress disorders as more prone to shock when watching horror movies, studies published by the American Psychological Association in 2018 found that horror movies actually helped watchers gain a needed sense of control over their lives. These movies provide support by allowing viewers to establish the threat they are encountering as nonexistent, providing an escape during the current chaotic social and political climates. 

Many people, including myself, experience a sense of relief after finishing a scary movie, and I think it is a useful way to temporarily vanish from the real life horrors of society.

I am not saying to stop watching incredible movies that you find comfort in; when I am having a bad day, my first instinct is to sit down and watch “The Edge of Seventeen.” However, the next time you are picking a movie to enjoy with your friends, do not immediately disregard a horror film simply out of fear, because it might turn out to be better than you expect.