Should Christians watch horror movies? As Christians, we understand that more exists than just the physical world. There is a spiritual realm as well. Our curiosity about the spiritual seems natural. If we are indeed spiritual creatures, then there is an aspect of our existence that cannot be explained by science.
Even people that don’t believe in God or a spiritual world still have to recognize and deal with evil. On that front, we are all equal. We see evil and we don’t like it. But how do we go about exploring the depths of evil? One way is through film.
Horror Movies Make Us Uncomfortable
Horror movies have been a way to explore evil since the beginning of the film era. And since the start of the horror movies genera, Christians have been wary of them. There is a feeling of something not quite right. It’s as if we are getting a glimpse of things that shouldn’t be seen. Or worse, things we’d rather not think about.
As our culture becomes more and more secular, we are seeing a shift in world view. Good and bad are fading into shades of grey. There are no more truly good heroes. They are all flawed in some significant way. They have demons that haunt them. The possibility that they will turn to the dark side is always present.
This has even spilled over into the horror genera. The bad guys always have something that “made them that way”. It’s never quite their fault that they’re the way they are. They were pushed to it. It was their childhood that made them this way. The list goes on.
Are We Missing Something?
But as we look at horror movies, we do still see some true examples of evil. And I think this can be a healthy thing. We tend to look at God and think of His love for us. Intellectually, we understand that we are saved. But what are we saved from? Horror movies can help us examine the depths of the evil we are saved from.
One key element of horror movies is that often the characters are helpless. They are in a situation being confronted by evil, and they are trapped. There is no way out of the situation. They need help from outside. This can also be a good reminder to us that we are equally helpless in conquering evil. We can fight evil, but we can never eradicate it entirely. Only God is capable of that.
There are also some lessons that can be communicated through the genera of horror. One of my favorite short films is called “Cruel Logic” from director Brian Godawa. I used to show it to my youth groups to illustrate the logical conclusion of the idea of relativism. It is just creepy enough, without being overly violent, to get the message across.
A Few Warnings
So, while I don’t think that we should dismiss the horror genera outright, there are a few warnings we should follow. First, when children are involved, make sure the content is age appropriate. This will vary from person to person, and parents are in the best position to make this determination for their children.
Second, there are certain movies I would steer clear of as a Christian. Ones that are simply slasher movies with no real redeeming qualities should probably get a pass. Simply seeing blood and guts for no reason doesn’t hold any value to us as Christians.
Lastly, make sure the content reveals a true picture of reality. That may seem like a strange comment when talking about horror movies, but let me explain. Having demons in a horror movie isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they are portrayed accurately. By that I mean, evil. If demons are portrayed as fun loving and carefree, they are not presenting an accurate view of what demons are.
So should Christians watch horror movies? I don’t think we should throw out the entire genera of horror movies. There are some we would want to avoid, like those with excessive unnecessary violence. Or those with inaccurate world view. But some horror movies can remind us of the very real existence of evil. And that could very well be a reminder we all need from time to time.
Discuss your thoughts for this post on our Facebook Group here.