Should Christians watch horror films? It’s a question I’m continually asked, especially every year around Halloween. I somewhat agree with the affirmative answers others have given: that by focusing on the darkness, there is opportunity to shine a light; that many horror films are built upon an undergirding of morality. But I wonder if there’s a way to push this defense a bit further. Might there be a crucial connection between how the best horror films function and a Christian understanding of fear?
In adapting Madeleine L’Engle’s young-adult novel, screenwriters Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell, along with director Ava DuVernay, emphasize themes of personal empowerment and self-actualization. Yet there are deeper implications to the story as well. L’Engle herself was a Christian, after all, and her book has long been considered a metaphor for spiritual struggle.