Yesterday I kicked off the first 5 of my Top 10 List of films that I’d actually feel comfortable showing my teenagers. Yesterday I gave you the first five; today you get five more.
I don’t know what the fascination is with scary films, but they really intrigue this generation. As a kid I really liked scary stories. Scary movies… even better. I remember watching Jaws when I was about 10 and I couldn’t sleep for several nights. My parents vowed to never let me watch scary films again… so I watched them at my friends’ houses!
This generation seems no different. When the top grossing film of the weekend last weekend was Paranormal Activity 3… that tells us something.
So if young people are going to watch scary, it would be nice to at least have some clean options. Here’s the remaining 5 from my Top 10 list.
The Next 5 Scary Movies I’d Actually Show Teenagers
(WARNING: Again, as I mentioned yesterday, please don’t just read the titles below, rent the film and show it at youth group. You will be fired! There are several of these that I would not show at youth group- but I would co-watch with certain teenagers. So read my description and my linked review carefully, then view the film yourself, using your discernment.)
Devil—(Directed by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle). I’ll start my list off with a dooooozie. Yes, the title of this film is “Devil.” Does that mean it’s inappropriate to watch? Good question. The film opens with the scripture verse, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8” When I first heard about this film, I thought, “No way.” Personally, I don’t like films about demon possession, mediums, etc… because it’s very real! (I shared a little about my view on this here). But after a few friends told me about the film, and once I discovered that it was written by M. Night Shyamalan, I decided to take a peek… and I’m glad I did. The film has little to do with the paranormal, instead it’s more of an Agatha Christie-esque “And Then There Were None” where people are being murdered one at a time and it’s up to you to figure out who is doing it. The writing is amazing, the acting is brilliant, and the film delivers some great jumps. Spooky, thought provoking, and it will keep you on the edge of your chair the whole film!
I Am Legend—(Directed by Francis Lawrence) This is the one “Zombie-esque” film that will actually make it onto this list (although 28-Days Later is an amazing film, but just a little too intense for me to actually recommend for teenagers). Will Smith proves his amazing acting ability in this film, evidencing that he is much more than your proverbial action star. Humankind is almost entirely wiped out, and New York City is seemingly empty except for the zoo animals that run about. But then the sun sets… and it’s a whole different story. Amazing film, clean, suspenseful… and it will even put a lump in your throat a few times.
Psycho—(Directed by Alfred Hitchcock) An amazing film by the master of suspense. The film is tame by today’s standards, but still has some pretty mature themes. This is not a film I’d show to youth group, but one I’d watch with my own teenagers. This 1960 film probably needs no explanation, but if you haven’t seen it in a while, I think you’ll find the dialogue pleasantly surprising and captivating. This film is so much more than the “acclaimed” shower scene, a great mystery overall.
Book of Eli—(Directed by the Hughs brothers) Okay, I admit, this film would not typically be thought of as a scary film, but I’m including it on my list because of its frightening premise. Nothing is scarier than a post-apocalyptic survival situation, and that’s exactly the world that Eli lives in. In this R-rated film you’ll see swords chopping off limbs and some intense survival fight scenes (including an implied rape). Scary stuff… a scary world indeed. In the midst of this world is a man named Eli who is carrying the last copy of the Bible across the country to safety. Some great discussion scenes, including the one where the Eli’s nemesis Carnegie talks about the great power of the Bible, and the scene where Eli finally concludes, “All the years I’ve been carrying it and reading it every day…I got so caught up with keeping it safe I forgot to live by what I learned from it..” (We provided a piece of curriculum with small group questions and scripture using that scene).
The Sixth Sense—(directed by M. Night Shyamalan) This spooky little piece is the film that put M. Night Shyamalan on the map. This film is very creepy—not for those easily frightened. It does raise questions about the dead and where they go after they die. Some people might think that this film deals too much with paranormal activity. If you think that’s a slippery slope, then you shouldn’t watch this. But the film is very well made, very clean, and is made by a director who always seems to be looking for spiritual answers.
What about you? Any films you’d include in this list? Any films that you might have shown teenagers… and regretted it?