Top 10 Scary Movies I’d Actually Show Teenagers- PART II

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?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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7 Responses to Top 10 Scary Movies I’d Actually Show Teenagers- PART II

  1. Carrie says:

    Great timing! I’d never seen “Devil” and voila! It was on HBO tonight. GREAT movie…intense. I’d let my 15-year-old watch it. Thanks for the recommend.

  2. Pastor Matt says:

    We hold a regular event called Cinemagogue and we watched The Exorcist last Saturday night. The author William Peter Blatty called The Exorcist “a sermon you couldn’t sleep through.” It is a fascinating film for discussion although there are scenes that are pretty rough.

    • Wow… and to think that some guy criticized me in my previous day’s blog for showing Jaws!

      • Claud Slate says:

        2Co 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

        My point is, I should not be comparing my sin or my righteousness with my brother’s sin or his righteousness. It is easy for me to excuse a lot of my sin when I compare it to my brother’s greater, deeper darker sin.

        The standard to which I must compare my actions to is Jesus Christ. What movie do you think He would show to teenagers? He is High and Holy!!!! God help us!!!!

        1Pe 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

        I must personally give an account to God for how I directed the young people that God has allowed me to influence. God help me, because I know I am far from the standard that has been set, which is Jesus Christ.

  3. Brent Weldon says:

    If you liked the movie, Ghost in the Darkness, you should read the book Death in the Silent Places, by Peter Capstick (i’d try interlibrary loan). In this book, he writes several stories of great hunters who killed predators that were causing all kinds of trouble. The first story is the real story of the Tsavo lions. There was a lot of dramatic license taken for the story, and this book describes the terror these lions caused in greated depth. Michael Douglas’ character was not in the real story. There were two things the movie got right (besides the boldness and viciousness of the lions)–the part with Patterson having a misfire and the train car trap in which the trapped lion was fired at about 20 times or so and never hit–at point blank range (a bullet ricochet perfectly severed the cable for the door so the lion escaped–what are the odds?). It was at that point that the workers were absolutely convinced that the lions (which they already considered evil spirits) were invincible. i’d probably wonder myself after that.

    The most impressive story for me in that book is the story of Sasha Siemel, the leopard killer (Brazil). He used spears to kill them (around 800). The jungle was too thick to hunt them down with a gun. His method? He waited for them to charge and they impaled themselves on his spear (it had a cross beam so they wouldn’t slide down the spear shaft and kill him as they died). i think that’s the kind of guy you call, “Sir.” 😉

    Still another story was about Jim Corbett. It took him over 2 years to kill a man-eating tiger in India. This very smart tiger, by itself, killed three times as many as the Tsavo lions put together. Virtually every extended family of every village in the region of this tiger had lost at least one family member to this tiger.

  4. John Reitz says:

    There are several scary movies that can be shown at youth group meetings such as The Visitation, Sin Eater, Hangman’s Curse and House. Some of them even come with a Bible study guide to use. Just my thoughts.