Why Do We Like Dark Films

There is a line from 2016’s season of Black Mirror; a horror game developer is talking to the main character, and asks “why do we like scary games?” The character responds “because of the adrenaline.” The developer says “yes… But mostly it is because you are still alive. You have faced your greatest fears in a safe environment.” That I believe is the key to why we love horror movies. They allow us to face fears that we have in an environment where they cannot hurt us. Games like Dead Space allow us to face our fears and conquer them actively; that is where technology is moving. But for now, dark movies allow us much the same process.

Dark Movies vs. Scary Movies

Movies that are dark, thriller type movies have a very different vibe from movies that are out rightly scary. I think the best example of this is the movie A Cure for Wellness. This movie was not scary, but it was one of the darkest movies I have ever seen. Dark movies occupy a different role in our psychology, I believe. Every life needs a balance. And oftentimes in our modern day, we get very little bad. Some people have more bad than others, but often our lives are a little softer than they were a few hundred years ago. To keep us from going totally soft, we inject a little bit of darkness into our everyday lives.

You know how some people like riding motorcycles? They often do that because it’s more thrill than riding in a car to get where you need to go. However, you always want to make sure you stay safe while riding. That’s why you buy a helmet from RiskyHead or another reputable dealer. In much the same way, we want thrills but don’t want to become too frightened. Dark movies occupy this space nicely; you don’t get jump scares (which many horror fans despise as well!) but you get the sense of dread that comes with scary movies. This is why TV shows such as Candle Cove work as well as they do.

Which One Are You?

Are you a fan of truly scary movies, like IT? Or do you prefer the more refined fear, such as A Cure For Wellness or Shutter Island? Either one says a lot about. It doesn’t mean that you’re a coward if you prefer dark movies over frightening ones. In fact, dark movies tend to stick with you longer. There is a staying power to dark movies that will outlast the jump scares of movies such as the Conjuring. Jump scare movies don’t stick with me. A well-done dark movie will stay with me for days after. To me, a movie like Franklyn has more staying power than a movie like Insidious, great as that movie is. So this Halloween, pick the type of scary movie that YOU love. You don’t have to let other people make you feel bad for liking different types of horror! In fact, you might actually be the braver one…