A Chicken's Guide to Surviving a Scary Movie

In an ideal world, no one would ever make you watch a scary movie when you're not feeling up to it.

When that isn't the case, it's always good to have a few tricks up your sleeve to help you enjoy the film, no matter how scary it might get. If you're typically a big chicken at the movies, these tips might be just what you need to survive your next spooky outing.

Research First

Sometimes spoilers are exactly what you need in order to not be terrified of a movie. If you dread the unknown, then looking at its summary on Wikipedia or reading a review that carefully outlines the plot can help you lessen your fear before you've even seen the film.

You might think that knowing about the movie beforehand will ruin your enjoyment, but when you're scared, the opposite will often be true. If you go into the film already knowing all the beats, you'll be able to anticipate and harden yourself to the scary bits, allowing you to actually pay attention to and enjoy everything else. Maybe you'll even learn what techniques they used to pull off some of the scariest moments, so that they'll seem completely fake to you. Knowing what's coming can also help you remember that it's all make-believe, and that the movie can't hurt you.

Shutterstock: Girls watching scary movie

(via Shutterstock)


Familiarize Yourself With the Big, Bad Villain

If a horror movie features someone famous as the villain, you already have an advantage against being scared because you can build non-scary associations with them. Try watching clips of them in other roles, so you can think of them as the superpowered hero or the rom-com sidekick, instead of the creepy baddie. If you build the right mental connections with someone, it'll make it a lot harder for them to scare you. It can also help to watch interviews with the actor in order to humanize them. The more you think of them as a nice person who plays pretend for a living, the better off you'll be.


Adjust Your Environment

When you're being asked to watch a scary movie you don't want to see, your environment is often out of your control, but it doesn't hurt to try to make things comfortable for yourself. If you're watching the movie at home or at a friend's place, see if you can arrange a viewing during the day. A bright, sunny atmosphere makes any horror film way less scary. If you're watching at night, ask if it'd be okay to keep the lights on. It may also be helpful to close any blinds, curtains and doors, so you don't imagine seeing anything unnerving through them once the movie gets underway.

There's less you can do if you're watching it at the movie theater, but try wearing a big, cozy jacket with a hood. Not only can it act as a security blanket, but it will make it easier to cover your eyes when necessary. The distraction of a snack can also be super helpful. Popcorn is your friend!


Focus on the Things That Remind You It's Just a Movie

If you're prone to getting scared, you want to avoid becoming too immersed, so try honing in on the things that will help you remember it's just a movie. Pay attention to the camera angles and try to imagine the cast and crew on the set making the movie. Try to recognize the actors in the movie and tie them to their other roles to reiterate that none of the people are in actual danger and that it's just a film. Look for anything that breaks the illusion, like a prop out of place, or inconsistencies between cuts to keep some emotional distance from what's happening on screen.


Avert Your Eyes

If creating a mental barrier between yourself and the movie isn't working, a physical one might work better. Sometimes clinging to something (or someone) during scary parts can help you feel more grounded and safe, but when that doesn't work, don't be shy about covering your eyes or closing them entirely. Some people feel safest when they're peeking through their fingers at a frightening film, while others might prefer to just shut their eyes tight and wait for the moment to pass.

However, we don't recommend keeping your eyes closed for the entire movie. When you refuse to open your eyes, the movie you start imagining can often wind up being scarier than the real thing. If you face your fear just a little, you might find out that the movie isn't quite as bad as you thought it would be.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Harvey getting scared watching a movie

(Chilling Adventures of Sabrina via Netflix)


Laugh It Off

Putting on a brave face, even when you're terrified, can help you make it through even the toughest spots in a scary movie. A good laugh can help you diffuse the tension you feel, and mentally take away some of the power you're giving the film. If that's a struggle, try distracting yourself with warm, fuzzy thoughts. Think about your crush or your pet, or sing along with a favorite song in your head. If you can make yourself happy, even when you're being scared, you'll definitely make it through the movie.


Planning on using this advice? Click HERE for a list of the things you'll only relate to if you have a love-hate relationship with scary movies.