Why do we get scared when watching a scary movie?



Hand on window in Cape Town, South Africa

Getting scared when watching a scary movie is a universal experience. Even though many people like to say they don’t get scared, We all know they are lying. We all might know someone like that because I know I sure do. You may ask why write about this now? Well, with the recent release of ‘’Smile’’ by Parker Finn there has been a lot of talk in the media and I am here to explain why people felt scared when watching the movie. You may ask why did I get scared ? Well, let me tell you why. 

According to Concordia University, St. Paul, we get scared because our body is in the process of going into a fight or flight mode, which happens without our conscious doing and that has been called the ‘’amygdala hijack,’’ which basically means your body is in the process of running away from the cause of the thing that’s scaring you. And our brain is being taken over by fear. After being scared of whatever is scaring you, it results in a physical response like your heart and breathing rate quickens, you freeze and feel nauseous, etc. 

Eighth grader Jasmine Cirilo says, ‘’I have felt my breathing feeling a bit heavier and feeling intense emotion for the character and screaming so they don’t die or telling them to move so they don’t end up dead.’’  

You may ask, is it okay to feel afraid? Is it healthy? Does it cause problems for us physically or mentally? Well, let me tell you if it’s good for you. According to Penn Medicine, a specific amount of fear is good for you because it helps us make decisions and keeps us away from harm. But there could be times where it could become unhealthy for you when you notice that you are developing long term anxiety. That’s when you need to seek help.

But that’s what happens to you after being scared when watching a scary movie. Well now you know something new about our body and how it deals with fear. So if you’ve ever felt afraid, this is your answer.