I grew up surrounded by friends, schoolmates and cousins who believed that the watching horror movies equated to being fearless. If you could watch a good exorcism, poltergeist, ghost or undead movie then you were brave and whoever wouldn't was a wimp.
Let's set the record straight: Watching horror films is not sinful as such, but it can lead us into sinning. Fear is the most potent motivation to sin, to distrust God and to act against His will and commands. It pushes us to believe that we need other things apart from God for our protection.
The mysticism of the darkness in the spiritual realm can push us to rituals that go completely against God's will and design. That's because fear was not meant to be part of our way of life. 1 John 4:18 tells us, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." Christ came to take away fear, not to tolerate it.
If you really think about it, how many of us have refused to go to the beach because we watched too much "Jaws" movies? Maybe you tried spells, chants and incantations to keep spirits away because you watched too much of Emily Rose. Or perhaps you grew up in fear of Friday the 13th because of Jason and Freddy Krueger.
But there's another issue with horror movie. Movies are powerful media that convey messages at an interactive level so whatever we watch is more likely to stick. Sometimes the fear, sadness, joy or humor can stick longer than we want them to.
We cannot completely ignore the spiritual realm and how it interacts with our reality. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
That being said, horror movies tend to give the enemy more credit than he deserves. Long after you've watched the scary movie, you can be looking over your shoulder, your imagination can go into overdrive; the fear of evil can be very great.
Sure the devil's cunning and yes he's powerful, but his authority is nothing compared to the power and authority we have in Christ.
John 10:10 reminds us, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." God has bigger plans for us than the fear that horror films and scary stories can instill in us, and they can only come to pass if we act in faith not fear. Nothing we watch should ever make us fear evil more than our God's power and ability to overcome that evil in the world.
I do not believe that horror movies are sinful, but they are dangerous and completely contrary to the abundant and fear-free life that God wants you to have. There is no monster beneath your bed. There is no force out to kill you if you escape death. Sure there might be a few demons out to haunt you and who want to kill your spirit and your future, but there is a God who is bigger than any of the forces of darkness. Instead of watching a horror movie that can cause you to doubt God, choose to watch an uplifting movie that will reinforce your hope and faith in him.