Why I don’t watch horror movies

The year I entered high school, one early summer day, my two childhood best friends and I planned a horror movie afternoon. None of us was really into the genre, and I was usually careful to stay away from scary stories, but something about the idea of watching a horror movie together felt exciting to us. Thrilling, even. Like taking up a new level of adventure.

After school, the three of us walked over to my friend’s house with the DVD we’d picked up from the rental store. After a serious discussion, what we decided upon was a movie titled You Got a Message. I voted for it because I’d heard a few of my classmates express how absolutely chilling the movie was.

When we got to my friend’s condo, nobody was at home except her little brother. He’d just come home from school, too. When we told him we were about to watch a scary movie, he said he’d join us. Thus, the four of us huddled together on the family couch in the living room as my friend pressed the play button.

There was no teasing period in this movie. The first big shock occurred right after the first scene, taking everybody’s breath away. A few minutes in, my mind was already clawed by the horror. I had no idea how I’d cope for the next two hours. But if I were to stop watching now, I’d be left with an incomplete story, which was likely to scar me even more.

So, I stuck around. Covering my face with a cushion, and coming out of it only when it was necessary for the understanding of the story development.

After two hours, the story finally ended. At least, the mystery was resolved, and there was a sense of closure. The background of the end credits was a sunny blue sky – as if the blue sky would help us recover from the lingering horror. It didn’t work.

We were all quiet on the couch when the door lock turned, sending a jolt of shock to everybody. It was my friend’s mother.

“Oh, hi, everyone!” Her cheerful greeting got little response from us. It was as if the voice came from another world. We were all frozen on the couch.

“What have you been up to?” She came into the living room, and that’s when she realized what’s behind our silence. “Were you watching something scary? Is that why you are looking so pale?”

My friend’s mother offered us snacks, but even that couldn’t wipe away the sense of terror haunting my mind. I didn’t think I could go back home alone tonight. The thought of walking in the dark and taking a subway horrified me. I called my mother, explaining the situation and requesting an emergency pick-up. She thought I was being ridiculous but answered my SOS nonetheless.

Half an hour later, my mother arrived, and we all ended up having dinner together. Next to the chatty adults, the four of us younglings had a rather somber dinner time.

My mother offered to drive my other friend home, too, since she was also affected by the movie. When it was time for us to leave, my friend and her mother came out to see us off downstairs. Her brother could have stayed back, but tonight, he insisted on coming downstairs with everyone else.

It took many days for the effect of the movie to completely fade. For many weeks, I remained hypervigilant in any dark place, even within my own house. All of this for that one movie I didn’t even enjoy? I promised myself I’d never watch a horror movie again.