Spiritual Horror: Is it possible to scare an audience into Enlightenment?
Posted on 11/20/2011 at 7:39pm

 M. Night Shyamalan’s films do a frightening good job!

Known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots that climax with a twist ending, Shyamalan’s film, Devil (2010), was not a blockbuster hit but it does get you thinking about a new type of horror film– those with a spiritual theme. The popular screenwriter/director has been quoted as saying that that not all of his films are scary but “all my movies are spiritual and all have an emotional perspective.” Still, the response to many of Shyamalan’s films is a darn good scare.

In DEVIL, Shyamalan superimposed the spiritual concept of forgiveness against the evil that lives in some men’s (and women’s) hearts–i.e., the Devil lives among us. What if, to set someone free from the grips of evil, you had to have forgiven an unspeakable act before you ever crossed paths with the person who committed that act? In DEVIL, a drunk driving accident takes the life of a detective’s wife and infant son. After a period of drowning his grief in whiskey, he remerges faithless. A strange series of apparent suicides eventually bring him to confront the face of evil– trapped in an elevator with a group of unsuspecting passengers, one of whom is the Devil incarnate, taking souls in a twisted game of elimination. (I don’t want to give the plot away).

I’d much rather a horror film scare me into thinking about spiritual matters than watch a blood-and-guts spill across the screen. This is also probably why I stopped reading Stephen King’s horrific novels– I hated getting to the end of story that scared me senseless but made no real point about the human condition (disclaimer, I have read King in many, many years).

What Shyamalan does so incredibly well is getting you to think about what you carry around in your heart and how it could not just kill you, but cost you your soul– or cost someone else theirs.
And you didn’t think you had any power in this world.

Do you know of any spiritual horror books or films? Share and comment now.

Filed Under: spiritual fiction