The 5 Benefits of Watching Suspense/Horror Movies

By Gabriella Orta on September 29, 2017

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Whenever we watch a thriller or a horror film/series, we feel like we are part of the cast. We even talk to the characters: “Stop! Don’t go in there! You’re gonna get killed …”

The character then dies and you continue the conversation: “I freaking told you, you stupid!”

This is normal. We get emotionally involved with the characters and whatever is happening in the film at the moment. It is just something we do and we cannot avoid it. A story is presented to us, we pay attention to the main problem of the story, we take into consideration the characters tangled in it and how they evolve as the story continues, and we finally create hypotheses on how the story is going to end.

It certainly is a marvelous experience especially if you are watching a suspense film or series. The feeling could be described as the combination of adrenaline and curiosity. You are nervous and afraid, but at the same time, you are curious to see what happens next. This feeling of awkwardly scared excitement could be actually good for you.

I am telling you, watching suspenseful movies and series has its benefits and I am here to let you know everything.

1. Boost your immune system

Some people love watching a good horror film. They like the feeling of being part of an experience that seems to be hazardous and stressful. Given the fact that what is happening in a particularly disturbing scene is not real, people tend to enjoy these scenes because they are not used to experiencing that kind of fear in their day-to-day lives.

Research has shown that being scared may actually help your immune system. An article from The Daily Mail called Can Watching a Scary Movie be Good for Your Health? by Jonathan Gornall states that a study made by researchers at Coventry University consisted of taking blood samples from volunteers before, during, and after watching a horror film. The results reported that people’s white blood cells increased during and after the film. Take into account that this only happens when our system is trying to fight an infection.

In other words, whenever we watch a horror film or a thriller, our fight-to-flight response is triggered and, consequently, adrenaline is released. That is why we feel so nervous but hyped at the same time.

2. Overcome your fears

When you are watching, for example, American Horror Story or The Shining, you are definitely going to watch some twisted, creepy, and traumatizing scenes. The positive outcome is that when you are watching this kind of show, you are basically training yourself to deal with situations filled with threats and danger.

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Mathias Clasen, a Danish scholar of horror fiction at Aarhus University, said the following in an article called Your DNA Loves Horror Movies:

“When our ancestors lived as hunter-gatherers in the East African savannah, it was important that they were prepared for possible attacks by predators and vermin … They had to train their reactions to stressful situations, and the desire to do so became stored in their DNA — which we still carry today. When we watch a horror movie, we’re satisfying that desire. We’re training our danger preparedness.”

3. Get in a workout

“Viewers who put themselves through 90 minutes of adrenaline-pumping terror can use up as much as 113 calories, close to the amount burned during a half-hour walk and the equivalent to a chocolate bar” stated an article published by The Telegraph.

Imagine yourself saying goodbye to the treadmill. What a magical experience that would be! You are basically changing the treadmill for a film or an episode of one of your favorite shows. The only thing you need to remember is that whatever you decide to watch needs to be in the suspense/horror genre if you actually want to burn some calories.

Scientists from the University of Westminster made a study involving 10 people watching a “selection of frightening movies.” They discovered the number of burned calories during the film by recording people’s heart rate, oxygen intake, and carbon dioxide output. One of the researchers, Dr. Richard Mackenzie, explained that all participants in the study experienced pulse racing and an increase in the heartbeat. As a result, adrenaline is released into the system — particularly during scenes under intense stress — and this is what causes the loss of calories.

On the other side, try to control the amount of freighting films and shows you watch. You do not want to end up dying from a heart attack. In fact, a 65-year-old man died in India watching The Conjuring 2 in a cinema and his body mysteriously disappeared (click here to read the story).

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4. Activate your brain

If you want a healthy brain, you must keep it active. Watching suspense/horror films could be considered mental workouts. This type of film provokes many intense emotions in its viewers which causes the release of a variety of neurotransmitters in your brain. In other words, your brain exercises whenever you are watching something related to the suspense genre. It is like a roller coaster of emotions.

5. Strengthen your love life

You may be asking yourself, “How is this possible?” Well, research has shown that watching freighting films or shows with a partner can strengthen your relationship with each other. In fact, Indiana University directed a study to observe the possible connection between couples’ relationships and the act of watching suspense films.

The study consisted of pairing 36 male and 36 female students to watch Friday The 13th Part III. The results reported that men enjoyed the horror movie more than women because they felt like they needed to protect their damsel in distress. For women, the experience was also enjoyable; despite the unpleasant scenes from the film, they felt safe and defended in the arms of their partner.

It is always good to watch a film with nice company. You never know if the Boogeyman is finally coming to get you. At least you are not the only one that is going to be dragged away by him.


The next time you think about watching a thriller or perhaps a horror movie, think about the experience you are going to have and the benefits you are going to get. But please, do not exaggerate and then turn into a psychopath/insane killer. It won’t be good for us because you are going to kill us all and it won’t be good for you because you are probably going to spend the rest of your life in jail or worse.

So be cool and enjoy all the suspenseful films and series you can without becoming the bad guy of the story.

Hasta la vista and good luck!

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