Welcome to our countdown to the most anxiety-inducing horror films for parents on our final day!
For 30 days, we have been covering the films I both love and hate because they’re awesome and they give me panic attacks now that I’m a mom and today is the day! It’s All Hallow’s Eve, day 31, and our final installment of this series.
Have you ever thought, “huh.. that looks dangerous” while walking by something precariously placed on a shelf? Have you said to yourself, “self, if I put this here, someone will probably come around and knock it down and they could totally kill themselves”? If you are a parent, have you ever thought… “I need to baby proof this whole room before the baby starts crawling” because you suddenly see all the things that a baby can be hurt with standing out like glowing items of requirement? Have you covered up outlets and corners, installed baby gates and bolted furniture to the wall once baby becomes mobile? If you’ve answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you will understand why today’s movie has earned its place as the #1 movie anxious parents should probably never see.
Disclaimer: Trigger warnings are a given when you talk about horror, but I’m going to say it anyway. Many subjects covered by horror films are disturbing to parents in ways we can’t possibly understand and each is unique to the parent and his/her experiences. Tread carefully and know your limits. If this begins to be too much, there’s no shame in closing the window. Also, this post contains some spoilers throughout.
1. Final Destination
Are there awards for generating the most anxiety in a film? If so, this movie would win. Yes, my friends – Final Destination wins the position of #1 an theeee most anxiety-inducing film for parents.
WHAT?! But it’s silly! It’s campy! It’s ridiculous! Yep, it is all of those things, but it also makes you excruciatingly aware of the multitudes of ways you could die every moment of every day. Which, I’ll be honest, isn’t that big a deal and possibly not something you really give much through to until you are responsible for the survival of tiny humans who seem to make it a point to domino themselves into the worst case scenarios with every toddle, roll and discovery they make.
I was barely in my 20’s when these movies first came out and I saw the first two in the theater, multiple times. I thought they were fun, silly, disturbing and just down right fun, but in the back of my mind, the many, many blood-soaked deaths which all happened by random accident started to get to me. In fact, I noticed a strange phenomenon taking place with everyone I knew who had seen these movies.
We all started seeing potential ways to die in everyday, random situations. It became a joke with our group of friends and we’d call each other saying things like; “heh… I just had a Final Destination moment!” Then, we would recount whatever strange thing just happened that totally could have killed us. It was all something we laughed about until we all began to have children.
Here’s the deal with these movies. I know they’re not the most terrifying, they don’t have the most haunting images or the most demonic, horrifying stories that stick with you or make you fear the dark. The horrifying truth these films share with us is second to none in the raw paranoia they inspire.
Every, single, freaking thing in your house, in the air, in any kind of theme park, on a boat, in a garden or a store, anything in or on the ground, in a tree, the tree itself, anything on the road, under the road, or next to the road and a thousand other places you haven’t thought of yet… can kill your child, or YOU, leaving your child vulnerable to Death itself with no one to protect them. Every seemingly innocent and safe thing you could possibly do has the potential to go wrong.
You begin looking at your house like a torture chamber full of hidden ways to die. Baby proofing isn’t just a recommendation, it’s the only way to keep your baby alive.
You see the food you eat as poison if it isn’t completely natural because who knows? Your child might have a strange allergy to some additive you’ve never heard of, but even if it’s natural, they still might choke on it or have an allergic reaction you can’t fix fast enough, so you better not feed them anything weird.
You begin cutting their foods up in such tiny pieces it would be impossible for them to choke on it, but even then, the fact that you are sure it’s fine probably means you are wrong, so you cut them even smaller, just in case.
When you are stuck behind a truck with logs on the back, you do everything in your power to get the heck away from it as fast as possible. (Yes, that has happened)
I once freaked out because a bottle of water fell between my feet while I was driving. No joke, I literally had a panic attack and had to pull over.
Every time we get on an escalator and my kids want to sit down on the steps or start messing with their feet, I think of this movie. I make them lift their pant legs and keep their hair away from the teeth and if they are wearing shoes with laces, I will make sure they are tied and off the ground BEFORE we get on.
I think about it in elevators. I think about it on the freeway. I think about it in the shower or when I leave them to play in the bathtub by themselves for a few minutes. (which – I only just started allowing them to be in the bath without an adult in the room this past year because of this movie.)
Did you know baby/crib mobiles can kill your children? Did you know crib bumpers can kill your children? Did you know carseat pillows and neck supports and pacifiers can all kill your children? Did you know that babies can choke on their own spit in their sleep and that baby monitors now exist that can regulate desperation and heart rate so you will know if they stop breathing because it happens ALL THE TIME? Did you know more than 25,000 children die by random television set accidents EVERY SINGLE YEAR???
The random accidental ways humans get killed are insane if you look up the statistics and when you compare the total number against the percentage of just counting child deaths, it only further proves this. Even when you think everything is fine and you have done all you can to be safe, Death can still find a way.
Yes, my dears, this movie takes the spot of number one. Not because it’s a spectacular horror or because the acting is legendary. It is because it lingers with you for years and once you have children and the natural sense of urgency to maintain a safe space is even more vital, the paranoia instilled by these films begins to creep back in your mind.
The reality is, Final Destination and its sequels make you see the world in a different way. Once you realize just how many different ways each and every single thing on this planet can kill your baby, you realize the terrible truth:
Parenting is basically sentencing yourself to a lifetime of living out your own version of this film. Every moment and every decision you make as a parent is figuring out how you can cheat the inevitable hand of Death at every step. It doesn’t take a ghost, a curse, a certain date or time of day or holiday, it doesn’t take a crazy person or a nightmare, a demon, an alien or a monster. All it takes is a simple mistake, a random choice to turn left instead of right, how close you place the curling iron to the edge of the sink, if you left on time or 5 minutes early. You can never know and you can never escape. All you can do is your best to keep your family safe and this film reminds us that for all our trying, eventually, no matter what, Death will still have his way.