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Films That Face Big Fears

August 11th, 2022Films That Face Big Fears

Get Tickets FALL | AMC Thrills & Chills

What is it that makes the best horror movies scary? Sometimes all it takes is an excellent creature design, or a chilling musical score, or just the right amount of blood. However, to truly understand why certain films frighten us so much, we have to look deep inside our own selves.

Fear of Heights

Take, for instance, FALL, which is now playing at AMC Theatres and stars Grace Caroline Currey as a woman reeling from a tragic loss while rock climbing, and Virginia Gardner as her friend who wants to help her face her newly developed fear of heights. Together they climb a 2,000-ft radio tower, which initially goes well until their ladder breaks, leaving them stranded at the top. Running low on supplies and facing the dangers of being stranded at such a high altitude, the friends must figure out how to find a safe way down without suffering a tumultuous fall.

Check out the video below featuring FALL stars Virginia Gardner and Grace Caroline Currey:

FALL is just one of the latest examples of a horror movie that taps into a specific kind of phobia that is shared by many. In fact, using a common fear as the root of the story is key to why the genre’s finest efforts are so effective. In honor of this thrilling new movie – which looks to be a fitting inclusion among AMC's Thrills and Chills series – the following are our picks for some classics that know what you are most afraid of and take full advantage of it.

Fear of the Dark

It is perfectly natural for someone to be afraid of the dark, which is rooted in another common fear: the unknown. While this one is probably much more common among children, fear of the dark is something adults might experience as well.

That concept is explored to startling effect in 2017’s LIGHTS OUT – writer and director David F. Sandberg’s feature-length adaptation of his award-winning horror short. We dare you to watch this hit – starring Teresa Palmer as a young woman whose family is haunted by a vengeful spirit that thrives in darkness – and try to sleep without the lights on, no matter what age you are.


Fear of Clowns

When you hire a clown for a kid’s birthday party, there’s probably a 50/50 chance that the event will be a joyful, laugh-filled success or a distressing, tearful disaster as some young ones just can’t stand the sight of a red-nosed clown. Master horror writer Stephen King channeled that common childhood fear when creating the clownish antagonist of his 1986 novel that later inspired 2017’s IT.

Of course, Pennywise – played by BARBARIAN star Bill Skarsgård – is not just a clown – and a tremendously creepy one at that – but a shape-shifting, otherworldly entity that can take the form of whatever its prey fears the most, whether they are still children or all grown up. Therefore, IT and its 2019 follow-up could easily be interpreted as a metaphor for overcoming fear itself, in addition to its prevalent theme of losing one’s innocence through traumatic circumstances. However, Andy Muschietti’s two-part blockbuster will more likely be remembered for ruining characters like Bozo for many of us.

Watch Now IT

Fear of Enclosed Spaces

If you have ever felt a little (or very) uneasy while inside a small space – such as an elevator – you may have claustrophobia. Thus, you might be facing a bit of a challenge to watch the 2011 thriller BURIED, which takes place entirely inside a coffin.

Director Rodrigo Cortés’ Hitchcockian chiller follows Ryan Reynolds as a truck driver who finds himself kidnapped and placed inside a coffin six feet under ground. Perhaps the fear of being buried alive is not as common a fear as some others, but some may find themselves more bothered by small spaces than usual after watching BURIED.

Watch Now BURIED

Fear of Mother Nature

When you think about it, it is actually a wonder how many people are scared by things that are supernatural when real nature itself can be horrifying enough. One particularly frightening example of this is tornadoes.

The devastating, cyclonic natural disaster is the star of director Jan de Bont’s striking 1996 blockbuster TWISTER, in which Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton play storm-chasers who put themselves right in the middle of the danger in hopes to develop a revolutionary weather alert system. Hunt’s character actually becomes obsessed with tornadoes after watching her father get whisked away by one right before her eyes when she is younger. Talk about facing your fears!


Fear of Sharks

Some people do not feel comfortable submerging themselves in water for various, perfectly understandable reasons. One such catalyst for this fear is that – particularly in large bodies of water – you never know what you might find swimming nearby. The worst case scenario would be encountering a hungry Great White Shark.

Shark movies have become their own subgenre at this point, but it all started with Steven Spielberg’s breakout hit that is also credited as the first summer blockbuster, JAWS, which brilliantly takes its time to show you the toothy, 25-foot predator up close. And decades later, the film continues to inspire fear from audiences.

Fear of Death

The one thing that most commonly causes fear may be the ultimate, most fearsome topic of them all: death. Of course, the absence of being is merely the result of tragic, unforeseen circumstances and is not something that can be personified… right?

A movie that challenges that mentality is 2000’s FINAL DESTINATION – a clever take on the slasher genre that, instead of pitting a group of teens against a masked killer, sees them struggle to outrun fate itself after a premonition suddenly allows them to escape death. There are also several sequels to the film that feature increasingly inventive and grisly methods that “death” uses to prey on the franchise’s young characters.


Now playing at AMC Theatres, FALL’s characters face extreme heights in what looks to be a thrilling and chilling movie.

Get Tickets FALL | AMC Thrills & Chill

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