We’re right in the middle of spooky season—a time when many celebrate Halloween by dressing up in elaborate costumes, trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, visiting haunted houses, going on hayrides, or participating in one of many other pumpkin-spice-smelling festivities. Another honored tradition is watching scary movies.
Now, traditionally it’s straight-up horror movies that are associated with Halloween. But this year I think people should try to kill the proverbial two birds with one stone by not only being entertained for a few hours by a horror-adjacent film, but also facing (and perhaps conquering?) one of their deepest fears in the process.
So below we have 5 fears and the movies that will help you get over those fears simply by exposing yourself to what you’re afraid of for 90 to 120 minutes. Notice that I did not include Fear of Clowns: IT and IT: Chapter Two because there simply is no overcoming a fear of clowns. I have tried, I assure you.
Fear of Aging: Old – If the thought of wrinkles, sun spots, saggy skin, hearing aids and canes gets you down, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan—he of the notorious twist ending—has got just the cure for you. Meet the Cappas (Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps), a couple who’s divorcing, but still decides to vacation together with their two young kids as a way to let the children know everything will be OK. Except that it won’t because the freaky beach they go to seems to be rapidly aging everyone like a reverse Benjamin Button on fast-forward. What in the heck is going on?
Fear of Millennials: Bodies Bodies Bodies – It’s OK to admit that you might not understand elder twenty-somethings or younger thirty-somethings. They don’t care anyway! If you can’t stand the attitude, fashion, jargon, social media platforms or general life choices of those born between ’81 and ’96, try exposing yourself to a group of them (including Amandla Stenberg, Lee Pace, Rachel Sennott and Pete Davidson) in this black comedy/slasher about friends at a killer party where their young lives are being snuffed out one by one by … who, exactly?
Fear of Flying / Fear of Sequels: Top Gun: Maverick – If you avoid movies with a number after their title or would rather drive across the country than catch a ride at an airport, the amazing sequel to 1983’s Top Gun WILL change your mind. At least about sequels. You might actually be more afraid to fly after seeing this movie. But I digress—Tom Cruise reprising Maverick the cocky Navy aviator and Miles Teller as Maverick’s dead BFF Goose’s son Rooster (I know this sentence is crazy) cannot be missed. It’s the #1 movie worldwide for a reason, and it will help you love sequels again.
Fear of Aliens: Nope – Jordan Peele’s creepy thriller is one of the coolest, most original alien movies in recent memory. Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya star as siblings who witness something out-of-this-world at their private horse-training ranch. What better to get rid of a fear of little green men than by giving you a fear of something ELSE extraterrestrial? It’s genius.
Fear of Blood: Bullet Train – And finally, a heart-pounding ride aboard—and sometimes on top of—a high-speed Japanese bullet train alongside multiple competing assassins (including Brad Pitt) will cure you of hemophobia (an intense fear of blood) by filling the screen with the red sticky stuff again and again and again. And again. (And again.) But in a funny way. I promise.