My daughter is thirteen, and although I wouldn’t let her watch an all-out gore fest, everyone loves something spooky from time to time. Instead of putting the kibosh on all scary movies, I’ve been careful about what I have let her see. Here are a few movies that seem acceptable for a pre-teen or young teen, but still deliver the scares (just maybe not the nightmares!)
This 2001 film starring Nicole Kidman is an old-fashioned style thriller. The slow buildup of the story creates enough suspense that it’s interesting, and the frightening moments are welcome little scares. It’s not violent or particularly scary, but my daughter enjoyed the “ghostly” storyline and twist ending.
My daughter and I watched the entire “Paranormal Activity” trilogy together. The movies are definitely creepy, but they don’t use violence to illustrate the story. Therefore, these films seem appropriate for a younger teenager. I will say the last few minutes of part 3 made my daughter squeal out loud, but aside from that one moment of violence the movies create a creepy mood with less show and more tell.
When this movie came out in 1988, it scared the pieces out of me. Did you know it’s only rated PG? Yes, it’s true…”Poltergeist” isn’t really that scary. My daughter actually found some of it amusing. Kids today! That being said, the movie is scary without being too expository when it comes to gore or violence. It’s a fun introduction to scares for a young horror fan. And, it’s a classic from most of our childhoods. Kids can see what non-CGI effects used to look like…back in the day.
“The Sixth Sense”
This M.Night Shyamalan-directed masterpiece stars Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment as a therapist and his young patient, who can see undead spirits. The music, ambience, and careful cinematography, as well as an ending that left most of our mouths open, makes this movie unforgettable. There are a couple of quick frights, but overall it’s a good, creepy-fun movie for young teens that aren’t ready for a lot of gore.
“The Woman In Black”
Daniel Radcliffe stars in this ghost story about a young widower completing a job in a spooky old haunted house. I would have forgotten that paycheck and hit the road, but that’s not what happened. My daughter and I both gasped aloud at some of the scenes, and this movie is well made enough to even freak Mom out a little bit. It has an ending that will surprise you, and it’s not gory or too scary for teenagers.