The Conjuring 2 recently topped the box office with a successful opening that some critics, interestingly, attributed to the film’s marketing to Christian audiences. Variety even questioned whether the film, which features a married Christian couple battling the paranormal, is the “Evangelical Horror Hit of the Year.”
The Conjuring 2 is a rare film in that it crosses over in attracting both Christian audiences who are drawn in by the faith of the characters and the power of good defeating evil and non-believers who are interested in the pure exhilaration of the horror and suspense.
For years, horror movies have targeted a broad audience by playing off of spiritual battles between God and satan or satan's demonic forces, which are intriguing to the Evangelical audience. This is no surprise – individuals of faith want to see triumph over the darkness, especially when Christian characters are the victors; it shows the power of their faith being lived out.
This leaves us facing a dilemma: is it okay for Christians to peak through the blinds, so to speak, at films that blur the message of horror and hope?
Philippians 4:8 states, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (NLT)
Though films in this genre strive to tell the story of good triumphing over evil and as intriguing as it is to the Christian audience to delve into intriguing stories like this, are we ignoring the command found in Philippians to think on “right, and pure, and lovely” things? Or, are films like this a truly significant and effective way to both entertain the Christian audience and reach out to those without a faith background with the saving message of grace through Jesus?
When thinking about the films and entertainment I want my family to watch, I always remember the adage of “garbage in, garbage out.” Everyone wants to be entertained, but I also want to make sure that everything my family does, sees and hears reflects the values I have tried to instill in my family’s lives. At the end of the day, God’s commandment wasn’t for us to just have “fun” in life but rather to be a reflection of Christ in this culture where His presence is so deeply needed.
Films like The Conjuring 2, The Exorcist and so many others like them toy with the notion that it is ok to peer into these things because God triumphs in the end. Even with the underlying thematic element of faith, these types of films seemingly stray, in my opinion, from being films that should rank at the top of any believer’s watch list.
There is no doubt that they are entertaining, and from what the box office numbers reveal, highly lucrative. However, they do not reflect the type of thoughts I want filling the heads of my loved ones.
One of our goals at Pure Flix is to be the most trusted family-friendly resource for entertainment, and that includes making sure that everything we offer, from our theatrical releases to the choices we offer on Pure Flix Digital, has positive messaging and emphasizes the good, no matter what the storyline.
I would challenge Christians to think seriously about what they are watching and why before plunking down their hard-earned money to do so. Ask yourself, "Will this lead me to think about what is good and pure?" If not, walk away.