In every horror movie, the question that I find hardest to answer is Why are the main characters not committing group suicide? Is the ratio of heroes to normal people really that high? I love being alive; not dying is very important to me. But at what point does an existence that consists largely of fleeing in terror, fashioning makeshift tourniquets, and hiding breathlessly in the ark from slavering murderers kind of just…not seem worth it?

The Descent
What Kind of Life Is This? Trapped in a nameless cave with no food or water, pursued by gibbering man-beasts bent on eating my skin.
When Do I Kill Myself? Oh God, immediately. Immediately. As soon as the daredevil girl breaks her leg, even, if not sooner. I wouldn’t even wait for the crawlers to appear.
Is It Worth It? Yes. No one makes it out of there. And if the price of survival is hiding in that blood pit, I choose a quick death.

Shaun of the Dead
What Kind of Life Is This? Trapped in a pub with quirky Brits, surrounded by a starving horde of zombies.
When Do I Kill Myself? Once they pull David out the window. Once the perimeter has been breached; I’m not waiting to die in a basement.
Worth It? Sadly, no. The pub is the worst of it; civilization is largely intact. If I could have held on a few more hours, I might have been saved. But I couldn’t.

Battle Royale
What Kind of Life Is This? Trapped on an island with 29 classmates who have been commanded to kill each other or be killed in turn.
When Do I Kill Myself? This is tricky – if I’ve received a weapon I can use to quickly dispatch myself with, I might also stand a fighting chance using it against the others. But I’m not willing to risk the possibility of my collar detonating if we can’t murder each other quickly enough. Not worth the terror. What if I kill 28 people only to get hatcheted by the 29th? Take myself out immediately, avoid the rush.
Worth It? Absolutely. I’m not the romantic lead, there’s no way I’m making it out of this alive.

The Road
What Kind of Life Is This? No life. No life at all. My God.
When Do I Kill Myself? With Charlize Theron.
Worth It? Oh man, this one is hard. That little kid! But yes. Absolutely. I do not want to see what those monster people are keeping in their basement; I do not want to make it to the sea. Sorry, Viggo, you’re on your own.

Cabin in the Woods
What Kind of Life Is This? Trapped in a ritual sacrifice.
When Do I Kill Myself? When that Hemsworth brother tries to jump the gorge and hits the electric grid. Or, if I’m in the command center, as soon as the little tooth-faced ballerina makes her appearance.
Worth It? Yes; better to make an early exit than find out with Sigourney Weaver was warning everyone about in that eerie lab coat.

The Walking Dead
What Kind of Life Is This? A world overrun by the living dead, punctuated with pockets of suspicious tribes run largely by sociopaths.
When Do I Kill Myself? Episode 2, once I realize that Atlanta and the CDC refugee center have been overrun. I’m not a complete coward; I would try to push through the worst of things if I thought there was a scrap of civilization left.
Worth It? Absolutely. Living in a camper or abandoned prison arguing with Shane is no way to live.

The Ring
What Kind of Life Is This? Gagging on old bits of hair, watching creepy videos, getting chased by a murderous child.
When Do I Kill Myself? After the old man kills himself in the bathtub. He means business.
Worth It? Maybe. If I play my cards right, I might be able to survive into the sequel, but I’d rather die than go into that well.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]