16 Movies That Can Cause Flare-Ups for People With Chronic Illnesses


After “Incredibles 2” hit theaters last weekend, moviegoers were quick to point out that the strobe lights that are featured prominently in the film can cause flare-ups for people with health conditions like epilepsy, migraine and other chronic illnesses. And as anyone who’s ever seen a movie (particularly an action movie) knows, there are many ways a movie can trigger health issues, due to things like flashing lights, certain sounds, loud volume, shaky or spinning camera or fast onscreen movement.

Sometimes a movie will have a “trigger warning” posted outside the theater, but sometimes (as was the case with “Incredibles 2” until Disney asked theaters to post warnings), moviegoers won’t know a film could trigger their health condition until they’re in the theater, experiencing the movie for themselves. In those cases, the chronic illness community can help each other out by sharing which movies they would have appreciated a heads-up about before watching. So we asked our chronic illness community to share a movie that caused a flare-up of their health condition. Be sure to add any more suggestions of movies to watch out for in the comments.

1. “The Blair Witch Project”

blair witch project
Photo via Facebook

“‘Blair Witch Project’ or anything that is made to look like home video. The bouncing around is absolutely nauseating.” — HMarie HC

“‘Paranormal Activity,’ ‘Blair Witch.’ Any film filmed with a handheld camera.” — Gillian R.

2. “Jurassic Park”

jurassic park scene
Photo via Facebook

“Any of the Jurassic Park films in a big cinema. The T-rex roar has just the right bass to set my POTS off at a certain volume. I still keep going to see them rather than waiting, though, as I love the films.” — Marie S.

3. “Saving Private Ryan”

tom hanks in saving private ryan
photo via Facebook

I was ill for days after watching Saving Private Ryan on a 42″ television. I have a balance and vision disorder. I have been too ill to go to the cinema for 10 years.” — Jo I.

4. “Baby Driver”

ansel elgort in baby driver
photo via Facebook

“‘Baby Driver,’ awesome movie but gave me a massive idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) flare because of the high pitched noises representing tinnitus.” — Kirsten B.

5. “Transformers”

mark wahlberg in transformers
photo via Facebook

“Transformer movies have too much going on for me to watch, at least during the fight scenes. So much detail and movement.” — Jennifer S.

6. “Man on Fire”

denzel washington in man on fire
photo via Facebook

“‘Man On Fire’ sets off my vertigo so bad I’ve never been able to watch the whole thing.” — Rachel S.

7. Anything in 3D

Side view of boyfriend and girlfriend wearing 3d glasses watching movie and spending time together. Couple of africans in modern cinema hall eating popcorn, drinking cola and looking at projector.
Photo via Getty

“I can’t watch anything in 3D. I wear glasses for distance vision and am a hemiplegic migraine sufferer. Combine that with two-hours-plus of wearing 3D glasses in a big cinema and my head explodes.” — Katherine P.

“I can’t watch any 3D movie. They all make me dizzy and nauseous and cause an awful headache.” — Colleen K.

8. “Wanted”

wanted movie with angelina jolie
photo via Facebook

“‘Wanted’ with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy… every time his ‘panic’ sends him into the rapid heartbeat, strobe effect I have to walk away. But seeing it in the cinema was torture.” — Brooke T.

9. “Doctor Strange”

image of benedict cumberbatch in doctor strange movie

“‘Doctor Strange!’ I have Meniere’s disease and all the flipping and flopping and spinning… Absolute pure misery.” — Arianne L.

“‘Doctor Strange.’ The heavy visual effects felt close to triggering a migraine for me, especially in 3D. I could absolutely see it being a serious issue for epilepsy or others with visual migraine triggers.” — Teresa W.

10. “Avatar”

zoe saldana in avatar
photo via Facebook

“The first time I watched ‘Avatar’ I almost got sick in the theater. The flashing lights and loud sounds in that film really bothered me for some reason. One of the worst movie experiences ever, which was disappointing because I was having a night out with my family. I never watch that movie now. I was so dizzy and had to lean on my brother to leave the theater.” — Marley T.

11. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

rooney mara in the girl with the dragon tattoo
photo via Facebook

“The opening sequence in ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.’ It didn’t bother me, but a dear friend of mine gets migraines triggered by lights like that. She was in so much pain the rest of the movie but didn’t want to leave.” — Elyse B.

12. “LaLa Land”

ryan gosling and emma stone dancing in lala land
photo via Facebook

“‘LaLa Land’ got me bad in the theater. I was so sick. Triggered a tension headache that radiated down into my neck and shoulders, made me dizzy (dizzier than I already am 24/7) and nauseous. There are some horrendous loud noises in that movie.” — Ashley D.

13. “Spotlight”

cast of spotlight
photo via Facebook

“‘Spotlight’ was torture for my misophonia/sensory processing disorder. They must have used ultra-sensitive sound recording equipment because I could hear the actors opening their mouths and scratching their heads in excruciating detail.” — Kate R.

14. “Star Wars”

daisey ridley in star wars
photo via Facebook

“All the Marvel movies and ‘Star Wars.’ They are so loud and the lights are so bright it actually caused me a panic attack once and I vomited right after that in the car from how hard it was, especially the fact it’s long movies and sitting down in the theater for that long is hard on me.” — Debora B.

15. “Moulin Rouge!”

cast of moulin rouge
photo via Facebook

“Moulin Rouge!’ All the spinning of the camera was enough to make me sick after not even 20 to 30 minutes of the movie. I had to turn it off. Definitely not a movie for someone who has or gets vertigo, or gets migraines.” — Mary-Anne M.

16. “Avengers: Infinity War”

cast of avengers infinity war
photo via Facebook

“‘Infinity War’ with the rapid scene changes and action… I haven’t watched any of the the Thor movies because of the lightning flashes.” — Zee D.


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