10 Horror Video Games Movie Fans Need To Play

Video game technology has come a long way in the past few decades, and video games have become a more respected art form unto themselves. Fans of horror movies can now find ways to enjoy their favorite scary stories in another medium, with games based on movies like "Evil Dead: The Game" and "Alien: Isolation" serving as a totally new terrifying experience for even the most jaded horror fan. Some games aren't quite as obvious about their horror inspirations, however, choosing to keep them a little bit closer to the chest. I've collected 10 of the very best video games for horror movie fans of every type, from the slasher film die-hards to fans of haunted house horrors, and paired each one with a movie that shares the same themes, visuals, or story. Grab your flashlight and some extra batteries, and let's dig into ten of the scariest, most cinematic horror games of all time.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard / The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Fans of Tobe Hooper's 1974 slasher classic "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" have several options when it comes to finding a game that fits their tastes, including a brand new "Texas Chain Saw" game coming out in 2023. But there's already a perfect game for scratching that particular itch, and it's "Resident Evil 7: Biohazard." The 2017 addition to the "Resident Evil" franchise took the series in a new direction, returning to its survival horror roots while adding a more cinematic element. In "Resident Evil 7," players take on the role of Ethan Winters, searching through a crumbling plantation house in a Louisiana swamp for his missing wife. Part of what makes "Texas Chain Saw" so scary is the degradation of the characters' surroundings, forcing them to question what kind of family could live in such conditions. As Ethan starts meeting the plantation's inhabitants, the Baker family, they reveal themselves to be mutants, infected by a fungus. The Baker family were already pretty disturbed to begin with and mirror the Hewitt family of "Texas Chain Saw," right down to the creepy chats at the kitchen table. 

Unlike some of the previous "Resident Evil" entries, "Biohazard" focuses on the "survival" aspect of survival horror, forcing players to hide from enemies they simply cannot defeat and use more creative tactics to endure. Instead of vast hordes of zombies, "Biohazard" focuses on only a small handful of villains and uses its location to heighten the scares. It's "Louisiana Chain Saw Massacre," essentially, and it's just as scary as the film that inspired it. 

Outlast / The Blair Witch Project

While re-creating found footage horror in an interactive format might sound impossible, the 2013 game "Outlast" does a pretty impressive job. Fans of the 1999 found footage classic "The Blair Witch Project" will find a lot to love about "Outlast," which follows a freelance investigative journalist named Miles who explores Mount Massive Asylum in the mountains of Colorado in an attempt to uncover what happened there. He ends up discovering a whole slew of murderous patients and must take extreme measures to survive. Miles is an awful lot like the student filmmakers of "The Blair Witch Project," who explore the Maryland woods to look into the local legend of the Blair Witch. 

In "The Blair Witch Project," the audience can only see what's lit by things within the scene, like the sun or flashlights. "Outlast" mimics this by using a night vision setting on Miles' camcorder to allow the player to see what's going on in the dark, including the various enemies that might be hiding. "Outlast" is a survival game that doesn't rely heavily on combat, forcing the player to sneak their way through the levels if they want to survive. The game takes heavy inspiration from found-footage horror cinema in general, using jump scares and the pitfalls of technology (like running out of batteries) to really sell the scares. Fans of "Blair Witch," "Quarantine," "REC," and others are sure to find something to love here. The game has spawned two sequels, "Outlast 2," and "The Outlast Trials," the latter of which is due to be released later this year.

Dead Space / Event Horizon

Outer space is terrifying for many reasons, and films like "Alien" and "Event Horizon" have used it as a setting to incredible effect. Fans of extraterrestrial horror will certainly appreciate "Dead Space," a video game in which players must survive as an engineer aboard a massive space colony used to extract resources from the planet below. Unfortunately the extraction colony has been overrun by mutated horrors that worship an alien artifact, and the player is armed only with engineering tools to fight them. While "Outlast" mimics some of the aesthetic of the "Alien" franchise, it ultimately feels closer to Paul W.S. Anderson's "Event Horizon" because the creatures of "Outlast" aren't parasites looking for incubators — they're infected looking for others to mutate. The mind becomes lost along with the body, and it taps right into the existential hell of "Event Horizon." 

"Dead Space" has inspired multiple spin-offs, including a remake of the original game that's set to release in 2023. 

Bloodborne / Brotherhood of the Wolf

Historical horror can be a lot of fun, and Christophe Gans' 2001 French-language film "Brotherhood of the Wolf" uses its 18th-century setting to create a scary story that's as beautiful as it is brutal. The film follows a pair of investigators trying to find the mythical "Beast of Gévaudan," which has been terrorizing the countryside and has left hundreds of people dead. The creature turns out to be controlled by a religious cult, and the duo realize there is much more to fear than just the Beast. "Brotherhood of the Wolf" is a creepy, sensuous story with a setting that is at once luxurious and rotting. 

Similarly, the 2015 FromSoftware game "Bloodborne" is set in the Gothic, Victorian-inspired city of Yharnam, where the player's character must try to determine the source of a blood-borne (get it?) disease that turns them into monsters. The weapons in the film and game are similar: Mostly swords, knives, and flintlock pistols, though there are a few fun fancy fantasy weapons in both. "Bloodborne" is inspired by the words of horror authors like H.P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker, turning cosmic horror into something more palatable for 21st century audiences. If you want to fight unique, terrifying monsters in a Gothic setting by the light of the moon, "Bloodborne" is the game for you. 

Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly / A Tale of Two Sisters

Southeast Asian horror experienced a massive popularity boom in the United States in the late 1990s and early 2000s as films like "Ringu" and "Ju-On: The Grudge" were remade for American audiences. In 2003, two of the best horror ghost stories ever made into visual media were released: The Korean horror film "A Tale of Two Sisters," and the Japanese video game "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly." Both follow a pair of young sisters as they try to unravel the mysteries inside an old, haunted house, leading to horrible revelations about their families and personal histories. In "A Tale of Two Sisters," a teenage girl is having problems related to shock after the death of her mother. She moves into a secluded countryside estate with her younger sister, father, and stepmother, but soon she begins seeing the ghost of her dead mother (and worse). 

The PlayStation 2 game "Fatal Frame II" follows twin sisters who visit their favorite childhood place to play in an abandoned village before it's washed away by the construction of a new dam. The twins discover spirits throughout the village, including the mysterious Twin Shrine Maiden who was sacrificed in vain many years before. Unlike many horror games, the player doesn't have any weapons and cannot really fight the ghosts — they can only use the "Camera Obscura," a special camera, to capture images of the ghosts and eventually contain them. It's often impossible to even see the ghosts without the camera, which makes the game that much more terrifying. The first "Fatal Frame" had a meandering story that lost many of its players, but the second took hints from the films of the time to make a much more compelling mystery. If you like "The Ring," "The Grudge," "A Tale of Two Sisters," "The Eye," or just about any other Southeast Asian ghost story from the early aughts, make sure to check out "Fatal Frame II."

Condemned: Criminal Origins / Se7en

Media based on serial killers is almost always popular, interesting fans of both true crime and realistic psychological horror, but sometimes the most compelling serial killer stories are fictional. David Fincher's 1995 crime classic "Se7en" follows two detectives on the hunt for a fictional serial killer they call John Doe. Doe tortures and kills his victims in order to force them to atone for perceived vices, each aligned with one of the Seven Deadly Sins. The man Doe convicts of gluttony, for example, is doomed to eat until the eating itself kills him. That's pretty nasty stuff, and just the beginning of Fincher's demented thrill ride. Fans of serial killer stories like "Se7en" are sure to love the 2005 game "Condemned: Criminal Origins," which came out for Xbox 360 and PC. 

Players take on the role of Ethan Thomas, a crime scene investigator with the FBI's Serial Crime Unit. He's on the hunt for Serial Killer X, who framed Ethan for murder while he was looking for another serial killer, the Match Maker, and along the way he discovers a whole criminal underground of various serial killers hiding in plain sight. "Condemned: Criminal Origins" feels like playing as Clarice Starling from "The Silence of the Lambs" or Brad Pitt's character in "Se7en" while taking on numerous terrible enemies. If you can make it through the department store level without screaming, you're a stronger person than I am.

Deadly Premonition / Twin Peaks

I know, I know, "Twin Peaks" isn't technically a movie, but the prequel, "Fire Walk With Me," definitely is, and "Twin Peaks: The Return" feels like an 18-hour movie, so it's close enough. David Lynch and Mark Frost's "Twin Peaks" is a unique kind of horror because it deals more heavily with existential unease than it does jump scares, supernatural entities, or prolific serial killers. It follows Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he tries to figure out who killed cheerleader Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). The murder turns out being much weirder than anyone could have anticipated, and the town of Twin Peaks, Washington is dealing with something strange and supernatural. 

The 2010 open-world survival horror game "Deadly Premonition" is heavily inspired by "Twin Peaks," right down to following an FBI agent with a love for coffee. The player acts as Agent Francis York Morgan, investigating the death of a young woman who bears resemblance to both Laura Palmer and another "Twin Peaks" character played by Heather Graham. As Agent Morgan continues his investigation, he gets sucked further into the mysteries of a small Washington town, and even ends up in their otherworldly red room. "Deadly Premonition" is about as close to "Twin Peaks: The Game" as someone can get without being sued, so fans of the deeply unsettling series should be sure to check it out. It's also just a heck of a lot of fun

Subnautica / The Abyss

The ocean is just about the scariest thing in existence, if you really think about it. Not only must someone down there survive whatever terrors lurk in the deep, but they have to survive the water pressure, the fact that they can't breathe, and variations in light and darkness. It's terror from every angle in a world completely inhospitable to human life, and it makes for a perfect setting for horror video games and movies. There are quite a few great films with underwater horrors, but James Cameron's "The Abyss" takes them to truly terrifying new depths. In the 1989 film, a team of Navy SEALS must investigate an unidentified underwater object after it causes a ship to sink. What they discover is an entire alien city, both beautiful and potentially horrific in its scope. "The Abyss" reminds us that while many of us fear the cold dark of outer space, there's plenty of cold darkness right here on Earth that we have yet to explore.

The 2018 game "Subnautica" isn't technically a horror game, but its horror elements are strong enough to terrify even the most un-shockable players. In "Subnautica," players explore an ocean-covered planet after your spacecraft crashes upon it. In order to survive, players must find food sources, build shelter, and create all of the things necessary for human life on an alien world. When the game gets scary is when players must search beyond water close to the surface and plumb the depths for supplies. Down there lurk colorful, beautiful monsters that might be harmless, or might decide to make the player into a snack. There are some visual similarities between "The Abyss" and "Subnautica," but the real link is the feeling of searching through dark water and discovering something terrible. 

Phasmophobia / The Conjuring

If ghost hunting is more your speed, there's an entire universe of "The Conjuring" movies to choose from, following paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) as they try to help all kinds of frightened families from the specters haunting their homes. The Warrens are based on the real-life couple who claimed to be demonologists and help people rid their homes of ghosts, using a variety of techniques (and later technology) to find the supernatural pests. 

If you've ever wanted to feel like the Warrens or one of the guys on "Ghost Hunters," look no further than "Phasmophobia," the 4-player cooperative ghost hunting PC game that puts you in the shoes of a paranormal investigator. The game gives players a variety of tools, including EMF readers, night-vision cameras, and even the occasional crucifix. What makes "Phasmophobia" so much scarier than other games with similar premises is that the various ghosts all react differently based on the player's voices and locations within the levels. That's right, if you're talking to your buddy and the ghost hears, that can be a nasty problem. The "game over" kind. Short of buying a bunch of the equipment and breaking into dilapidated old buildings yourself, there's no better ghost hunting experience than "Phasmophobia."

Until Dawn / Pumpkinhead

Supermassive Games' "Until Dawn" is an interactive horror narrative game that takes inspiration from too many movies to list, though the closest in both tone and content is probably the 1988 Stan Winston film "Pumpkinhead." Both seem like fairly straightforward slashers until they aren't, and they turn into majorly nasty monster stories. "Until Dawn" is about a group of friends returning to a mountainside retreat a year after the tragic disappearance of two of their friends. While some spooky happenings initially lead them (and the player) to believe that it's all a bitter story of revenge, it turns out there is so much more to it, including sacred ground and an ancient curse. With both "Pumpkinhead" and "Until Dawn," the less you know the better, because their winding stories reveal something unique for each person who enjoys them. 

"Until Dawn" is a truly impressive horror game, combining elements of camp slashers, folk horror, and social horror to create an experience that's hard to forget. Every choice the player makes throughout the game will influence the course of the story, and the sheer attention to detail makes this an incredible experience for just about every kind of horror fan.