Horror movies let viewers engage with various types of fears without putting themselves in danger. With most horror tropes already well explored, some production studios introduce a “game” into their movies’ plots to make the movie more engaging, increase the suspense and give the viewers “players” to root for. Many of these move the stakes from winning or losing to life-or-death situations that blur the line between reality and fiction. Here are some of the best horror movies that feature games in their plots.
Saw – Survival of the Fittest
Every horror fan has watched at least one Saw movie. This first installment into the franchise starts innocent enough with two people trapped in a room, but it soon devolves into a serious game with very high stakes. A notorious serial killer has devised puzzles and challenges for those trapped to overcome, where the winner leaves triumphant, and the loser(s) dies a horrific death. To survive, the winners have to do so at great personal cost and often permanent physical and psychological maiming.
Truth or Dare
The innocent childhood game is turned on its head in this underrated horror film. A group of college students invite bad luck and accidents when they play the game while travelling to Mexico. The students have to tell the truth, do the dare or keep playing to avoid dying in increasingly horrific ways. They have to reveal secrets and tell difficult truths to survive which only invites more chaos and mayhem.
Spirits of the Dead
Spirits of the Dead is a typical horror film of the 60s and although it does not feature the graphics standards horror fans have come to expect, it still provides lots of scares. The movie follows a mean princess haunted by a horse, a drunk haunted by the devil and an evil student who is followed by their shadow-self. Although this movie does not have as heavy a game theme as the other games in the movie, a scene based on casino games forms the proper starting and pivotal point for the movie’s story.
The casino scene in Spirits of the Dead features the two main characters playing and betting on a high-stakes casino game. This scene is quite tense and realistic and is one of the best representations of the environment you would encounter if you played high-stakes mobile casino games on platforms like Spin Palace NZ. The movie then continues to portray the gruesome effects when karma steps in and teaches evil men and women a lesson. Although this movie is from the 60s, it is still quite enjoyable and one you should watch.
Be warned: cube is not for the faint-hearted. The movie follows six players who wake up trapped in a cube. They have to work together to escape the cube, but when they do so, they find themselves in another cube. There are horrific traps in all cubes. These traps are activated by touch or sound and the players do not know which is which. They have to work together as the stakes increase and they realise the repetition will likely drive them mad before they have a chance to get out.
Horror movies based on games are often so scary because they take the innocent and make it more sinister than we could have imagined. As we watch the players struggle or be wiped out, we can only root for them, feel sorry for them, or want them to be eliminated for the sake of the game.