Lately I have found that I don’t like watching movies too often, however my friends are able to drag me to them from time to time. Last night a few of my friends wanted me to see the movie Mama. Watching I came to a realization…horror video games have ruined horror movies for me. I remember in the past they would get at least one jump scare out of me, but this movie…nothing. Even awful movies usually have SOMETHING that I liked. Now the fact that it was pg-13 didn't help it either; however, I've never had a movie that had such little affect on me. This has been a problem with passive media for me for a while…I can’t ever get out of my mind that “this is a movie” and “the main character will be okay/the movie will have a nice resolution.” This creates a problem, I never truly feel tension in situations and the movies/shows become kind of boring.
Games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Slender: The Eight Pages have made me understand how effective the horror genre can be. Also that good horror games have colons in the titles. Those games actually make me feel stressed, and I am the one who has to go through that situation. If I don’t move, the story will not continue. Also, there is no way of knowing (at the least the first time through) if I am even able to be successful. Horror movies will continue the same way every single time you watch them, regardless if you want them to or not.
Now this doesn't mean I will give up on horror movies. If I hear that a horror movie is great, I will likely watch it. But they really need to raise the bar. They rely too much on jump scares rather than finding new ways to create tension in the audience. Fundamentally the formula will have to change for assholes like me to make me feel that tension. Perhaps break “the rules” more often so I don’t fall into my “this character will be okay” mindset. Games as of now are able to do so much more, and make you the avatar of the tense situation. You as the player are able to fail, and you are responsible for continuing the journey.
On a side note...the movie Total Recall has also ruined the phrase "two weeks" for me. I can only think of this scene when I hear it.
tl;dr: Horror games are so much more effective than horror movies because of how you control it, and how it is different every time. Movies are losing the shine because they’re predictable and will always be the same no matter what you do.