We round up the best and scariest VR horror games and other terrifying VR experiences that you can download in 2016, for Google Cardboard and other Android VR headsets, as well as Google's new Daydream VR. If you want a terrifying VR horror experience on your mobile phone, this is all you need to know.
Swimming around in a virtual ocean or dicking about in a 360-degree spaceship is all well and good, but the real reason to pick up an Android VR headset like Google Cardboard is obvious; to scare the living sh*t out of yourself and your loved ones, with a bunch of immersive virtual reality horror games and apps.
Don’t know how to do VR on your phone? No worries, just check out our quick guide on getting started with VR and then come straight back.
Here’s my pick of the best VR horror games and videos that you can check out in 2016, and the good news is that they’re practically all free to download from the Google Play store. Most work with the majority of Android phones, using a basic headset like Google Cardboard, but some are for the new Google Daydream VR system. These require very specific mobile phones and Google's Daydream headset and controller.
A final word of warning: if you have annoying flatmates who like to creep up on you while you’re doing your VR thing, you should probably lock the door before loading up these shocking VR horror games.
Read next: The best VR games you can play right now
Best scary horror VR games for Android
Here's our pick of the best Horror VR games that you can download now for Android phones. Our pick of the best Daydream horror games is at the end of this section.
Best scary horror VR games for Android: House of Terror VR
House of Terror is one of the few Google Cardboard horror games where you can actually freely move around, although you’ll need a Bluetooth controller to play. Explore the shattered remains of a creepy house and try not to get caught by the monsters that lurk in the darkness. Also, try not to soil your pants in an explosive bout of trouser terror.
Best scary horror VR games for Android: Sisters
Another ‘sit there and look around and attempt not to poo yourself’ adventure into terror. Sure, the appearance of sinister doll things and creepy children singing weird gothic songs isn’t exactly super original in this genre, but Sisters is still a brief-but-creepy-as-hell animated ride with a couple of effective jump scares and plenty of attention to detail, which demands at least a second viewing.
Best scary horror VR games for Android: Silent Home
Silent Home is another VR game like House of Terror, where you can freely wander around a slightly terrifying haunted abode looking for pages of an exorcism book. This time however you don’t need a controller, as you control your movements with a pull of the Cardboard’s trigger.
The developers appear to have taken inspiration from P.T. and a fair few other horror games, but Silent Home is still very effective at creeping you out, with some stand-out freakiness as you wander the same corridor over and over.
Best scary horror VR games for Android: Dark Walls
Dark Walls is a simple game with limited interaction but plenty of chills. Of course, the plot is about as original as the average Steven Seagal movie, casting you as a night watchman stationed at a freaky hospital. You can look around 360-degrees and admire the horribly run-down environments up-close, while staring in a particular direction moves you to the next spot.
Unsurprisingly, Very Bad Things happen pretty quickly and there are a couple of solid jump scares as you shriek and whimper your way through the horrid halls.
Best scary horror VR games for Android: Chair in a Room
Surprise, it’s another VR ‘game’ that has you rooted in place while horrible things happen, but Chair in a Room is a solid and undeniably scary effort. The build-up is deliberately slow, taking you from a bit of uneasy stomach clenching to pull-the-glasses-off-and-throw-them-across-the-room terror. Despite a couple of janky moments, it’s a well-produced slice of VR horror.
Best scary horror VR games for Android: VR Horror Escape
This Asian horror sees you wandering around a spooky old house at night, playing with typically sinister music boxes and the like. I started to feel a little sick after a while as there’s a lot of fast zipping around, but it’s a nicely crafted and quite simple horror game for Cardboard. Be warned however, the captions that pop up aren’t in English, so it can get a little confusing.
Best scary horror VR games for Samsung Gear VR
Samsung's Gear VR headset comes with its own 'Powered by Oculus' VR apps store, where you can download exclusive virtual reality apps and games. This is chock full of humbling, dignity-destroying horror titles that will have you crying for your teddy in no time.
Here's our pick of the best horror VR games for Samsung Gear VR.
Read next: How to get started with the Gear VR
Best scary horror VR games for Samsung Gear VR: Affected The Manor
You might be noticing a bit of a recurring theme in this horror game round-up and Affected: The Manor is yet another walk-around-a-creepy-as-hell haunted house sim. But it's a really good one. There are jump scares a-plenty to be 'enjoyed' (endured?) and the best part is, they change around with each new playthrough. So your trousers really never are safe.
Best scary horror VR games for Samsung Gear VR: Dreadhalls
One of the very first VR horror games was Dreadhalls, which can still be picked up for the Gear VR. This terrifying dungeon crawler has you navigating dark corridors with a Bluetooth controller, while evading lots of rather horrific beasties that love getting right in your face.
Nothing original, sure, but certainly powerful stuff.
Best scary horror VR games for Samsung Gear VR: Face Your Fears
One of the more original VR horror games in this round-up is Face Your Fears, which taps straight into the most base human terrors. Whether it's a fear of what lurks in the dark or being dangled from a great height, Face Your Fears is sure to make you quiver, scream and eventually fill your pants with terror juice.
Best scary horror VR games for Daydream
So far Daydream VR is a very new and fresh technology, with very few phones supported and limited games to play. However, the first horror VR games for Daydream have begun to emerge, and here's the best one so far.
Best scary horror VR games for Daydream: Layers of Fear Solitude
The original Layers of Fear was terrifying enough, but on Daydream VR the horror is right in your face. You must explore a creaky and empty old mansion, hunting out clues as to what went on inside its shadowy halls. Sure there are plenty of effective jump scares, but it's the foreboding atmosphere and haunting visuals that really stand out.
Check out our full Layers of Fear Solitude review.
Best scary horror VR movies for Android
Here's our pick of the freakiest horror videos and short movies that you can watch right now on Android phones, using a VR headset.
Best scary horror VR movies for Android: 11.57
One of the best ‘sit there while scary crap goes on all around you’ VR horror experiences so far. 11.57 is very brief and doesn’t have any coherent story to speak of, but you’ll almost certainly be freaked out at the weird ghostly shenanigans. It’s all live action too, which adds a greater sense of realism and growing dread.
Best scary horror VR movies for Android: Black Mass
If you’re after something that’s completely mental, then The Black Mass Experience is a gratifying choice. I won’t even begin to describe what happens, beyond the fact that you wake up in a garage, having been drugged, and all manner of weird and nasty things happen. This is a straightforward VR movie, so just sit back and ‘enjoy’ the show.
Best scary horror VR movies for Android: Sobrenatural VR
A short 360-degree horror video based on the Insidious movies, there are a couple of decent jump scares and some effectively creepy moments. It’s all in Spanish, but don’t let that put you off.
Read next: Mobile games that really f*ck with your head
Best scary horror VR movies for Android: Vrideo
Vrideo is a decent source of original VR videos, most of which are a few minutes long and completely deranged. You can have some fake parents read you a bedtime story or dive off a cliff or even share a space with thousands of live chickens just before they’re slaughtered.
Which brings us onto this small but interesting collection of best Vrideo horror videos, plunging you deep into the sticky bowels of terror in glorious 360-degree freedom.
If you have a thing about chainsaws, you probably won’t like Behind You very much. If Asian horror movies freak you out, then you definitely won’t get on with Elevator Horror. And if your worst fear is the idea of a deranged killer creeping into your house while you’re all alone, then you’ll probably empty your guts at Lock Your Doors.
I also liked Get Out, which brings the horror into your home with a neat little gimmick. And on a final note, while it’s definitely a sci-fi thing rather than horror, I recommend checking out the Ghost in the Shell video simply because it’s freaking awesome.
Read next: The goriest mobile games of all time
Best scary horror VR movies for Android: Catatonic on VRSE
Download the VRSE app and then check out Catatonic, a five-minute video that sees you strapped to a wheelchair in a crazy house. Annoyingly you can’t look around - your view is fixed forward the entire time - although that just makes it all the more horrific when you can’t see what’s making those throaty noises right behind you. The ending is absolutely batsh*t and well worth the price of admission (which is nothing anyway, so what have you got to lose?).
There are plenty of other reasonably entertaining generic horror VR games and movies out there, including the likes of Freight Elevator (no prizes for guessing where you’re stuck for that one). Try searching for ‘horror VR’ on the Google Play store and you should find loads of options, if you’ve already burned through all of the above.
Did I miss your favourite horror VR game or a particularly nasty Google Cardboard video? Let us know in the comments below.