With the sharks in the game, they often don't immediately attack you. Instead, they tend to stalk and circle around you before going in for the insta kill.
At which point, your character is violently shaken in the jaws of the shark, letting out a gurgling scream. As the "WASTED" screen pops up, your character remains frozen in an expression of terror, sinking into the depths in a cloud of blood.
What's worse is that unlike cougars which you can easily fend of with your overpowered minigun or auto shotgun the only thing you have underwater as a weapon is the knife and fighting a shark with a knife more often than not has the same resultin real life.
Exploring the ocean can be very unsettling, even without the constant threat of sharks. The deeper you go, the less light there is, and massive underwater cliffs and spires appear practically out of nowhere constantly. The submarine has no radio, so you're stuck listening to either the eerie ambient music, the droning of the submersible's engines, or various strange undersea noises.
Then there's 'crush depth.' diving too deep with the submersible will cause it to visibly compact under the water pressure. What's worse is some of the nuclear waste pickups require you to dive dangerously close, or into that depth.
Nightmare Retardant: there are save files that removes all ocean life and makes the water transparent, for easier navigation.
Trevor Phillips is a really creepy character, especially in his Ax-Crazy moments, one of which is his opening, when he stomps the side of Johnny K's face in, leaving a bloody red pulp on the side of the road.
There is a strong implication that Trevor moonlights as a serial killer. Even if he isn't a true serial killer, his sick hobby of picking up hitchhikers, driving them up a windy mountain road, and handing them over to a gun-wielding cult is just as creepy.
Of course, there are his "friends in the mountains" AKA the Altruist Cult. They are a malevolent group who, according to Ron, take people Trevor brings to them and "just want them for dinner". The fact that Trevor is willingly bringing them to the cult like it was a normal day to him is scarier than the cult itself. This is the same man who likely would have killed them in within a moment's notice.
And after you deliver four people to the cult, the cult decides to turn on Trevor. Big mistake for the cultists, but it's still pretty chilling to see their ritual, which was undoubtedly one of the last things all those victims you delivered saw.
Worst part? You can't skip it, so if you're queasy and uncomfortable with torture scenes, much less interactive torture scenes, you are shit out of luck if you want to beat this game. The only consolation is that Trevor doesn't kill the guy, but rather drives him to the airport and kindly advises him to get out of Los Santos forever.
Even this moment is horrifying, if only for the revelation that although Trevor enthusiastically participated in the brutality, he knew from the start the guy would tell them everything, and it was all totally pointless.
To put in light just how horrifying this part of the game is: some GTA fans, who are known to be completely unflinching towards the worst blood and gore that the series has had to offer, CRINGE at this scene. Most of it has to do with the fact that the horror of the violence is completely played straight. No form of glorification in the slightest.
The worst part is that the victim seems to be an innocent man, and after the mission is done, it doesn't seem like he'll see his family again. And before the poor guy was tortured by the FIB, he was being tortured by the IAA.
In one of the endings Trevor burns to death screaming in agony.
How the whole Kill Trevor ending turns out is pretty unnerving, especially the fact that after Franklin or Michael kills Trevor, Michael goes on a rant in which he aggressively tries to justify what they did. It's been noted that his behavior and mannerisms in this instance are very similar, if not identical, to the way Trevor actedthroughout the entire game.
The scene where Trevor murders Floyd and his girlfriend. The actual murder isn'tshown, but Trevor is covered in blood and the apartment windows are smeared with it. Whatever he did, it was messy.
Trevor: You people are not very fucking nice.
They have a no holds barred, rather graphic and disturbing torture scene, that you are forced to act out, but THIS is what gets a discretion shot?? What in the world did Trevor do?
Remember the cougars in Red Dead Redemption? They're back, waiting for you should you choose to head into the countryside. They're not as tough to kill as the ones in Red Dead, and they'll run away from you if you're in a vehicle, but the sound of their yowling is still enough to send a chill down your spine. Oh, and while the Red Dead cougars would usually take two hits to kill you at full health, these cougars can do it in just one.
Their killing animation has also changed from a comically unrealistic looking scratch to a much more realistic pounce then bite into your torso/neck.
Worse is - you are virtually guaranteed to find them when playing the hunting minigame, and you can't use invincibility in missions, so if you can't run away fast enough (or climb on top of something) you will get killed. It's the inevitability of them spotting you and chasing you faster than you can run away that is particularly scary.
If you've taken a taxi to the hunting area, sometimes your taxi driver can be attacked by a cougar.
To a lesser extent, you can also get attacked by dogs. It usually happens if you attack their owner, but sometimes it's just triggered by going too close. There are sometimes police dogs too.
Elk can occasionally run in front of cars, which is quite a surprise if you see it happening well away from the hunting area where you'd normally find them.
Go to Mount Gordo between 23:00 and 00:00 and you'll see Jolene Cranley-Evans. The catch? She's been dead since 1978.
It gets worse. When you approach her, she disappears and leaves a message in blood. The message? Jock. As in Jock Cranley. You know, one of the candidates in the campaign for governor? One of the websites in the game implies that Jock murdered his wife.
There's the Adult Fear of the mission Meltdown, Michael has to fight off Merryweather, who are threatening to kill his family.
Did we mention it was completely unnecessary? The reason Michael was chasing Molly, was because she had stolen the only hard copy of the movie Michael had produced so it wouldn't be put out. Of course, being 2013, there's plenty of digital copies, but the director, the only one who knew of them at the time, didn't see fit to remind anyone.
Trevor discovering the corpse of Brad.
To go into specifics, it's not the corpse of Brad itself that is the terrifying part of this scene, it's the fact that Trevor, already unhinged at this point just discovered that Michael, one of his best friends, was responsible for the death of his other best friend, and now because of discovering this, any semblance of a deep friendship between them is destroyed.
During "Fresh Meat", any time an enemy gets knocked into a meat grinder.
During the family therapy session, Michael tells Amanda, right in front of their children and in no uncertain terms, that if she were to report him to the police, he would kill her. The look on his face and tone of his voice are as terrifying as anything Trevor's ever done.
While Michael may have just been playing along, the fact that his dialogue pretty much dissolves into their catchphrase during their quests can be quite unnerving. Is our Villain Protagonist hero just faking it, or is he really becoming brainwashed?
During Predator, bigfoot shows up as you're using thermal scopes to snipe. When you focus on him, he disappears. However, if you're not familiar with GA mythology, it just looks like a person was standing there until you looked at him, and then he disappeared when you began watching him.
Ending B, where Franklin kills Michael. Michael leaves no stone unturned in making you feel guilty as shit for double-crossing him after he just salvaged his family life and looked out for Franklin as if he was family, too; even if you change your mind and try to save him, he lets himself drop to his death. The image of Michael a bloody, dead mess on the pavement is a pretty horrific way to end the story.
Same if you're in an airplane and fly too far out into the ocean. You can either (a) slowly fall into the ocean in the cockpit of a plane with dead engines, or (b) jump out and free-fall into the ocean. Either way, you'll be stranded in open waters, miles from land and have to fear Jaws...
Grove Street. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, it was the safest place for the player in Los Santos, being the site of your first hideout and completely free of Ballas control. In this game, it's the complete opposite. It's a dismal and grungy ghetto crawling with Gang Bangers who are notNeighborhood Friendly Gangsters. Every single one of them is armed and liable to open fire at the slightest provocation (up to and including the crime of simply not being one of them). Just like a real life ghetto, this is not a place you want to go to alone, if at all.
Heck anytime you have to fight the Ballas in missions is heart pounding. The two missions "The Long Stretch" and "Hood Safari" are basically escape or die missions.
In Friend Request, Michael, at the behest of Lester, plants a device into a prototype LifeInvader phone and is told to call it when the founder, Jay Norris, demonstrates it. The kicker? The device was an explosive. He's right out in front of the public, he holds the ringing phone up to his ear, then BOOM! His head asplodes. Even Michael thought that Lester went too far.
Really, the idea of Lester getting mad at someone at all. While the people he targets in Assassination missions are far from undeserving, they had no idea that they had attracted the ire of a dumpy little man who is suddenly sending assassins after them. He's like if Anonymous had access to a crew of hardcore criminals to kill anyone that displeased them. This is further compounded in the multiplayer; you can call Lester in at any time to put a bounty on other players, for anyreason at all at any time.