All posts by cinematichris

Video Game Review: Until Dawn (2015, PS4 exclusive) HORRORATHON 3


I love when people ask me about Until Dawn, a game I spent the majority of the year hyped about. They ask me “What’s it about? Can you describe it?” And I respond: “It’s HORROR MOVIE:THE GAME.” They retort: “Like which?” I say “Yes.”

Simply put, UNTIL DAWN is a variation on the point ‘n click/QTE cinematic experience style games popularized by Quantic Dream, especially HEAVY RAIN. You play as an assorted cast of characters, stuck in a remote cabin in wintry Canada, who must work together if they want to survive… UNTIL DAWN.

One of the game’s strongest aspects is its superb mocap work. In particular, Hayden Panettiere’s Sam, Rami Malek’s Josh, and Peter Stormare’s enigmatic Doctor Hill.

When you stop playing, you get a good look at the expression of your player character. Here, Sam's a little bit freaked.
When you stop playing without pausing, you get a good look at the expression of your player character. Here, Sam’s a little bit freaked.

The game also has some great looking environments and references to many iconic works of horror. Evil Dead is an obvious one, cabin in the woods and all. To assist a player in having the most tense experience possible, there are several Silent Hill: Shattered Memories-esque psychoanalysis segments that probe you to figure out which characters you would be most vulnerable to seeing bad things happen to, as well as inserting some jump scares and such that will leave you unnerved. I’m looking at you, random spider on the security camera!

Mike explores a desolate sub-basement.
Mike explores a desolate sub-basement.

As much as I want to gush about this game, it does have some flaws. Some characters seem intentionally under-written so as to make it so you are less eager to ensure they make it to the end. Others are plot-proof until the very final level, where it all comes down to how steady your hands are at holding the controller absolutely still while it vibrates. Mine, for the record, are not.  I still have not gotten the perfect ending trophy because of that fact.

That being said, this game has plenty of replayability. It’s fairly short, having my first playthrough last about 10 hours-ish. I highly recommend just going into it and having fun the first time you go through, no guides or walkthroughs, especially if you love the horror genre. I consider myself a bit of an afficianado, and I still lost a few of my favorite characters by the end.

Since it’s been about a month or so since release, price has dropped, and honestly, I’d say if you can get it for 45 dollars or so, you’re getting your money’s worth.

8 out of 10 unfound corpses.

Listmania: Top 10 Horror Films of the Last 10 Years

2005: The Descent

From the director of DOG SOLDIERS, a bunch of women enter a cave to find darkness, claustrophobia, insanity, and something far more intimidating…

2006: Behind the Mask:The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Getting the wheels rolling on the horror satire trend,  Behind the Mask folllows a camera crew documenting the day-to-day of a very Voorhees-esque killer and has a number of genre cameos.

2007: Bug

From the mind of William Friedkin comes this terrifying little tale of what drugs and paranoia can do to wreak havoc on Michael Shannon and the people who come near him. Not one for the easily perturbed.

2008: Martyrs

An intense horror film that taught me the depths of how much I can stomach before I don’t want to watch anymore. If you’re a genre fan, definitely see once, though I doubt you’d like to again.

2009: Trick R’ Treat

A fun collection of spooky and darkly humorous shorts a la Creepshow from the director of the upcoming Krampus.

2010: Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil

The first on this list that’s more comedy than horror, this movie pokes holes in all of your favorite crazed hillbilly killer films.

2011: Attack the Block

A British film about a gang of rough-around-the-edges inner city kids who are forced to face off against a cadre of intimidating aliens in their apartment complex.

2012: The Cabin in the Woods

Joss Whedon’s and Drew Goddard’s sometimes funny, sometimes scary look at the genre.

2013:  The Conjuring

A well-acted, atmospheric film based on a true story. Ish.

2014:  The Babadook

A very creepy look at a skewed family dynamic and mental/moral decay.

2015: It Follows

Sex ghost, the movie. If you want to know more, check out our review.

HORRORATHON Film Review: The Frighteners (1996)

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Directed by Peter Jackson

Starring Michael J. Fox, Jake Busey and Jeffrey Combs

Wait, Peter Jackson directs movies that aren’t based on a Tolkien book?

Continue reading HORRORATHON Film Review: The Frighteners (1996)

HORRORATHON Game Review: The Evil Within (2014,X360)

the-evil-within-game-wallpaper

What do you get when you mix two parts Resident Evil with a dash of Silent Hill and Hellraiser? A gory, demented survival horror made of the stitched together corpses of several other franchises that have been struggling for awhile. Maybe it was time to give them some shock treatment to make a new beastie, and that was director Shinji Mikami’s goal. To bring the survival horror genre back from the large spell of terribleness to mediocrity. So… did he catch lightning in a body and re-animate the genre or do I need to call cleanup to get rid of that burnt corpse smell?

Continue reading HORRORATHON Game Review: The Evil Within (2014,X360)