Didn’t expect to see a documentary at this year’s HorrorAthon did you? Well, it should feel pretty obvious why I just had to watch it right? Imagine you’re in bed at night, when all of a sudden, your body goes tingly and limp. Your body can’t move, and your eyes are wide open. You’re hearing frightening sounds, and then from the corner of your eye, that’s when you start seeing the shadows. This isn’t a horror movie, this is real, and it happens to people every day. It’s called Sleep Paralysis and The Nightmare brings together 8 people who suffer from it’s effects, and recreates their stories in chilling detail. How effective is it? Note: If you suffer from sleep paralysis, I’ve heard that this film may be triggering, keep that in mind as you read the review, and/or watch this film for yourself.
Imagine you’re standing in the middle of a suburban street. It seems like a peaceful evening for everyone else, but not for you. Something is coming for you. You see it down the street, it’s walking towards you, so you start to run. You keep running, hoping it won’t know where you’re going. But it does, and there’s no stopping it. Just hope it doesn’t catch you. Just writing that actually made me feel nervous, thinking about what I had witnessed in this retro throwback horror film that is exactly like what I described. A simple premise? Perhaps, but who said simple was a bad thing?
There are many movies about the night of Halloween, some of them are party movies, some of them are animated specials. For the horror fan, your choices are huge, but many fail to muster the feelings of joy and terror that Halloween is known for. Well folks, here is the movie you were looking for.
He’s a paranormal entity that’s been running laps around the internet for ages now. Some might say he’s become so popular, that he’s even become meme-like. Never the less, the tireless, faceless hunter returns in Slender: The Arrival.
Made popular by chilling stories on the SomethingAwful forums, Slender Man first made his debut in the gaming world through “Slender: The Eight Pages“. The indie horror title was free and simple yet quite frightening, and enjoyed huge success. This success resulted in the development of a more complex and intriguing game that offers just as much in the scare department while also providing a somewhat immersing story experience. Enter “Slender: The Arrival“.
The game begins with the player (Lauren) making their way through a brightly lit forest, headed toward her friend Kate’s home. Why? Kate has gone missing and nobody is quite sure what happened to her. As the player approaches the home, the seemingly warm and embracing woods steadily become dark and menacing, and you instinctively take refuge in the home. After arming yourself with a flashlight, you begin to play detective and search for clues as to what happened to Kate. Unfortunately (but expected, of course) you are forced to leave the home and enter the darkness that awaits, and thus begin your encounters with the Slender Man and his proxies.
If there is one thing Slender: The Arrival does well (and many of you may expect this due to experiences with The Eight Pages) it’s jump scares. Other than a completely optional encounter in the woods, no scares are scripted and this definitely keeps the player on their toes at all times. In addition to this, atmosphere and immersion are really well done in this game. When playing in the darkness with a headset (preferably surround sound), you really feel as if you are a part of the game and the sense of hopelessness is profound. You will pay attention to every breath and every step Lauren takes, and any small noise outside of that will cause a spike in your heart rate. This, combined with the dreadful knowledge that you are always being pursued yet have no idea where your pursuer lies, makes the inevitable jump scares that much stronger. As I mentioned earlier, The Arrival also gives much more story and background than The Eight Pages does, enough to keep the player relatively interested in the progression of events.
Of course, as with most games there are negatives. Besides a plot that actually exists, a lot of the good things about this game were also good things about The Eight Pages. While a refreshing take on the original game, it is not a new or innovative experience. Many of the primary objectives are simply The Eight Pages rehashed; Find x pages, turn on x generators, all while being pursued. Not that this wasn’t expected with a sequel, but this was also a flaw of the original game; it gets repetitive quickly. Similar to Phantomhour’s opinion of Five Nights at Freddy’s, fear can soon grow into frustration. Despite new, visually appealing environments and a mildly interesting story, I did eventually lose interest in the game, and couldn’t bring myself to complete it. That being said, even if you’ve bested The Eight Pages, I can assure you that The Arrival will give you a frightening experience for a while. Personally, I feel that picking this game up for $4.99 during a Steam sale was absolutely worth it, and I would say that the current price of $9.99 is reasonable for this horror game. Any more is a bit of a stretch.
All things considered, Slender: The Arrival gets an overall respectable 7/10 and is definitely worth adding to the horror game enthusiast’s collection.
Fear: 9/10. Immersion, pursuit, and jump scares. All very well done. Near perfect, but I knocked off a point because the scares do eventually get repetitive and frustrating.
Beware: Creepy, disfigured children, dark forests, abandoned homes, flashlights, and of course, Slender Man.
Do you love jump scares? Do you like frightening noises and demonic laughter? Then get ready for Freddy. Five Nights At Freddy’s is a game where you play as the newest security guard working at a children’s pizzeria place. Why would a pizzeria need a security guard? Only at night. Wait a minute….
The game is simple, you are stuck in the office with only access to security cameras, a door latch and the lights. Did I mention you only get one battery? A battery that drains faster than an iPhone playing Bioshock. Yup, so you need to be able to judge when and where you need to use that battery. Not scared yet?
How about now? I sure am. Imagine flipping the camera up and seeing this. How’d he get out of his room? Well, that’s where the danger comes in. These animatronics, don’t take kindly to strangers, and they want you. But this awful looking monster isn’t even the worst of it. There’s another character that does even something more terrifying, and I cannot spoil what it is. But here is where he lies.
Pirates Cove. Let’s just say, if you see it, and then you look again and it’s gone, you better lock the doors, immediately. I mentioned jump scares before, and this game has them in waves. I don’t think I’ve jumped so much in a game in a long time, and dammit, the scares are unexpected and they are good.
One of the big issues with this game, is that it gets repetitive and it gets there fast. Sure, each night gets harder in difficulty, but the scares eventually turn to frustration, and instead of screaming, you’ll want to punch the walls when you get snatched by one of the ghoulish four, and you only had seconds to go.
It’s still a blast to play, but don’t expect to find it scary throughout it’s whole run time. But when it is scary, good lord, some of you may have your lights on for awhile and may never visit a Chuck e Cheese ever again.
It’s available on PC, Mac, iOS and Android now.
7.5 Jumpscares out of 10.
Scares: 8.5/10, some really intense jump scares may frighten off players before they can finish this one.