Developer Supermassive Games has tapped horror movie clichés pending set-up Dawn and amplify them to extreme degrees. Eight attractive stereotypes, played with great enthusiasm by a well-balanced cast that is too good for the material, gathered to “party like porn stars” in a remote cabin on top of a snowy mountain that can be accessed through a reliable cable car. Why are they there? To mark the first anniversary of the mysterious disappearance of their friends in the surrounding woods, naturally.
Until the Dawn game world is small, but has Supermassive hostile as entertainingly as possible. Its beautifully detailed cabin is huge, cold, and full of secrets, while the surrounding area has a sanatorium with a large morgue, an abandoned mine shaft, and a range of aggressive wildlife. This bitter landscape is filmed with a keen eye on the isolation, and until dawn did a great job encouraging the sense that you are always monitored by high angles and tracking shots.
It is a ridiculous place to spend some time, of course, and during the first half until dawn really revel in idiosyncratic idiocy of the slasher genre. The characters take baths with their headphones. Couples go to dangerous lengths to have sex. Everyone seems to think scare the hell out of each other is really ‘fun’. Although I wish the script Graham Reznick and Larry Fessenden was more scathing overall – sometimes I wondered if bad jokes were intentionally bad jokes – I enjoyed the familiarity Until Dawn, the dumb jock to discuss with the bad boy the queen bee to the character of Hayden Panettiere to be stuck in a towel for half the run-time.
Such abuse hearted genre tropes not long dilutes the seizures significantly Dawn – I laughed more than I flinched – although there is the odd bit of bad intelligent orientation resulting from genuine shock. Supermassive has an excellent handle on the visual language of horror movies, and until dawn is more frightening when a character is always the backup so slowly on a door, or approaching a rattle trap.
Until dawn can not quite support his tone deadpan laugh through his ten o’clock-ish, though, and his story branches off in a direction quite different in a second half much darker and dumber (which has a lot to a British horror film). Although there are still some tense moments to be had here, this sudden change remains all cohesion and I felt as if I had played through two very different – games – and discordant.
Fortunately, until dawn encourage a more coherent sense of tension elsewhere. Your goal is to save (or killed?) As many characters as you can on the evening as possible, and every decision they take shape under your control their destiny. Fold a weapon out of shape? Do not expect to have later when you are attacked. Be cruel to another character? You will not have the most support when you need them.