Until Dawn Isn't As Stupid As "Teen Horror Flicks"
I think this needs to be cleared up, for the sake of the game's market performance.
I'm not sure Sony or developer Supermassive Games is aware, but the general point of view prior to Until Dawn's release was that it's basically an interactive version of a campy '80s teen horror movie.
And while it certainly boasts elements of that cheeseball niche genre, I think such a description does the game no justice. In fact, it's wildly insulting. When people think of "teen slasher flicks" and the like, they're immediately envisioning scripts that haven't got more than three brain cells, and characters that amazingly have even fewer brain cells. They're also probably picturing laughable acting and an over-abundance of predictability. In other words, none of these movies were in line for any awards and there's a darn good reason for it. As popular as some of them were, as massive as these cult classics became, for most film buffs, the "teen horror flick" is a joke.
But that's really not what Until Dawn is. It's a parody in addition to being a serious horror adventure with surprisingly good acting and halfway decent writing. I don't think this will win any awards, either, but the whole production is a damn sight better than any of those retro horror movies (and yeah, I've seen most of them). I understand that Sony wants to package the game a certain way, but a lot of gamers have since realized that this particular packaging is inaccurate. The game has more of a brain and more of a soul than anybody would've anticipated. And why didn't we anticipate it? Because as a direct result of the descriptions and some of the marketing, why should we have expected anything with more substance?
It's here, though. Yes, there's plenty of obnoxious adolescent behavior and flirty antics. I attribute that behavior more to the ages of the characters, though; a group of 20-somethings will undoubtedly include a few irritating personalities, regardless of film genre. And there are some tongue-in-cheek moments. However, the latter moments are greatly outstripped by the more serious horror segments, and these are in turn magnified by the great emotion and clashing personalities that are continually on display. In short, "Friday the 13th" this is not and I think it would behoove the developer and publisher to present Until Dawn as something that's of a higher quality the whole way 'round, and definitely more ambitious.
8/28/2015 Ben Dutka