The Quarry lets you know what’s good about slasher movies

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When I was When I was a teenager, my friends would host horror movie nights, and their reactions were as pleasurable as the films themselves. One friend always said that he liked the film, but then he could not convey even the most basic plot details (“To be honest, I got a little confused towards the end” when the credits rolled). The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). During the show Saw, the other was lying face up on the bed like a corpse in a mortuary, one of his socks was pulled over his eyes. When he arrived the following month, he was sitting on the windowsill with the window tightly closed, turning around from time to time to see if he could return.

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From those nights, I learned that horror films are best seen in a group. This is especially true if the film is bad. The soft bottom rung of the slasher genre may not win awards, but bloody murders and screamers are associated with physical presence and a sense of community: an audience united by horror.

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Developer Supermassive Games creates interactive dramas that use this effect. Her games combine slashers with video game mechanics. The company calls this system the “butterfly effect”, referring to chaos theory, according to which the action of each character can change the course of history. During the pandemic, I played the developer’s first try, Until dawn, with a housemate; as the characters’ plight deepened, so did our joy. When we made the choice that caused the saw blade to rip the protagonist’s intestines out of his stomach like a snake out of a tin can, we laughed and laughed.

The last game of the company, Career, released this week is apparently a throwback to the special kind of slasher horror that has waxed and waned in popularity since 1978. halloween; less obviously, it’s also a throwback to older games.

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As in many horror films, Career opens from a car on a highway winding through a dense forest. Ariana Grande sings in the background. (The game uses amusingly trite licensed music.) The young couple, who the horror-educated viewer suspects are ripe for butchering, have charted a course at Hackett’s Quarry, a summer camp where they are supposed to work as instructors. An accident, a whispering ghost and a creepy cop ensure they don’t survive. You are now in control of the six instructors they were supposed to join. The camp is over, and as the children are being bused out to freedom, Mr. H, the camp manager, appears agitated, insisting that the teens leave the premises before dark. Unfortunately, the group’s van has broken down and they will have to stay one more night. Mr. H drives off in a rage, yelling at them to stay inside; instead, naturally, they decide to drink his beer and have a party.


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Career is an elaborately embroidered tapestry of horror clichés. The camp itself is where you can take the scenic route – the area is literally called the “scenic route” – to skinny-dip into an old swimming hole, only to have Jason drag you down to swamp hell. All of the game’s protagonists are archetypal slasher characters updated for the present day. Because it’s a game, it breaks the standard formulas down to their algorithmic core: on the selection screen, characters get traits like “athletic”, “arrogant”, “funny”. There is a shy guy who listens to podcasts, an influencer who is obsessed with Instagram stories. And, of course, there’s the back-to-back-cap-wearing athlete who high-fives many times and says things like “we’ll look at that” when he sees a no-swimming sign and “my beer squeak” when he discovers alcohol. . Everyone looks good, even the nerds, and in typical slasher fashion, they argue about getting back to school and who they want to be with as sex and death go hand in hand.

As you may have noticed Career the writers are definitely on to the joke: the game is full of irony and revels in its beefy grammar. This is not “high horror” if we take the term for anything, but a traditional slasher, even less destructive than recent creations like X as well as Bodies Bodies Bodies. “Have you seen Evil Deadisn’t it?” one of the main characters says as he descends into the basement, and this film had a strong influence on Until dawn; Career probably less and more Friday the 13th. (Creative director Will Biles also quotes sleep camp.) I felt a little Eli Roth Cabin Feverbut given that the main characters face threats from ghosts, rednecks and bats, you can choose your influence.

Of course, Career this is not a movie, but there is gameplay in the traditional sense, some kind of fixed perspective, going a la silent Hill or early Resident Evilaiming from weapons and collecting items such as tarot cards.

But that’s not what makes it convincing. The reason why we are here is because Shower-like decision trees. On this front, the cinematic counterparts are slightly different: bandersnatchobvious, but there is also something very Destination or Shed in a woods about this unfolding sense of possible fears and deaths. Do you kick open the door or pick the lock? Are you descending into the pit of eternal darkness, or are you continuing to spin around in Mr. X’s chair? Some of these decisions take the form of quick events, such as jumping over the boulders of a lake or holding your breath to escape a bat. When you decide something monumental, the trembling screen reads “Chosen Path”, indicating a consistent split in history.

What can go unnoticed here Career thoughtful inclusion of antique mode: Co-op on the couch, which, like slashers, has recently experienced a slight resurgence. Each of the friends chooses a teenager, passes the controller and tries not to die: this is where the game unfolds at its best. I hooked up my computer to a projector and my housemates, including those who think games are pathological, sat down to drink beer. The game “Truth or Dare” made everyone shout “Go ahead, not for publication.” Intentionally messing up a quick event so that the character hits a low-hanging branch in the face. will never be funny. Later, when I was controlling the influencer, she relayed to her Instagram followers, “Will I open the hatch and die a horrible death?” Reader, I opened the hatch when she screamed, “Farewell, cruel world!”

This fun is more important Career Limitations: Its graphics go from nasty to gorgeous, often in the same scene, and the game’s face rendering still doesn’t match the uncanny valley, and the characters’ mouths slide into mouth-watering smirks. It’s also a game that’s not so much scary as funny, and it left me wanting a non-ironic slasher, something really nasty and terrifying, even thoughtful, that uses the same format. Still, Career this is a fantastic party game. This is a reminder of what cruel and scary literature is for – to bring us together.

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