Archive for insane asylum

Review: Outlast & Outlast: Whistleblower DLC (Video Game)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

Dev/Pub: Red Barrels
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS
Release Date: September 4, 2013 (DLC: May 6, 2014)


Outlast Original Game:

You are a journalist armed with a camcorder who is investigating an insane asylum after you were given leads that would indicate abuse and neglect of patients, among other possible atrocities. You wander into the hospital, only to find murderous scenes before you. Hoping for the best, you continue on and soon learn that the whole institution has become a bloody shit show, complete with viscera and entrails strung about the place. The threats are abundant and smarter than you’d think.

As you traverse this gruesome landscape, your senses are almost constantly assaulted with screams, yells, creeks, eerie music, drips and drops, grunts and groans or the blood, gore, body parts, destroyed hallways, random medical equipment, fires, notes written on the wall and all the disturbing information you read about in the files you pick up as you go. It’s dark, dirty and deeply disturbing. As if finding body parts or bodies in various stages of ripped up or dissected aren’t bad enough, sometimes they are still alive, which obviously indicates experiments on living inmates. There isn’t a single thing about this game that isn’t a true horror show.

Outlast is by far one of the most terrifying video games I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The ambiance, the graphics, the twists and turns, the gore, and the dialog are all terrifying. Even for an older game, the graphics are haunting. I can’t tell you how many times I jumped, cried out and had issues sleeping. You can’t fight, you can only run, hide, or die. You’re equipped with just your camcorder, which you can use to zoom in and out. However, it is mostly used for the night vision (as long as you have batteries), helping you maneuver the maze of the nearly destroyed hospital which is mostly in pitch black.

If you are interested in playing this game, sit down because you have hours of gameplay to get through. This isn’t a quick game. It is a well thought out series of mind fucks, high tension, and not always random creepy music. The best part is that not everyone you run into is hostile, but good luck telling the good from the bad and holy crap are they creepy as fuck. You couldn’t pay me enough to do any of this crap.

This game has more elements than I could even do proper justice. It isn’t just about insanity, it is far more complicated. Initially, I went in thinking that insanity was all that was offered; however, there are parts of the story that dabble in the supernatural and scientific. Those lines felt blurred to me, though, and – please correct me if I am wrong – the ending felt weird. It was as if the story that you followed most of the way through was a strong misdirection and the actual story wasn’t explained until the very end of the game. The story made the beginning part of the game… moot, pointless.

I am torn about the ending. It wasn’t a bad ending by any means, but a little confusing. I think that it could have been integrated into the story better instead of being slapped on at the end. That being said, it is a phenomenal game that you have to play. It’s well put together with amazing game mechanics, interesting twists and turns, and enough terror and jump scares to give you some sleepless nights. Simply a wonderful and enjoyable game.


Outlast: Whistleblower DLC:

If you didn’t think that Outlast could get better or more grotesque, I have news for you. The Whistleblower DLC tells you the story behind Waylon Park, the gentleman who sent you the original email in the first place. You get to see everything that happened after that email was sent and is it an amazingly crazy ride. I won’t delve too much into it, but here is what I will tell you.

The story continues to be amazing and a treat to experience. You run into new and old characters throughout the gameplay. It is definately worth the price; it adds so much to the game, which is what you look for in a DLC. I actually walked away from this DLC with a sour stomach, which is so hard, but there are a few scenes that even made me cringe, and for good reason. Actually, I think not cringing says more about you than it does the game, but not as much as the person who thought it all up. My mind was blown on more than one occasion.

I cannot stress enough how much this DLC added to the game and could have almost been a stand alone game itself. If you played Outlast without the DLC, you are seriously missing out! Now I’m going to scrub my brain with bleach.



Review of The Purgation (2015)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2015 by Xander Woolf

Written and Directed by Elaine Chu; Starring: Tiffany Kieu, Kat Johnston
Winner of the Best Feature Award at the Los Angeles Independent Artist Film Festival

Today, I have a special treat for you all. It is my pleasure to finally share with you my review of the final cut of The Purgation. Written and directed by Elaine Chu, this film follows Iris’ search for answers about an abandoned insane asylum where a tragic accident befell her and her friends when they were children. Throughout her investigation, Iris (Kieu) struggles with flashbacks of the traumatic incident, as well as her grasp on reality. In order to gain clarity and move forward with her life, she must confront her past and return to the asylum.

This film is an excellent portrayal of the veil between this world and the next. The theme of sane vs insane is very apparent throughout. There are many symbols within The Purgation that strengthen this theme, but it all boils down to the perception of the two main characters. Iris can see that there is something unusual happening in Black Falls, but her foil, Eddie (Johnston), can only see the unraveling of a broken mind.

The script is amazingly chilling at times and, paired with the score, can cause goosebumps. Between a terrifying rendition of the Lord’s Prayer and a demonic voice promising your descent into hell, this script is bound to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. The employment of symbolism is very well done. The use of God and Christian imagery, usually represented by the character of Marlene (Kate Dauphin, Martina D’Ovidio), shows that an idea, no matter how real it is perceived, can be comforting in times of crisis. While Iris struggles with her grasp on reality, Marlene explains that, sometimes, the imaginary can be better than reality. Overall, I would say it is very well written.

The acting is also superb. Tiffany Kieu is able to capture Iris’ descent into madness perfectly while Kat Johnston is amazing at being the down-to-earth, maternal figure that Iris needs to stay grounded. Kieu’s performance was emotional and genuine, really making the audience believe Iris’ struggle. Johnston’s performance was just as genuine and nuanced, creating a very real distinction between Eddie’s sanity and Iris’ insanity. The rest of the cast does a terrific job at being either intensely terrifying or incredibly helpful, respectively.

All in all, The Purgation is one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. Having seen it in different stages of post-production, I am very happy with the final cut. It definitely deserves its win for Best Feature from the Los Angeles Independent Artist Film Festival. Once it is officially released, I highly recommend that you see this film.

UPDATE 11/8/2015: Elaine Chu’s The Purgation is to be played at Regal Cinema LA Live in Los Angeles for one night only on November 8, 2015. After this run, the movie will be available for VOD early 2016. For more information and to keep updated about the film’s official release, you can visit their Facebook page or their website.

There’s no place like Hell.