Until Dawn (2015) Review

Until Dawn is the first of many choose your own adventure games from Supermassive Games, the game relies on player choices determining who will survive this horror story on the mountains of the Wendigo. The game takes inspiration from the Butterfly Effect a chaos theory where different choices and events will lead to vastly differentiating outcomes.

The game is considered an interactive drama series where players take control of eight playable characters and make decisions which will in turn effect their survival chances and relationships with other characters in the story.

After a horrible prank gone wrong two twin sisters Hannah and Beth go missing during a snow storm on the mountains and are presumed dead after search and rescues teams fail to find them.

One year later the teenage pranksters return to the mountain in remembrance of the girls but soon realise that something dark and sinister is afoot, they are not alone on this mountain and they start to wonder what really happened to their friends who perished on that terrible night!.

The game takes place primarily in four locations the Lodge, the Sanitorium, an old Hotel and the Mines and where each character ends up depends on player choices.

In my personal opinion none of the games locations are all too memorable, nothing about them really stands out although I would make the argument that this does work much more in the games favor than it may seem.

The areas of the game are basic but are all very dark helping to build upon the atmosphere and increase the players fear levels, throughout the entire journey you will be on the edge of your seat not sure if your next decision will end kindly, the Wendigo’s are absolutely terrifying and give you very little chance to escape if they manage to catch you, a shot with a gun will help you knock them back temporarily but the most common and difficult way to survive is to keep absolutely still.

The Wendigo’s are blind and track players by sound, a very clever mechanic in the game uses the dual shock controllers motion sensors to enhance realism during segments where you mustn’t move, players literally need to keep the controller as still as possible and one slight movement can easily lead to death so be careful.

The game is full to the brim with quick time events, I normally hate these in games but they work quite well in this, you don’t get much warning when they appear and if you miss them it can end very badly.

Throughout the adventure there are plenty of collectibles to find most of these are clues to discovering the three in game mysteries, those being what happened to the twins, who is the psychopath and the history of the mountain. You need to find all of the twins clues to save Josh at the end of the game so I would recommend trying to get everything.

Totems are also hidden across the mountain, finding these will show you clues on possible outcomes later on in the game, it can really help you make decisions depending on whether you want to save or kill certain characters.

There are many different way to finish the game, you can choose who lives and who dies leading the multiple outcomes, I had two issues with the game and both were a problem with its replay value, don’t get me wrong the game has plenty of reasons to replay but not being able to skip over cutscenes a second or third time around will get you sick of the story pretty fast and the biggest problem of all is that there is only one ending.

The end of the game is a helicopter shot of your survivors followed by police interviews in the credits, nothing else gets added here and the reason that is a problem is because apart from trophies if there is no additional cutscene or reward why would we want to replay this over and over again?

The game is fun but it is also very slow paced and is a bit of a drag to replay at times, I did this four times in a row to try and get all the trophies and after that I had no intention to put my self through it again and I completely understand that this is a different type of game to what I’m used too but I cant lie about how it made me feel after multiple playthroughs.

Visually the game is terrifying and graphically it holds up really well for a mid life span PS4 game, the dark atmosphere really helps to give you an uneasy feeling from beginning to end and the designers put a lot of effort into graphics helping to again build on realism with the excellent and powdery snow effects, and the slimy and meaty skin of the Wendigos.

The games soundtrack composed by Jason Graves and while very basic it works well for the game, they used an orchestra but remained very quiet only getting louder the closer characters got to a threat, the quietness makes the game feel empty and does help to put players more on edge and when the music does get louder due to it being unexpected it really set me into a panic not quite knowing what was around the corner.

Until Dawn is a game that I have wanted to play for a very long time but have waiting for the right opportunity, thankfully with this being part of the PS Plus game catalogue I finally got the chance and I really enjoyed it, I liked most of the characters and wanted to see them all succeed and the story is so well written, the twist of who the psychopath was really caught me off guard and I had even found all of the clues. The game controlled fine and was a lot of fun my only issue was with my distaste for choices with the replay value but overall I can highly recommend this one to fans of horror and gamers alike 7/10

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Kena: Bridge of Spirits (2021) Review

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an action-adventure game from Ember Lab Studios, it was released in 2021 for the PS4, PS5 and PC

In the game you play as a young spirit guide Kena, she has the important job of helping deceased persons cross from the natural world and into the spirit realm, some of these spirits have become corrupt and have infested the land with demons and toxic elements, throughout her adventure Kena will have to work closely with the creatures called Rot to help free these tormented souls and save both worlds.

The gameplay while simple in its design is very fun, its a 3D platformer at heart with a good mixture of action oriented combat with adventurous terrains and worlds to explore, with the game having a high focus on spirits there is an emphasis on supernatural elements and magic which helps to spice up the gameplay.

Regular combat isn’t anything too special only offering basic light and heavy attacks with the staff but its the Rot, Bombs and Arrows which really bring additional challenge and for me made the combat some of the best parts of my personal journey with Kena.

The Bow of course gave us distanced combat and was useful for hitting further away enemies and those who fly, it could also be used to whip across gaps using special flowers.

The Bombs were particularly cool because not only did they give us a powerful damage attack but they have the ability to interact with certain stones creating timed platforming segments to help progress through areas and find hidden secrets.

The Rot were the best part of the game because not only are they extremely adorable and can be decorated with the sweetest little hats but they also have the ability to help you solve puzzles by carrying items, removing corruption and growing plants, they can also enhance your staff, bow and bomb abilities later on in the game giving them even more uses.

These creatures are only one of the many hidden collectibles in the game, they can be found in many different places but specifically prefer to hide underneath rocks and logs and tucked away inside of small spaces like drawers and plant pots.

Unfortunately with all of the collectibles in the game apart from trophies there isn’t much benefit to finding them with the exception of Rot and the meditations spots (permanently increases Kenas health), The hats while cute don’t offer any upgrades to abilities and the flower shrines only give you more money which can be used to purchase the hats, Spirit Mail sometimes does lead to more rot and do normally come with some cursed chests offering some combat challenges.

The Visuals are just out of this world and easily some of the best we have seen on PS5 so far, the landscape takes high inspiration from the Japanese countryside which fits the narrative of the game really well, on top of this crisp details on everything really enhances the experience, I love the bright colours of the human world making this game stand out even though it shares similar visual designs with other games of the genre, the spirit world uses more darker colours with less detail and again it helps to differentiate the worlds of the game making sure players know where they are at all times.

The soundtrack was composed by Jason Gallaty and is just beautiful, the team travelled to Bali to record traditional Gamelan music for the soundtrack, Gamelan uses bamboo flutes, Xylophones and a Rebab (Bowed instrument) the music is very calming but is adaptable to suit the games more action oriented sections. It is rare that I do not have spotify, an audio book or Youtube on in the background while gaming but this was an exception with a soundtrack so mesmerizing I wanted to let every second of it massage my brain with its artistic melodies.

I loved Kena, its visuals and outstanding soundtrack really helped to enhance my experience, the land was fantastic to explore and I loved all of the different combat sections and boss fights. My only issues with the game is that some of the collectibles dont offer enough to feel worth going out of your way for and finally the lack of a waypoint marker for the map made getting around a little difficult, I had to keep checking the map to see where I was and what direction I was facing, there is an update coming soon so maybe this will be added but overall if you have a Playstation or a good PC I highly recommend this one and will award it a well deserved 9.8/10

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Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time (2020) Review

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is not officially the fourth game in the series but is considered a soft reboot for the remainder of the franchise after Crash Bandicoot Warped with all games coming after that now considered non canon to the official storyline. It was developed by Toys for Bob and Published by Activision. The game was released in 2020 for the PS4 and Xbox One with Nintendo Switch, PC, PS5 and Xbox Series S/X versions being available from 2021 onwards.

After their defeat in Crash Warped, Uka Uka attempts to free himself, Dr Neo Cortex and N.Tropy from the past by opening a rift in time and space. Cortex and N.Tropy manage to escape leaving an unconscious Uka Uka behind.

The two remaining villains soon discover that the rift connects all universes together and they both hire N.Gin and N.Brio to create an army to help them both conquer the multiverse.

Aku Aku soon discovers this great danger and supports Crash and Coco Bandicoot in collecting the quantum masks to help them seal the rifts and prevent the plans of their arch enemies.

As with previous games in the series, the gameplay follows the third person 3D Platforming gameplay from the predecessors by having the camera situated behind the players character and seeing the stage from that perspective instead from the side angle, the traditional time trial challenges return to the game these help players work towards the 106 percent completion but are very challenging and require almost perfect runs.

New additions to the gameplay really help to make this game not only feel more modern but help it to stand out compared to what we were given with the N.Sane Trilogy.

The biggest change in this game is definitely the Quantum Masks which give Crash and Coco additional powers to help them proceed through through specifically designed level segments.

There are 3 masks in the game which swap between stages, Lani Loli allows the ability to phase between specific objects and terrains.

Akano gives the ability to spin for longer periods of time as well as have an additional spin while jumping to help clear long gaps.

Kapuna-Wa is the first female mask to appear in the series, she allows Crash and Coco to slow the pace of time making passing through limited timed segments much easier to bypass, this ability also allows them to jump on the Nitro crates (normally insta-kill) giving them a few seconds to get away before they explode.

Ika Ika allows players to apply a gravitational pull which will allow the ability to walk on ceilings as well as temporarily float over dangerous terrains, although if not turned off quick enough a death from above by being sucked into rift is inevitable.

Players can swap between playing as either Crash or Coco at anytime throughout the game, both characters play the same so the only real difference is who you control, additional costumes unlocked by collecting Gems are awarded for completing specific tasks such as only using up to 3 lives in a stage, collecting certain numbers of Wumpa fruits, breaking all the creates and finding the hidden gem of each level.

Other additional characters who have their own levels and storylines are Tawna, Dingodile and Cortex, each of these play differently and offer a variation to the gameplay.

Tawna uses a whip to hit enemies from a distance as well as cross otherwise impossible gaps, Dingodile uses a vacuum which he can use to defeat enemies and grab TNT crates before launching them and finally Cortex has a transfiguration gun which he can shoot at enemies to change their DNA to evolve them into different platforms (Stone, Bouncy and transparent)

The final new addition to this game is the N.Verted stages, these are the same are the normal stages but mirrored horizontally with interchanging art styles to make them more challenging and a real treat for players looking at replay value, these also count towards the gems so are necessary for 106 completion but have no real affect on the games story minus some of the secret endings you can unlock.

The game is visually cartoony and it works wonders for the art style, like previous games the story isn’t taken that seriously and the use of bright vibrant colours along with artistic choices such as squash and stretch not only helps the characters and cutscenes come to life but the consistent use of the techniques throughout the games stages really makes this a fantastic game to look at and play.

The N.Verted versions of each stage each have a unique visual style and sometimes even affects the pace of levels to add additional challenge, my favourite visual choice is definitely the paint effect where the entire stage is a white canvas but colour is added everytime you spin its very cool and is one of the most creative and unique directorial choices of the entire series so far.

This is surprisingly the most difficult game in the series, even with the modern setting allowing unlimited lives the challenge is brutal, Its hard to pin point why this is but personally I would argue that it could be the powers you use, these small segments are extremely difficult to pull off without precise timings and concentration, the game definitely isn’t for casual play but is not unfairly hard and is very rewarding to finish, those who reach completion should be particularly proud as only few have managed to platinum the game.

The soundtrack is once again absolutely amazing, it carries the upbeat and energetic creativity of the original trilogy, each track fits perfectly into each level and it even uses new versions of older tracks specifically in the VHS retro stages you can unlock by reaching certain point in stages without dying.

Before wrapping things up I need to discuss what I consider to be the biggest issue with the game, aiming for completion is one of the most infuriating things you can ever do and this is due to ridiculously unfair box and gem locations and a need to replay levels multiple times. Each stage holds 6 gems, 3 for collecting Wumpa Fruit, one for breaking all the boxes, another for beating the stage with 3 or less deaths and finally finding the hidden gem, you even need to do the same requirements on each of the N.Verted versions of each level, There are also four hidden coloured gems to find with a final total of more than 400 in the game, on top of this you also have to get the flashback tapes and beat those, collect all of the platinum time trial relics and beat every stage in a perfect run without dying and breaking every box.

For me the worst offender is the fact that after finishing the alternative character stages they throw you back into the second halves of stages you have already played and the box count still needs you to perfect those stages again as well, its pointless replaying of stages when it doesn’t need to be there and just seems to expand the playtime of what otherwise is a fairly short game without any of the of the completion stuff which overall only unlocks secret endings that you could just watch on Youtube.

Crash Bandicoot 4 is easily the best game in the series if you only play the game casually but it is easily the worst for its completion requirements, this is my only real complaint though and if you can look past it then you have a game that is honestly really impressive considering what Toys for Bob had to live up too, rebooting Crash 4 was a big ask and they nailed it by giving us a hilarious adventure with perfect controls, visually entertaining cartoony graphics, gameplay which expands upon its predecessors and another absolute banger of a soundtrack. I loved the new playable characters and the fact that Coco was really included in the storyline, I had a really great time playing this one and I cannot wait for Crash 5 if that ever happens 8.8/10

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Book Review: Carrie by Stephen King

A little bit late so I apologise but it is finally time to discuss the end of the Carrie Saga with the novel which started it all, the book was released in 1974 and was the first published story by Horror writer Stephen King, it sold tremendously well after the first movie adaptation in 1976 and is known to be one of the most banned books in schools due to its violence, underage sex and the use of fowl language and drug use. I will also point out here the use of racism which would be frowned upon today I wont say what the racism was but its context was used to describe how fat someone’s lip was after being punched so you can figure that one out for yourselves!. Times were different when the book was written so while it its still isn’t right we wont be criticising King or the publishers over it.

We are comparing this to the adaptations I have reviewed so there will be heavy spoilers !

Carrie White is a very unfortunate person, she is overweight, covered in spots and is bullied relentlessly by the other girls in her school, in a very famous scene she has her first period (very late) and freaks out while naked in the girls locker room, Chris Hargensen the schools Queen Bee gets all of the other girls to join her in mocking Carrie “Plug it up” they all shout as they begin to pelt the poor child with female sanitary products laughing and cruelly mocking her before they are stopped by the Gym Teacher Miss Desjardin.

This bullying is an everyday occurrence for Carrie and she never gets a break after school she has to face her over religious mother Margaret White who forces her to pray and abuses her power by locking Carrie in a cupboard when she thinks she has sinned, the period is one of these moments as her mother believes that she has turned away from God and committed sexual acts, tasting the forbidden fruit similar to the story of Adam and Eve.

The relentless bullying and abuse causes Carrie to become emotionally distraught eventually leading her to discover a Telekinetic ability she has had passed down from her father, her mother knew about her powers from birth and resents Carrie as she believes she is a curse from God after she committed adultery by having sex before marriage.

Margaret Whites character is given some backstory in the book being outcast by her family due to her intense religious views, she is also described as much older in the book and as we have discussed previously is killed by Carrie stopping her heart. The way this particular murder is written is actually quite creepy with Carrie whispering that she will send her to the darkness to be judged by whatever God she finds there.

Carries powers are explored in more detail in the book including a scene where as a little girl she causes giant rocks to fall from the sky destroying her family home, this was shown in the 2002 TV movie as well which I will give that adaptation some credit for even though I really didn’t enjoy it.

Speaking of characters I wasn’t huge on Sue Snell in the book, there isn’t many differences between her role in the films and the book but in the novel she is definitely a little bit more self-centered and while she is the only girl to feel bad about how she treated Carrie there is definitely a vibe that she only sent Tommy to take Carrie to prom to ease her guilt more than to make Carrie feel less like an outcast.

The prom massacre in this is actually quite quick and a little disappointing considering that she kills almost everyone by electrocution and finishing off the remaining few by setting the building on fire.

Chris Hargensen and Billy’s death is much more satisfying in this similar to the 2013 film the car is lifted from the ground and flung into a building (the road house hotel) and blown to smithereens, both characters in the book are pure evil Billy is a real bastard who beats Chris and even tries to rape her at one point, Chris is known to be quite the psychopathic bully and not only to Carrie, it is mentioned in the book that she once hid a fire cracker in another students show blowing off two of her toes and she only got out of any legal trouble thanks to her fathers position as a very well respected lawyer.

Chris and Billy actually fill two buckets with blood in the book and one is meant for Tommy Ross who neither have any problems with so they only really did this for no reason at all just going to further show how neither of them care for anyone and are just very sickening individuals.

The books ending sees Sue Snell finding Carrie White dying and she holds Carrie in her arms as she takes her final breath, I really liked that the book continued after this to show how the events affected the town having a lot of the store owners taking out insurance claims to give up their shops and the local bar becoming quiet as the town folks are all shaken up after the events of the massacre.

The book also uses a lot of character interviews through police investigations which was a nice touch and it also has chapters from the perspective of other characters such as Sue and Chris.

I really enjoyed this book and struggled to put it down, it is a very easy read due to Kings writing style and how he doesn’t focus on many unnecessary elements, he is telling the story of the events of Prom Night and does an excellent job of documenting this while keeping readers engaged and wanting more.

I have come to the conclusion that the closest adaptation is the 2002 TV movie, it has the most parts from the book but doesn’t offer too much more compared to the 2013 film and we all know which of those I would recommend.

The original 1976 film is still the best way to watch Carrie which is odd because compared to all three movies and the musical it is actually the least accurate with its story telling, my recommendation would definitely be to read the book as it is very good and then watch the 1976 version as that holds up very well on its own and is genuinely an excellent Horror Movie.

I am very eager for some more Stephen King so the next book I will be reviewing is his second novel Salem’s Lot so please look forward to that.

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Cyberpunk 2077 (2020)Review

Cyberpunk 2077 is an open world, action, role playing game set in a futuristic City. In the game players create and personalise a mercenary named V who is on a desperate mission to become the King/Queen of Night City while also trying to remove the personality of long Dead Rockstar Johnny Silverhand from her brain.

The game was developed by CD Projekt Red and Published by CD Projekt, it was released in 2020 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC, the original release was a notoriously broken mess and barely playable, the game was so bad that Sony removed it from their store for 6 months until the game was patched with better development and bug repairs.

In 2022 a free upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S was available for download, this is the version I played which also is the fixed version of the game, I will however keep in mind the original release for my criticisms and final score.

The gameplay is very similar to what you might expect from the Grand Theft Auto series, you play a fairly ruthless character who will break the law relentlessly to get what they want, stealing cars, hiring prostitutes and all out murder, it does add the ability purchase multiple homes and vehicles, it even uses skill trees and body modifications to help increase character attributes and abilities. The skill trees will help you gain more strength, stamina or hacking abilities while the Ripper Docs offer the modifications allowing you upgrades such as a double jump, better scanning, Gorilla strength, armoured skin and so much more.

But one thing this game does amazingly well is that it manages to be LGBTQ+ supportive in its gameplay and character developments.

Throughout the game you get the chance to have a lot of sex including LGBTQ+ you can even start romantic relationships including those of the same sex (My female character was dating another female in the game). During the character development you can be woman with male private parts or vice versa which I believe is in support of the trans community, If that statement is incorrect please educate me as I don’t mean to offend anyone.

I just think its amazing to see a triple A title like Cyberpunk take time to recognise the LGBTQ+ community in a way that isn’t overblown and is accepted as part of the society of Night City, Cyberpunk may have had its problems initially but the way it handles these areas is a testament to how far video games have come over the years.

In 2022 the game plays almost flawlessly, it has good controls and it has a good mix of side missions and other content to keep you coming back, the side missions are really diverse too you could be stealing an artefact in one mission, then aiming to be the city’s boxing champion before trying to come first in a street race

I did experience some problems though, my main gripe was when ever I finished a Johnny Silverhand Segment a blue rectangle would be stuck on my screen until I rebooted the game, another common issue was general crashes while loading missions, again making me reboot the game and hoping for the best when trying again. The game runs well enough but these rare bugs really did get annoying at times, I understand that they did patch the game to fix most of the problems but in reality the game never should have been rushed to release like it was, you shouldn’t sell people a broken product, its practically a scam and the developers and publishers ought to be ashamed of themselves, its all well and good fixing the problems but they never should have been there in the first place.

The game has seven possible endings which I wont go into detail on because of spoilers but each one can be reached depending on player choices throughout the campaign.

The soundtrack is pretty fun, it uses a lot of rock music to fit the atmosphere especially around Johnny Silverhand and his band Samurai, Samurai is actually really good and I’m surprised this isn’t a real band, throughout my college years I listened to a lot of rock music and screamo and this reminded me of those tracks, it was quite nice to get nostalgia like that.

Two years ago I would have told you to stay far away from this game and save your money on a practically unplayable scam and to simply make a point to the developers that gamers wont support this type of disrespect even if they did get Keanu Reeves to play Johnny Silverhand.

However as of now the game has been financially successful and its a long time since that first release, the fixed version of Cyberpunk is one of the most creative and wonderfully directed games I have played in a long time, you tell your own story here and apart from the Johnny Silverhand stuff there isn’t much that keeps you on a single path. The game is open to all types of gamers and celebrates a wide range of communities, it also has a great number of bad ass females in the game to help narrow down that issue with the video game industry as well. Cyberpunk is worth your time and is fairly reasonably priced to pick up cheap, it is also free on Playstation Plus if you want to check it out. I had a blast with the game but I cant give it too much praise, its still broken in some areas and while not to the degree it was previously its still bad enough to effect the flow and take you out of that atmosphere. I think the game is well deserving of a 8 today but this is not the original game that got released so I think a 7/10 is a fair score which a still represents the games past versions but can also celebrate those more playable versions as well.

And to CD Projekt Red I want to ask if you make another Cyberpunk please try and learn from your mistakes, next time I don’t want to be discussing broken releases.

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They made a Carrie Musical?

No I’m not joking they really did try to adapt Carrie into a Broadway Musical and it failed hard.

Inspired by the opera Lulu, Lawrence D. Cohen the original writer of the 1976 movie worked with Michael Gore to adapt his original film script into a musical format. The Musicals went through tons of rewrites before finally hitting the stage in 1988.

The musical was a mess to say the least during multiple Stratford shows technical errors completely ruined the experience for the actors and audiences, Linzi Hateley’s microphone would malfunction because of the blood during the prom massacre, Barbara Cook was almost decapitated by a set piece in the White house living room and multiple songs had to be removed or rewritten before its Broadway release.

During its broadway run Betty Buckley who played the gym teacher in the 1976 film joined the cast. Even after the changes were made the musical was hit with mixed reviews, during the curtain call some actors got booed but standing ovations were given to Linzi Hateley and Betty Buckley who played Carrie and Margaret White. Even with fully sold out shows the financial backers pulled out after only 16 previews and 5 performances, the show cost more the 7 million dollars and is now forever known as one of the biggest f*ck ups in broadway history.

The show did get various re productions over the years although with a much smaller budget but it never hit broadway again and unless you are a lover of the theatre most people still don’t realise that this even existed.

So here’s a special treat, I’ve only managed to find a copy of the original Stratford recording on YouTube and best part is it’s the one were the blood clogs the microphone!

So without further ado please join me in watching the original Carrie the Musical

I apologize for the video quality due to this being recorded in 1988, but it is really cool that we got to watch this version and to be honest I really enjoyed the show and I don’t really understand what the big deal is?

The show is a lot of fun and has a great cast that all give off heartfelt and emotional performances, the highlight of the show was definitely the relationship between Carrie and Margaret White, of course unlike most media domestic and emotional abuse is quite hard to portray in a musical, but as the two duet the atmosphere is hauntingly beautiful and at times will chill you to the bone.

The rest of show is pretty high pace and loud, I think this might be one of the biggest issues regardless I really enjoyed the show but I think the majority of it is maybe a tad too energetic for this story, it doesn’t feel right and is out of place in a sad tale such as this. The majority of musical numbers are a good listen but are also forgettable and don’t have you looking them up on music providers afterwards.

The outfits are also quite bland and forgettable none stand out enough to leave an impact. The choreography is wild and a little bit too in your face at times but is one of the more memorable directorial choices, the acts between Chris and Billy are where this really shines like a sadistic ballet, its sexual, sensual and absolutely brilliant.

The grand finale of the show was a little lacking but that was to be expected on stage compared to film, the prom night massacre happens under a red light with very little visibility and is over very fast, the final act is all a bit disappointing but overall the show was pretty good and I wouldn’t mind seeing the original version re-designed and updated, I see a lot of potential in this show and it is a shame that it never worked out, I’ve seen worse shows than this and those were successful which only leaves me forever puzzled with this production and the negative response it garnered.

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The Carrie Remakes 2002 Vs 2013

Well here we go back to the original story and this a back to back review of both Carrie Remakes starting with the 2002 TV movie directed by David Carson and starring Angela Bessis in the title role.

The movie uses police interviews after the events of the massacre, I have been told that this is very similar to the book but we will find that out when I read it.

The movie is pretty weird in areas there is a flash back scene where a younger Carrie causes meteorites to fall from the sky and attack her mother’s house and the effects are pretty awful as to be expected on a low budget TV film, I am assuming this is in the book as it would probably come across as less silly on paper, another interesting fact about this scene is that it was originally meant to be in the 1976 film but was cut.

The opening credits also used the meteorites CGI so the developers must have been quite proud of the effect. One CGI choice I did like however was the furniture floating around Carrie as she anxiously waited for Tommy to pick her up for the prom, it helped to portray her feelings during this buildup and was just a nice to touch in general.

Alongside the bad effects the movie is riddled with bad acting performances, the majority of the cast seem bored when delivering their lines and when they do try to portray more emotional dialogue most of the time it comes across as forced.

The movie takes place in modern 2002 so internet, computers, CCTV and mobile phones are seen and used throughout the film, a nice choice in my opinion as it helps the movie differentiate itself from the original.

Our two main baddies Chris and Billy are this time played by Emilie de Ravin and Jesse Cadotte, de Ravin does a decent job but Cadotte’s version of Billy was just a little bit psychotic for me he gave a very over the top performance which in parts reminded me of Jared Leto’s abysmal attempt at the Joker.

A performance I did actually enjoy in the movie was the portrayal of Margaret White. This time around played by actress Patricia Clarkson who did a fantastic job of the overbearing mother without chewing the scenery too much and while she is not as good as in the 1976 movie I feel she needs some credit here.

I’m on two pages when it comes to the prom massacre in this movie, some parts are actually quite creative, I enjoyed director choices such as having Carrie move the water away from herself when she electrocuted the gymnasium, also shots of people trying to escape in various ways was a great choice, we had people trying to break though windows, climbing up ropes and even trying to crawl through the ventilation system although none of this really worked, apart from this the kills were quite uninspired and happened way too quickly, apart from one or two people everyone died from electrocution. It didn’t help that Angela Bessis couldn’t pull off the fear factor in her facial expressions and again just looked a bit bored a major issue throughout the majority of this adaptation

I loved that Carrie continued after the prom to massacre the entire town even though the effects were really bad it was nice to see her destruction continue further on from what seen in the original film. Also Chris and Billys death is much more satisfying by having them crushed to death with the car being wrapped around a tree.

Overall I didn’t like this one too much but as I mentioned it does have some good qualities especially in its creativity and story telling and it’s just a shame about how boring the film is before that final massacre but from my research a lot of major fans of Kings work prefer this version overall. In the end of the movie Carrie actually survives as this was meant to lead into a TV series but due to bad ratings that never happened and to be honest I’m glad to just move into the 2013 remake to see how that holds up. There has been word on the street that a new Carrie mini series is in the works so we can discuss that when and if it ever happens

2013 gave us the most recent film adaptation of Carrie and this time starring actress Chloe Grace Moretz.

I won’t go over much of the plot here as unfortunately this version doesn’t offer much new material that we haven’t seen in the 1976 and 2002 movies and while that isn’t a bad thing it does make the film kinda pointless.

Carries birth is worth mentioning as a great opening scene with Margaret White, this time played by Julianne Moor attempting to stab the newborn with scissors of course she fails but it is left up to the audience to decide whether this was a change of heart or baby Carrie using her telekinesis.

Moretz is far to pretty to play Carrie White in my opinion and while I do really admire her as an actress she doesn’t do too well in this, she does come across as bit of an outcast but her performance wasn’t genuine enough for me to consider it one of her best.

Moretz and Moor to work really well together in this film mostly due to changes made to Margaret Whites character, in this version she isn’t so crazy and abusive towards Carrie but has genuine love for her and does show that she cares. She does still lock her In the closet and blame her period on Sin so the warped religious views are still present but in much less violent ways.

Speaking of good duo’s the characters of Sue and Tommy are a great mix here as well, this was the only movie to really show more of their relationship on screen, there is a wonderful moment when the two are discussing how bad Sue feels after she mistreated Carrie White and Tommy goes on to explain how he was horrible to someone once to try and make her feel better. In fact it’s actually Tommy in this movie who convinces Sue that she should try and make it up to Carrie since Carrie had never done anything bad to deserve how she was treated .

I have mixed feelings on Chris and Billy in this movie and when you look past the over the top sadistic qualities in the characters there isn’t much left that stands out. Portia Doubleday and Alex Russell give much more villainous portrayals of the characters especially Chris who has the stomach to slice open the pigs throat and actively encourages Billy to try and kill Carrie White before both characters demise but apart from this there isn’t much to differentiate them from other versions of the characters and they are quickly forgettable especially when compared with the superior 1976 movie.

One thing I can say that the 2013 version does better overall is the final prom night massacre. This whole sequence which was a mixture of CGI and physical effects is fantastic, the kills are more creative and it shows Carrie White as more in control of her powers especially when she chooses to save the gym teacher and of course Sue Snell right at then end of the movie.

The kills are some of best we have seen in the Carrie movies having people crushed by bleachers, Tina Blake catching on fire and of course the amazing kill of Chris and Billy which has Carrie crack open the road, Smash Billy’s face into the steering wheel and lift up the car before dropping it and sending Chris flying into a gas station which traps her face in the broken glass of the windscreen before blowing up the gas tanks for good measure!

Carrie 2013 is a very similar adaptation to the original film and apart from a few changes especially in its characters and finale it is definitely an unnecessary money grabbing remake. I did however really enjoy the movie, the actors all did a great job and in some areas I actually prefer this one, the kills are more satisfying and the relationships seem more realistic, even though I haven’t read the book yet I am well aware that the 2002 version is the most accurate adaptation of the original story and for a lot of people that why they vastly prefer that film over both of the others but for me 2013 is definitely the better remake if not simply because I never got bored with it and I would quite happily watch it again, it wasn’t a masterpiece but it did a decent job and could have been a fantastic piece of cinema if they remade the TV movie to give us a more enjoyable adaptation that had more in common with Kings book.

I would still choose the 1976 film with Sissy Spacek over both movies but if I had to re-watch a remake for me its 2013 all the way.

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The Rage:Carrie 2 (1999) Review

The Rage: Carrie 2 is an unexpected sequel to say the least considering that the original story never had a continuation.

The film had originally began as a completely independent film but after the studio noticed the similarities to the 1976 film it lead to it being redeveloped as a sequel with returning actress Amy Irving reprising her role as Sue Snell.

In the movie the new lead is named Rachel and she is seeking out revenge on a group of School Jocks whose cruel game of sleeping with the most girls lead to the suicide of her best friend.

The casting for the movie is definitely one its highlights the entire cast is a lot of fun on screen and I think the choice of taking this movie much less seriously than the original definitely works in its favour.

Our lead actress Emily Bergl is fantastic in her performance, she is really good at showing emotion and realism in her role. She manages to handle the female taking revenge on men much better than I have seen in other similar films of that genre.

Emily Bergl having an intense interaction with Amy Irving (left) in a scene from the film ‘The Rage: Carrie 2’, 1999. (Photo by United Artists/Getty Images)

The return of Sue Snell was a nice touch and I think making her the school psychiatrist was a really good choice as it makes sense since she obviously would have had psychiatric help herself due to her nightmares after the events of the 1976 prom.

Another great detail added to this movie was that the telekinesis Gene that came from the father of both Carrie and Rachel, the mention of Ralph White was appreciated because it made it more believable that both girls could display the same powers.

One thing I really didn’t enjoy though was the weird black and white edits that were thrown in during occasional moments when Rachel was using her Telekinesis, I first thought that maybe this was meant to represent what she sees when using the power but this theory soon didn’t make any sense because in other moments the powers were used without the Black and White filters.

I also thought it was a bit cheap to make the mother crazy, this only really showed even more similarities between the two movies.

When you think about it they are almost the exact same film, a female with telekinetic powers and a crazy mother uses her abilities to take revenge on her high school bullies..

There is a love interest in this movie who isn’t encouraged to pursue Rachel, this is Jesse who is played by Jason Landon. Jesse wasn’t a particularly memorable character but I did enjoy seeing someone who was actually decent as person in one of these movies.

Yes the first movie did have the Gym teacher who showed care for Carrie but the difference with Jesse is that he actually thought highly of Rachel because of her personality and did genuinely have a romantic connection with her.

My biggest issue with the film is actually something that really bugged me and that was Rachel. It wasn’t her character that bothered me, she came across as fairly normal and actually quite cool which begs the question why would she be bullied or even so despised in the film.

Nothing about her character gives any reason what so ever why she would be targeted and again I have to compare with the 1976 film. Carrie White was odd and shy, she didn’t have a clue about the real world and came across as weird it made sense why she was bullied, it still wasn’t right for her to be tormented and cruelly bullied but you could in a way understand why she was, but with Rachel its just a bit dumb and they should have done something with her character to make this aspect of the film more realistic.

The Rage: Carrie 2 left me surprised because honestly I dreaded watching this and I thought it would awful but you know what its actually pretty decent It does not hold handle to the original but if you can look past how unnecessary it was to make this, it is quite a fun time and not once was I bored, the actors all do a great job and again this is taken much less seriously making for a decent popcorn flick to watch with friends just for the heck of it.

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Carrie (1976) Review

Welcome to my first ever Stephen King deep dive, over the next few weeks we will be discussing his first story Carrie by reviewing the original movie, the films sequel, the two remakes, the failed Broadway musical and finally the original novel!.

The only version I won’t be discussing is the Riverdale Special as I have never seen the show and if I do ever watch and review the series I will discuss that version then.

I am going to begin this series starting with the first adaptation of the novel and ending on a review of said book this will allow me to actually read through the story but also to have lots of material to look back on when I review it and to have a better picture of how accurate the various versions are to Kings.

This is the first film adaptation of any of Kings books it was released only two years after the original publication and is actually the preferred version of the story by King, in fact he actually has started that he thinks that it is better than his novel.

The film really is excellent mainly due to its cast and the directors decisions for specific camera shots and realistic effects

Carrie was portrayed by Sissy Spasek who had to be convinced to go for the role by her husband, another prominent actress in the film Amy Irving was originally chosen but was swapped with Sissy Spasek who was more comfortable with being naked on camera. She is also terrifying at the end of the movie when she gets her revenge.

Irving was instead given the role of Sue Snell originally a bully of Carrie who sees remorse in her actions and tries to make up for it by asking her boyfriend Tommy to take Carrie to the prom.

In the movie Carrie is portrayed as a shy girl who hasn’t been made ready for the real world, the scene where she gets her first period and doesn’t know what it is and panics thinking that she is being punished by god is very well done, it gets us rooting for Carrie in the films closing moments due to how the girls treated her in that scene.

The main villains in the movie are Chris and Billy played by Nancy Allen and John Travolta in his first major film role. These guys are pure evil and while the other girls are also really horrible it’s Chris that is the main leader who sets up the awful plan to drench Carrie in the pig blood during the Prom, Billy plays along and actually beats a pig to death to get the blood which is really messed up and leaves viewers with no remorse for these characters when Carrie fights back.

Carries mother is a religious nut played by Piper Laurie, she has brought Carrie up with Bible and has forced her to pray and obey the laws of god, one of the main reasons she does this is actually due to a fear of her daughter becoming evil, Carrie was born with the ability of telekinesis a power to move things with her mind. These powers only really come out when Carrie is in an emotional state of mind so in her mother’s eyes shielding Carrie from sin is the best way to help prevent Carrie from going to hell.

The movie is really good and while at times it can seem a little bit silly in its premise, it manages to maintain a serious tone and leave a feeling of uneasiness and chills.

There really isn’t much I can criticize with this one, I would say I wish the school was portrayed a little more alive, perhaps with more background actors to help fill the scenes as it does seem rather small for what is meant to be a High School but apart from that this is a perfect horror film in my eyes and if you haven’t seen it or are a fan of pychological horror then Carrie from 1976 is definitely a movie to check out!

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Ghostwire Tokyo (2022) Review

Ghostwire Tokyo is a 2022 Action, Adventure/Horror game developed by Tango Gameworks and Published by Bethesda, it was released in March 2022 for PC and PS5 as a timed exclusive, it will be coming to other systems at a later date.

The game begins with a ghost KK desperately crossing a spirit ridden and desolate Tokyo City, the Human Race has been been turned into spirits thanks to a mysterious fog. KK finds an unconscious human who is yet to be hit by the fog and possesses his body.

The Human wakes up in complete control of his body minus his right hand, this human is named Akito he is saved from becoming a spirit thanks to his possession but he now has to help KK defeat the fogs mastermind Hannya in order to return the city back to its usual form. Akito agrees as long as he can check in on his little sister Mari in the local hospital, when Akito arrives unfortunately Hannya beat him to it and takes Mari’s comatose body away to perform a ritual giving Akito more reason to save the city and hopefully his last remaining family member as well.

The game is open world and allows players to explore a large chunk of Tokyo City, but with vast amounts of land to explore this also means there are plenty of enemies that will try to prevent you from surviving as you traverse across the eeire and ghost ridden city.

There are many different ways to destroy these specters from shooting them with arrows to stealing their spiritual cores, by far the best means of attack is the Dr Strange like magic you can cast. There are three main elemental spells in the game Wind, Water and Fire. You can build these powers up via your skill tree, wearing spiritual bracelets or by finding the Jizo statues.

Speaking of Jizo statues they are one of many collectibles in the game, the side content makes up the bulk of the game considering that without it the main campaigns story would be extremely short.

Compared to the main campaign the side content doesn’t differ too much in fact its more of set list of things to find around the city than it is anything all too interesting. Now of course I am not referring to the side missions in that statement which can be fun but again there isn’t really anything that stands out about them.

Throughout my play through I had the most fun trying to find the hidden tanuki’s, an ongoing mission in the game where red pandas have disguised themselves as everyday objects across the city. It was also one of the only collectibles that offered a reward for completing it that being a tanuki costume.

Visually the game is stunning, it primarily takes place at night and uses the dark and emptiness of the abandoned city to its advantage. Not only can we really appreciate the vast area we can freely explore in the game but the smaller details in its graphics such as light reflection in the water and the use of different textures to increase realism such as adding shine to cars or glow effects on the billboards really helps to make the games visuals one of the best parts of the game and offers a realistic and creepily beautiful city to explore, in fact this is the main reason why I stuck around to commit to the side content as I really was left in awe at the games graphics.

Also I have had my Tokyo vacation pushed back by two years so perhaps I made the most of visiting Tokyo virtually, it does leave me wondering how accurate the actual city the maps are in the game but I suppose I will find that out when I can eventually visit.

The game plays fine and is genuinely really fun to explore but there are things I want to touch upon in a more critical light. First of all there are way too many spirits to collect in the game and they are spread out sometimes in very well hidden places, in all there are 240,300 in the game with each spirit giving you around 100 each time and by that logic then in reality there are still 2403 you need to save. Saving all the spirits does give you some story dialogue but no cutscenes and to my knowledge no rewards but trophies and bragging rights.

My final criticism is also related to the spirits, when you get a cluster of spirits you have to perform a ritual by running your fingers across the touchpad (mouse on PC) or the analog control stick, I could never get this to work and I don’t know if its the PS5 version that has calibration issues or it was just me, thankfully there is an option to just have K.K do it for you which I did eventually choose to do each time, I didn’t notice any repercussions from doing the rituals this way but I still had problems trying to do this the way the game intended, did anyone else have this problem on PS5?

Music

The games composition fits the tone perfectly, all of the music is eerie and simple, its has an empty feeling of sorrow and being lost, the sounds used help to build on the atmosphere of death and being in another world, while walking the desolate streets of Tokyo with nothing but ghosts to keep you company is something this soundtrack pairs with perfectly to help create realism and a feeling of uneasiness.

Overall I really enjoyed this game and I think it has alot going for it as a starting point in this series. The story is outstanding and takes clear inspiration from Japanese Manga and anime, I also really enjoyed the obvious call back to Japanese and pop culture creepypastas and folklore, there are clear inspirations in the enemy designs to the Slender Man, Ningyno, Yahiki Warashi, Tanuki. Yuki Onna, Tengu, Kappa, Oni and Kuchisake-onna among many more.

Visually the game is absolutely stunning and its perfectly crafted soundtrack is one of the most unique examples of how less can mean more especially when you are trying to imply certain feelings and emotions to match the atmousphere.

The only real issues I had were of course the spirits which I previously mentioned and that game feels repetetive throughout, there isn’t much to mix up the gameplay and at times it can drag a little bit but apart from that we have a great starting point here for what I believe could be the next big franchise. The PS5 version did not sell as well as it did on PC but the PC sales are definitely a telling sign that a possible sequel could be coming in the future, the game ends on a cliff hanger which would lead into a second game but it is cleverly directed to be a nice closing scene if a sequel wasn’t to happen as well.

The game is pretty cheap at the moment only costing £30 brand new, so if you get chance to pick a new game I would recommend considering this one as a cheap pick up worth it for the story and call backs to folklore alone 6.7/10

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