This article contains spoilers for Until Dawn.
- Until Dawn’s choice-based mechanics and unpredictable deaths make it a successful and immersive horror game experience.
- The film adaptation of Until Dawn has the opportunity to subvert audience expectations through surprising character deaths.
- The film’s ability to take different directions in terms of character survival could make the experience unpredictable and enjoyable.
Recent years have seen Supermassive Games broaden its impact on the horror game genre with The Dark Pictures Anthology, though the studio’s greatest success is still largely considered to be its jumping off point: 2015’s Until Dawn. The title managed to bring the essence of horror films into an immersive, cinematic gaming experience, subverting players’ expectations through its supernatural twists and terrifying Wendigo threats. Until Dawn holds up well for a number of reasons, not just through the lens of nostalgia, but in how its choice-based mechanics felt substantial to its story; with a number of ways for characters to die prematurely, there was no guarantee that all eight would survive the night.
This conceit begs the question of how the recently announced Until Dawn film adaptation might handle its story and characters’ survival. Already, games have a tough time in the realm of movie adaptations as they work to translate gameplay and characters to the big screen, though a title like Until Dawn provides additional hurdles due to how malleable its story is based on player choice. There isn’t exactly a canon version of Until Dawn‘s story in terms of who gets out of the experience alive, though this versatility could wind up working to the film’s advantage, helping to subvert audience expectation even more than its supernatural reveal.
How The Casting of Frank Stone Can Take Until Dawn, The Quarry’s Core Premise to the Next Level
The Casting of Frank Stone needs to build off the premise of Until Dawn and The Quarry, having the perfect tools to take the formula to another level.
Until Dawn’s Movie Adaptation Has Plenty of Opportunity to Subvert Audience Expectations
The Until Dawn Movie Could Use Surprising Character Deaths to its Advantage
Once Until Dawn establishes its characters and sets up its premise, there’s no longer a guarantee of survival for the majority of the cast. Characters like Sam, Mike, and Josh are invincible for plot reasons until the final chapter, though the others can meet a brutal end before the climactic cabin fire scene. Some of these Until Dawn deaths can result from failing QTEs, while others stem from more direct choices, like deciding to kill Emily after she’s been bitten. The title emphasizes the ‘Butterfly Effect’ in certain instances as well, where innocuous decisions can have dire repercussions down the line.
As a result of Until Dawn‘s dual plot points between Josh’s “pranks” on the group and the reveal of the Wendigos, there’s a good bit of separation between the cast’s experiences. Characters like Jessica bear the brunt of the Wendigo threat, and can die as early as Chapter 4; others, like Until Dawn‘s Sam, Ashley, and Chris, fall prey to Josh’s plan and have to deal with his psychological mind games before becoming aware of the actual dangers that await them. The dynamics between characters like Ashley and Chris and how players go about treating these relationships sets up potential death scenes and betrayals in a way that the film could interestingly emulate, as it’s unclear whether it will adopt the game’s “bad” choices, “good” choices, or a mix between the two.
Until Dawn’s Movie Adaptation Has Many Directions It Can Take
Because of this, there’s a lot of utility in how the Until Dawn film might handle which of its characters survives. Moviegoers who are already familiar with Until Dawn‘s plot might have a general understanding of the plot points that the film will follow, though their expectations can still be subverted by character deaths. Whether the film opts for the “everyone survives” ending will be difficult to predict beforehand, as even in the final moments of the game, one misstep can result in a character being killed. Because the film doesn’t have a definitive outcome that it has to abide by, the directions it can take should make the experience unpredictable in a way that all audiences can enjoy.
While some fans have questioned the need for an Until Dawn movie given the already cinematic nature of the game, the adaptation could still feel distinct from its source material by virtue of who lives and dies. Given the choices that the game presented, players were likely to have different experiences from each other in their character survival rate and information discovered; similar to how Until Dawn promoted replayability to witness different outcomes, the film experience could be exciting even if it tackles the same overarching narrative. As more information comes out regarding the film, it will be interesting to see how the production develops.
- August 25, 2015
- M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
- How Long To Beat
- 8 Hours
- PS Plus Availability
- Extra & Premium