In case you haven’t heard, Hollywood is planning a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie. While this game is one of those phenomenons that’s captured the imaginations and hearts of gamers across the world (my own small children included), it’s a little hard to imagine exactly how they plan to make watching a man close doors for five nights interesting, but you never know. This movie could be it: the big deal, the horror film based on a game that brings back love and respect both for horror movies and movies based on games. Still, there’s a few other games I wish Hollywood had noticed instead. For example…
A reporter, investigating a mysterious asylum in pursuit of a story, finds himself trapped in a psychiatric hospital from hell. The patients aren’t only insane, they’re out for blood, specifically the protagonist’s blood. The doctors are no better, especially the one who cuts off some of the protagonist’s fingers. It doesn’t take much investigative journalism for the protagonist to deduce that some seriously dodgy stuff has been going down, but frankly he’s suddenly not as interested in breaking news as he is in, well, staying the hell alive. Is there a better basic plot for a horror movie? I can’t think of one. Outlast was an absolutely stunning game, and a movie would be a treat for us all – if getting the living daylights frightened out of you is your idea of a good time, that is.
Alone in the Dark
No, I don’t mean the disgrace released in 2005 that actually holds the Guinness World Record for lowest-grossing game based movie. There is no real Alone in the Dark movie in my opinion, and that’s a damn shame. A movie based on the most-recent game (released in 2008) would be nightmarish and horrifying – in a good way of course. And yes, I know there’s already about two million movies about mysterious demonic forces that plan to drag you to hell, but demons and hell are plot elements that pretty much never get old. Besides, who can resist a good old possession-by-Lucifer-himself?
I’m hesitant to put this one in, because the scary little girl in F.E.A.R. is kind of like the scary little girl in basically every horror movie ever (and there are a lot of them – see The Ring for reference). Scary little girls are, well, scary, and I think Hollywood would have a hell of a lot more to work with for the plot of this game than, say, a game about a guy who has to close doors every now and then to stop possessed animatronic bears from killing him. On the other hand, the protagonist’s superhuman reflexes allowing “reflex time” (where everything slows down except for the main character because that’s how fast he’s going) might be a bit too Matrix-y for a movie from this century, but perhaps the nostalgia it’d produce would be a good thing.
You know what the best (or worst) thing about Limbo is? Imagining this poor kid who finds himself trapped in what appears to be the Limbo – the one that, according to the Catholic religion, is said to be the edge of hell. Limbo is psychologically traumatizing, particularly because the protagonist is a small child who should be protected from the nightmares he faces, not killed over and over again in cruel and horribly inventive ways. The best thing about this game is there’s no real closure, not for the boy, not for the sister he’s trying to find, not for the player. All three of you are stuck in Limbo, maybe forever, because even after you stop playing the game it’s the sort that eats away at you. A little bit of back-story, perhaps showing who this boy is, and how he came to be in Limbo, is what could give a movie version of this game that extra punch it needs. Also, giant spiders. Can’t go wrong with giant spiders.
The Binding of Isaac
Okay, so I called Limbo psychologically traumatizing but to be completely honest, The Binding of Isaac is far, far worse. In the Bible, “the binding of Isaac” refers to a time that God tested his prophet Abraham’s loyalty and faithfulness by demanding he sacrifice his own, beloved son Isaac to him. After it’s clear that Abraham was prepared to obey, God intervenes and doesn’t actually allow Abraham to go through with the sacrifice, which is all good and well, if you don’t consider the long-term damaging effects a test like that could have on the father and son involved. And that is what this game is named after, which should tell you everything you need to know about it. Like its namesake, The Binding of Isaac is about a boy named Isaac whose parent is asked, by God, to sacrifice him. Unlike its namesake, the Isaac of the game doesn’t cheerfully submit, but flees into the basement which, because Isaac just can’t catch a break, is filled to brimming with monsters.
The things that happen to this kid make the kid in Limbo seem like he’s just taking a nice, quiet walk through the park, but the game isn’t only about shock and gore. The game tackles some deeply disturbing but important issues, such as child abuse, the possibly negative effects of fanatical religion on a child, suicide and abortion. Conclusion? This game would make one hell of a movie, the only possible drawback being that no movie could properly do it justice.
I’ll admit I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Five Nights at Freddy’s, so maybe I’m not being entirely fair, but I can’t help but think that I’m right about there being better candidates for horror games to turn into movies. These, at least, are the ones I would choose instead of Five Nights. Which would you choose?