Yes, you can pet the dog in the Blair Witch video game.
October 19, 2019 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Blair Witch [YouTube][Game Trailer] “Blair Witch, the video game, is terrifying. Developed by Bloober Team, the studio behind Layers of Fear, Blair Witch is a mosaic of modern tropes culled from the most nightmarish horror games of the past decade. It has a camcorder mechanic, a lot like Outlast; it uses a flashlight as a demon deterrent, à la Alan Wake; it uses puzzles to push the story forward, like Resident Evil; and, at least in one section, it places the player inside a maze-like house with cramped, shifting hallways, similar to PT. This is all wrapped up inside another familiar franchise, and sprinkled with Bloober Team's flair for frenetic psychological thrills. The end result is a comforting kind of horror game. It's familiar in some ways, and therefore inviting, but there's still a violent and mysterious monster lurking in the trees, behind the door, down the hall. And when it pounces, the panic is immediate.” [via: Engadget]

• I’m only into the Blair Witch game because of my very good dog [Polygon]
“My attention is focused entirely on one thing when I play Blair Witch: Bullet. Bullet is my helpful in-game dog, and the German shepherd is my first and last line of defense out in the middle of the Black Hill Forest. He finds clues, warns me when I’m on the wrong path, and growls at creatures in the woods so I can mount a defense. I also spend what is likely an excessive amount of time stroking his fur and cooing at him. He is a very good dog. Bullet is the emotional core of Blair Witch, and most of the game’s mechanics rely on his skills. Technically, the protagonist is Ellis, a former cop with a troubled past ... but Ellis is just along for the ride. I’d turn the game off and give up on the story, were it just Ellis and me in the woods. I’m here for Bullet now, and I’m rooting for him to make it out alive. If Ellis were to survive that would be nice too, I guess. [...] I’m more concerned about the long-term consequences of how I treat my good dog. The game warns me that my relationship with Bullet will alter his behavior — and my story — later in the game. Knowing that raises the stakes considerably. First, I cannot risk any plan that leads to Bullet leaving me behind. Bullet is the only reason I’m not constantly lost, murdered, or stuck on a side path somewhere. Secondly, why would anyone ever want to be mean to Bullet?”
• Blair Witch is a horror game that really feels like getting lost in the woods [The Verge]
“There are lots of video games based on the illusion of choice, full of spaces designed to invisibly nudge players toward a goal. Blair Witch, a game set in the same world as iconic horror film The Blair Witch Project, makes the illusion explicit — then promises you ways to exploit it. It’s a fitting, fascinating, yet often self-defeating idea. I want to play Blair Witch over and over. I also never want to see it again. [...] Blair Witch’s story isn’t bad, but it was barely compelling enough to pull me through once, let alone twice. (Ellis’ life has been a grueling cavalcade of bloody, guilt-inducing screwups, and the Blair Witch is ready to drag him — and you — through all of them.) There’s one great exception: I filled a crucial gap in the plot by receiving an enigmatic text message about a padlock in the game that I could no longer access, then remembering the combination on a second playthrough. Again, though, I’m not sure if I was supposed to play the game this way — or if I just missed something my first time around. These choices are the real enigma in Blair Witch. I don’t care that much about what happened to Ellis before he came to the forest; I care about what could happen to him inside it, and the role that I could play. And the game came so close to pulling me toward an answer — only to leave me lost in its maze.”
• Lumpy horror that has its fair share of scares [Eurogamer]
“This place is terrifying; it's pitch black, my torch is useless (why do horror game protagonists carry such shite flashlights?), and when my canine buddy and I started this stroll, the camera panned out to show a very disquieting symbol stamped irrevocably, if surreptitiously, onto the footprint of Black Hills Forest. Also, we're in Burkittsville, Maryland, home of the infamous Blair Witch. As anyone familiar with the movie(s) knows, she's not known for her hospitality (although to be fair, she'll cheerfully invite you in - just mind the corners). In many ways, this Blair Witch horror game is every bit as terrifying as you might be expecting. The woods are dark and confusing, full of twisted trees and rotten roots, secret whispers, and spooky totems. Sometimes a pathway will pull you back to where you started in a way that defies all logic and geography. You'll move between times and places that shouldn't co-exist, losing all sense of time and reality. Sometimes an old videotape can inexplicably manipulate the real world, pulling objects out of thin air, or sometimes it will show you something the naked eye alone cannot perceive. Sewn together, they're an evocative patchwork of sensory spooks that emulate the crushing claustrophobia and terror of the (good) movies thanks to its stunning visuals and masterful use of sound.”
posted by Fizz (10 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Does the dog die?
posted by Quackles at 6:51 PM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

The game is too everettian for death
posted by Dumsnill at 6:57 PM on October 19, 2019

Finally, a video game that captures the existential dread I feel when I'm in Maryland.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:57 PM on October 19, 2019 [13 favorites]

Hey cool, I just went and saw The Blair Witch Project in theatre and the producer, Greg Hale, was there and did a Q&A!
posted by gucci mane at 8:03 PM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

"You know these woods are haunted right?"

"I did not! Thanks for the heads up!"

*runs in opposite direction*
posted by gwint at 9:12 PM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

*runs in opposite direction*

...and end up where you started because you ran in a circle.

really, the original movie is worth watching, even if the sequel was bogus and its thunder has been stolen by innumerable faux-found-footage wannabes
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:36 PM on October 19, 2019 [5 favorites]

This isn't something I'd need a CDROM to enjoy, is it?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:30 AM on October 20, 2019

really, the original movie is worth watching, even if the sequel was bogus and its thunder has been stolen by innumerable faux-found-footage wannabes

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is not good, but the sequel in 2016, the self titled Blair Witch, does hold up. It has some updated story beats and some creepy special effects that me and my wife both appreciated. It was a fun sit on the couch and hide behind a pillow kind of film.
posted by Fizz at 7:55 AM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is not good

Totally agree. But it has its moments: the battling tour guides, a moment of self-awareness in the film, and the confusion about how this big old tree is in the living room. The film petered out after that, but the start was interesting.

the sequel in 2016, the self titled Blair Witch, does hold up

I appreciated the technological update to the story. The bodycams, the GPS, the drone: this makes the "found footage" aspect of the story more real. They made a mistake at the end, "showing the witch," which irritated me. But it wasn't bad.

CAUTION: DO NOT PLAY THE DIRECTOR'S COMMENTARY FOR THIS FILM. God! It's just two guys moaning about how they didn't make box office. They literally assume that anyone listening to the commentary is hate-watching the film. It's disgusting.
posted by SPrintF at 12:36 PM on October 20, 2019

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is not good

I found it works slightly better if you try not to think of it as a Blair Witch sequel. Still a deeply flawed film that was little more than a money grab, but the inversion of found footage horror was an interesting premise.

I played the game, mostly because (a) I will play or watch damn near anything horror (as evidenced above) and (b) it was on Xbox Game Pass so I could play it on Win10 for $5. Bullet the dog was definitely the best part of it and (mild spoiler) not only *can* you pet the dog, you really *should* if you want a marginally better ending. Mostly what I remember is wandering in circles for a ridiculously long time, ending up back at the same goddamn tree every time, so they really nailed that aspect of the source material at least.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 9:53 PM on October 20, 2019

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