I was in the mood for a good scare last night following my disappointment with Metal Gear Rising: Reveangeance. Don’t ask me why those two things are related. I turned to Amnesia: The Dark Descent’s Justine DLC, Lone Survivor, and the YouTube series Marble Hornets. I also share my thoughts on the new Evil Dead remake.

Justine (pictured above): I put off this DLC for a long time, but after playing Redbarrel’s creepy Outlast, I was in the mood for more first-person scares. Amnesia: The Dark Descent’s free Justine DLC lasts a tight 30 minutes, but that’s if you survive. Dying in the game forces you to restart from the beginning, adding extra tension to the formula. Players control Justine as she sneaks through a twisted series of puzzle rooms, occasionally being stalked by blind abominations. Most of these instances require Justine to either solve a puzzle to save a torture victim, or kill them for an easy way out. You receive different endings following the game’s thrilling climax depending on who is alive by the end. This DLC delivered some of the most memorable scares I’ve experienced in Amnesia, and is a must-play for horror fans. At the very least it will hold you over until Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs comes out. Buy it here.

Lone Survivor: I’ve read great things about this 2D, side-scrolling horror title from last year. At first I doubted the cutesy pixel art could evoke a sense of fear, but I was immediately proven wrong. The unsettling music and sound effects are clearly inspired by Silent Hill, and the effect is instant. There’s an omnipresent sense of dread throughout the game that few modern horror titles manage to nail. I also like how Lone Survivor’s mentally unstable protagonist hallucinates, forcing players to discern what’s real. I need to spend more time with it to be sure, but I’m certain Lone Survivor is worth a look.Check it out here.

Marble Hornets: This one isn’t a video game, but its influence on indie horror title Slender is obvious. A college student is looking for his missing friend, and sifts through old video footage of a scrapped student film, Marble Hornets, to look for clues. Sometimes these brief videos contain nothing but mundane outtakes and audio distortion, other times you can spot a tall, well-dressed figure standing in the distance. Clicking through the 60-plus videos is like the horror equivalent of Pringles – once you pop, you can’t stop. The Slenderman series may be three years old at this point, but it’s still effective. Watch it alone, late at night, on your laptop with headphones on. 

Evil Dead: I also saw the new Evil Dead remake this past weekend. I loved Sam Raimi’s original trilogy, and the original film actually scared me quite a bit when I was younger.  I heard good things about the remake but managed to keep my expectations in check. The first red-band trailer creeped me out with its cringe-inducing, unflinching shots of people being slowly lacerated. I walked away from this Raimi-produced remake happy. It’s not the scariest thing in the world, but it’s the kind of horror film that will make you cringe for a minute straight then chuckle to yourself at the obscene core. The over-the-top violence and potty-mouthed demons evoke the classic Evil Dead vibe, despite the unfamiliar faces in the film and higher budget. The possessed young lady plot point may be played out in modern horror films, but keep in mind this franchise helped the trope evolve. In short, Evil Dead is a gross, fun, and faithful homage to the original films that expands the story in worthwhile ways. 

Anything scare you recently?