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The Evil Within (2014) | History of Horror

Pierce Turner

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Welcome to Spinnaker’s History of Horror. Here we will be taking a look back at everything spooky in both film and video games and analyze how horror has evolved over the last century. Check back at unfspinnaker.com every day for a new installment!

We’re nearing the end of History of Horror and it’s easy to get caught looking back and reflecting on what we’ve seen. Those sure were good times in Texas Chainsaw Massacre when Leatherface chased those kids. Man, the zombies in Romero’s Dead Trilogy sure were frightening. Phew, exploring the spooky mansion in “Resident Evil” and being stalked by Pyramid Head in “Silent Hill 2” was fun. Wait a minute! I’m not looking back at all! I’m just looking at “The Evil Within”, a veritable “greatest hits” of the horror genre!

I don’t feel very “safe.”

Yes, “The Evil Within” is the culmination every horror game (and several movies) that came before it. It’s fitting because it’s directed by Shinji Mikami, the director of the original “Resident Evil” (that game that started survival horror), and “Resident Evil 4”, (the best game ever made [shut up, maybe I WILL marry RE4]). He takes ideas and themes from his past games, but he also borrows heavily from pretty much everything scary you can think of.

It plays almost exactly like RE4, with an over-the-shoulder aiming style. You mostly face zombie-ish enemies but there’s also a boss with a safe as a head (very reminiscent of Pyramid Head), a crazy man with a chainsaw (like RE4 or Texas Chainsaw), and a lady with long black hair (like The Ring or “White Day”). They come with just about every scary environment ever. A shanty village, a mansion, a mental asylum, sewer, the DMV, you name it.

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But how does all of this come together? Well…it doesn’t, at least not well. The story is a mess; you enter the mind of a psychopath and his thoughts conjure up all of these scary things. It’s ridiculous but it gets the job done when coming up with an excuse to bring all of this together. It’s clear Mikami wanted to make a “best of” game and that’s what he did.

“The Evil Within 2” came out only a couple of weeks ago and it’s better than the first. The themes are much tighter this time, keeping you in one main area. You explore a small town filled with disgusting monsters who only know how to greet you with sharp objects or their teeth. I wouldn’t talk about the sequel as much if it didn’t do something different, however. It grants a couple of small open worlds to explore with side missions and secrets to discover. EW2 is far from the first horror game to do this, but it probably did it best. This is important because this could open up an entirely new sub genre: open world horror. Now that it’s been proven to work, the possibilities are endless.

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Both games are brutally difficult. Ammo and health is rarer than decent humans in Willy Wonka’s factory, and enemies will swarm and hug you to death before you can say Shinji Mikami. Still, these games are a love letter to horror fans who have countless spooky movies and games under their belt. Play them, then email me ([email protected]) and thank me. Or, tell me where the best place to get fried rice is (currently very hungry while writing this).

 


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The Evil Within (2014) | History of Horror