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Nightmare Fuel / Until Dawn

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Boom. Butterfly effect.
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  • The Uncanny Valley hits this game hard, especially Jessica, Josh, Emily, Mike and definitely Dr. Hill. The facial expressions and the graphics make the game look outstanding, shooting the immersion levels Up to Eleven. However, this also makes any of the possible deaths they endure twice as horrifying to look at. The look of terror on their faces is scary for its realism, as is the final, shocked look on any recently-killed characters.
  • The fact that almost every action has a consequence in this game can make decision-making overwhelming. Do you run, stand still, fight, or hide? Any choice you make could lead you to survival or death without second chances.
    • Not to mention nearly all decisions are made with no indication as to which is the best one, and no indication that you picked a bad one until later on. Deciding who gets the flare gun for instance. Either character is a good choice, and it isn't until about 10 minutes later you find out the results of your choice. Others you won't learn about until entire CHAPTERS later.
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    • The game autosaves after every choice you make. If you want to make a different one, you have to restart the story entirely. What you do, you have to live with.
  • The setting alone is pretty unnerving. Imagine being trapped high in the snowy mountains where no one else can find you or hear you scream.
  • Emily's entire trek through the mines also counts in terms of setting. They're dark, damp, claustrophobic and filled with seriously creepy sounds as well as glimpses of flames from the Stranger that has been stalking the group. On top of that, it's where the player, as Emily, first encounters clues of what happened to Hannah and Beth, including finding Beth's decomposed yet still preserved head, and also where one finally gets a clear look at the actual threat in the story, the nightmarish Wendigos.
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  • Matt's second possible death is pretty gruesome. The Wendigo hooks his jaw to a meat hook, which causes blood to flow into his mouth, showing how quickly he bled to death. Not helping is the fact that the player is treated to a shot of his blood pooling in his mouth and gagging noises as he chokes on it. Not to mention how sudden it is. It also shows the reaches of the Butterfly effect, having one of the triggers be an innocuous choice of leaving the flare gun with Emily and the other being a choice that most people would choose if they want to try to get everybody to survive. Not only that, but if the player takes a completely innocuous choice (that they would probably take if they wanted Matt and Emily's relationship to stay good), then Matt can waste the flare gun anyway.
  • Dr. Hill is one creepy guy. The questions he asks almost feel like he's manipulating the game based on your fears. What's even creepier is that it's left ambiguous whether he's real or a figment of your imagination and whether he's trying to help or hinder you. His near-constant facial tics are also one of the game's best examples of Uncanny Valley. The way his jaw and lips quirk about when he's not speaking is downright unnerving. Also notice how his office starts to look more and more decrepit with each visit. (It is wherever Josh is at the time of his hallucinations, so the surroundings change as Josh sets up for the prank during the night, or goes to other rooms.) Not to mention that at the end of one of his sessions Dr. Hill turns around only to be faced by Josh, disguised as the Psycho. You expected the sessions to be a bit unnerving, but nobody would have guessed that this would happen. In another session, right after the saw trap, Hill walks over to the window, implying that the exchange is over. Then a flash of light blasts through the window and the good doctor seemingly teleports right in your face, shouting at you.
  • The fact that Josh was willing to risk getting people killed just to pull an elaborate prank. Imagine if Josh didn't get the benefit from artistic license and there weren't any wendigos. Chris sticking a .45 with blank rounds up against his head like that could've easily killed him, and if Sam was allergic to whatever drug he stuck her with, she could've died. Then there's what would happen if the saw trap malfunctioned and the saw went to Ashley. Josh's entire hilarious horror prank instantly turns tragic.
  • The Wendigos, naturally. They are born when a person feeds on another human's flesh and are highly agile, capable of ripping you apart and difficult to kill. You wanna know what's worse? Killing them isn't even always the best option. All those Wendigos that were blown up at the end? It's only giving their spirits the opportunity to infect other people who may wind up trapped in the mountains and forced to eat human flesh. Then there's the idea that the main Wendigo stalking the group for the majority of the game, turns out to be Hannah. The sweet and shy girl from the beginning of the story is now an inhuman monster, hunting down her brother and former friends.
  • Hannah's fate. After turning out to have survived the fall, she wandered the caves starving for days, and eventually had to eat the remains of her sister to survive, causing her to turn into a Wendigo. At least Beth died instantly from falling off the cliff; Hannah had to suffer for days from both her injuries and hunger.
    • And the definitive piece of evidence that lets the group know this happened is the handful of pages Hannah used as a journal while stuck in the caves. It quite effectively captures the deterioration of her mind after she resorts to cannibalism, her entries going from apologies to Beth in handwriting that her friends can recognise as hers, to the feral scrawls of a person giving in to the Wendigo possession.
    My hands feel unclean... my nails fell out... PUSHED OUT! I am aching... but no more COLD, no more PAIN... I am getting stronger. Hungry... Hungry... HUNGRY!!!
  • Josh seeing his dead sisters in a hallucination, followed by the giant pig's head and the equally enormous Wendigo head screeching at him. It's hard to watch even with full knowledge that none of it is real, but just imagine what it must have been like for Josh. Being stuck in a phenomenally dangerous situation is bad enough without having to second-guess everything you see. And then, just when you begin to cope with the fact that you're suffering hallucinations...
    Josh: (making no effort to escape) NO! You're not real! YOU'RE NOT!
    Hannah: (screeches and grabs his head)
    Josh: EEERRRRAAAGGGHHH!!!!
    (Hannah smashes Josh's head into paste)
    • What's truly scary about the wendigo head is that Josh may have no reason to know what they look like; if Chris knocks him out, he's unconscious when they drag him off. Why is he seeing something he doesn't even know exists in his hallucinations? Quite likely because a wendigo spirit was trying to wear him down from the moment he got tossed into the mines. Even before Hannah decides to spare him, the monsters had already earmarked Josh as a future host.
  • At one point, Ashley hears Jessica's voice screaming for help, but it turns out to be a Wendigo. This shows that Wendigos are able to lure people by impersonating loved ones' voices. Choosing to investigate the voice can result in Ashley's death if the rattling trapdoor is opened. The scene of her possible death is also pretty disturbing. When Ashley's severed head falls to the ground, you can clearly see her eyes moving around and widening in shock, implying that she is, at least for a few seconds, still alive and fully aware of what has just happened to her. It's the same with Chris if he also gets decapitated.
  • There's something unsettling about how easily the Wendigos can pull people apart. They make decapitation look like twisting a celery stick. If one gets hold of you at all, there's flat-out nothing you can do. Their strength alone is bad enough, but it's almost outdone by how blindingly, unbelievably fast they are. Their movement while hunting is so slick and sudden that if it weren't for the game's camera focusing on them, they would be almost impossible to track by eye. You could be staring right at one, only for it to vanish in a blur of movement, and as you're trying to discern where it went you feel stinking breath on the back of your neck...
  • Josh's behavior because of his mental illness(es) is pretty close to reality, not to mention his terrifying hallucinations. The game is cheesy up to a certain point...but Josh is not part of that if you know that he has a mental condition. He's just barely putting on a front until all hell breaks loose. It's disturbing for people without a mental illness to see and traumatic for those that have them. Just thinking about how long Josh suffered with the guilt of his sisters' deaths and his mental condition is beyond tragic. There is some evidence that he wasn't taking medicine or wasn't taking the right medicine, all just proof of how difficult it is to help and treat those who have mental illnesses. Mental illnesses are still widely misunderstood and brushed off, even by doctors. It's especially misunderstood by fellow people, even friends and family, who might think the sufferer is making mountains out of molehills at best, or that they're making it up to get attention at worst. Matpat did a video on Until Dawn analyzing that Josh was definitely not getting the help he needed.
  • The rather sudden and unpreventable death of the Stranger. He has just recently revealed his true colors to the survivors and is currently helping Chris fend off some Wendigos, when one slices his head off. The guy who spent who-knows-how-many years of his life fighting these monsters is now dead. Crap.
  • The way Ashley will just stand there and coldly watch Chris get decapitated if he considered shooting her in Josh's second trap.
  • The way how Chris is killed by the Wendigo if he he fails to shoot it. It lands on him, knocking on the ground before grabbing his head while screaming at him before it plunges it’s fingers into his neck before tearing his head clean off. If this happens due to failing to shoot the Wendigo unlike the other deaths, we got a long, close up shot of blood before out from his head as it lies in the snow.
  • But the worst death is when Ashley does open the door but he does not. After the Wendigo pulls him to the ceiling his locks kick and thrash as blood starts falling down from the air. Thankfully it happens only for about 5 to seven seconds before his head is ripped off out of view. But after his body and head fall on the ground we see him open his eyes and still alive before the life’s leaves.
  • Sam's creepy half-crazed smile while she tells about her experience in the police interview.
    Sam: You need to listen to me. I don't care if you believe me or not. Doesn't matter. Because you will. You need to go down to the mines. I've seen what's down there, and I'd give anything to unsee it.
  • The creepy ending if everyone survives. After interviewing the characters about what happened, they cut back to the mines where Josh is turning into a Wendigo and is eating the flesh of the Stranger. Someone finds him and he promptly attacks them. This assures the player that the Wendigo have yet to be defeated and that Josh has now turned into one of them. Also, exactly how long was Josh down there before he started gnawing at that head? Was it days, or mere hours? He might have been far, far more deranged than anyone assumed if he indulged in cannibalism with little prompting, but given his outright schizophrenic-level hallucinations and very likely the influence of the wendigo spirit, Josh probably didn't even see the Stranger's corpse as something formerly human, just meat. And that's assuming Wendigo!Hannah didn't leave the body out for him on purpose as some twisted way of making them family again.
    • Seeing Josh starting to transform is hard to look at, especially given that his transformation is lopsided. Half of his face is still fairly normal looking (which explains why the police approached him at all), while the other half has started to terribly warp into full Wendigo, including the mangled jaw structure and bulbous glassy eyes. The fact that he is gnawing on The Stranger's face at the end and is implied to have ripped the police apart when they found him is a pretty nasty potential Sequel Hook.
    • It's even worse if Josh is the only one who survives. Nobody else is around to tell the police to investigate the mines, so instead of seeing a team going in to check things out, we still get a shot of Josh eating the Stranger, and after a few moments, he pauses as if he heard something, then looks directly out of the screen, implying that his next meal will be you.
  • Emily's possible death by being shot by Mike. Imagine that you've just done a grueling run through an abandoned mine, and barely escaped with your life, only to have all of your friends and your ex-boyfriend turn on you because of how you were bitten and were (maybe) about to turn into a monster. And then if she gets killed, it turns out there was absolutely nothing to worry about. Emily can die for nothing.
    • If Mike does shoot Emily, he specifically puts a bullet to her face, through the left eye. After she falls dead, Mike is instantly shocked with confusion and remorse. Imagine if he had then stayed long enough to learn the revelation that it was completely unnecessary...
  • Jess's second possible death. While her first possible death where she falls onto the mine elevator without her jaw is shocking, it happens off screen. With this death, we see the wendigo first stuffing its fingers down her throat, and then ripping off her jaw, causing her head to slump to side and stare right at you with her dead eyes. Hopefully the claws pierced the back of her throat and she was truly dead by that point, because otherwise...
  • Emily's possible death by being crushed in the grinder. The worst part is that she doesn't go all the way through, the machine crushes her from feet to torso and malfunctions rapidly so you still have time to see her getting the life crushed out of her. She might live just long enough to feel the full pain of having her legs crushed into paste before bleeding out or having her heart give out from shock.
  • The final scene in the lodge where the "Don't Move" mechanic is milked for all its worth. Just before this whole confrontation, Sam is running to catch up with the rest of the group, and on her way up, it cuts to several of the group just. Standing there. You'd think it's an animation glitch at first, but then you get there and realize there is a pissed off Wendigo in the room with them Special mention goes to the very last one where Wendigo!Hannah is barely three inches from Sam as the former scouts for people and, for several seconds, looks directly at Sam and screams into her ear. Most players probably held their breaths and kept just as still as they had to make Sam do.
  • While it's not shown in as much loving detail as Jess's, Matt's third potential death is pretty ugly and shocking. The wendigo knocks him to the ground, then caves his face in completely with a single blow! The way his teeth and eyes are left mangled is NOT pretty. Worse still, his eyes are still moving for about a second after the blow. He lived long enough to feel that blow and the damage it did.
  • Near the end of the game, after you learn about the wendigos and how unnatural they are, you are forced to go through a segment of chest-deep frozen water. Being nearly immobile and unable to see beneath the surface is nerve wracking, and you just know that something is going to come up from beneath. When you finally do get out, you breathe a sigh of relief, only to open the next door and have HEADS COME ROLLING OUT. And these heads don't belong to generic stock characters either. You'll always see the Stranger's head roll out, already half-eaten. But if any of the teenagers have died, their heads will roll out, too; Jess, Matt, Chris... people who you got to know, actually played as, and who then died because of your actions. The camera then pans back to the water, to show a wendigo neck deep in sub-zero water, rock still, watching you intently. It slides under the surface with barely a ripple, and you realize it had been in the pool with you the entire time. What the still-living characters will see after they go through the door isn't much better; It's a crude, makeshift slaughterhouse, with human remains hung up like beef carcasses. If they were random victims, it would have been bad enough, but seeing a Player Character reduced to a haunch of meat can be pretty jarring. You can't help but wonder how long it will be before you take your place alongside them...
  • The sheer level of Body Horror present in this game is pure unladen Nausea Fuel, from the ways everyone can be horrendously killed to the pictures you can find of one of the miners going through the transformation into a Wendigo. First picture is fairly normal, even if he looks a little emaciated; the second picture shows that his hair has started falling out, his neck has stretched out, and his face is drawn and gaunt with the beginnings of a Wendigos jaw structure forming; the final picture has him in full Wendigo form and screaming into the camera. God knows how they were even able to get that last picture without being ripped to shreds, although it's probably better not to think about.
    • The recording of one of the subjects turning into a Wendigo. It's implied that he was given a small piece of human flesh, but it's enough to turn him into a monster. They slowly start changing and are able to get out of their restraints and attack the nurse responsible for the transformation.
  • Shooting the squirrel. What remains of it is almost vomit-inducing if you have a weak stomach, thanks to how far graphics have come.
  • One of the clues you can find is a doctor's suicide note. It's found next to his decomposed corpse, but that's not the worst part. The note reveals that the patients had all transformed into Wendigos and were rampaging through the building. The doctor decided that suicide was a much better fate than being torn apart by the creatures. Just the thought of being trapped in a confined space with those things...
    • That's not just a doctor. That's Jefferson Bragg, the man who owned both the mine and the sanitarium. So in other words, the guy responsible for all of this. Imagine being cornered, surrounded by flesh-eating, lightning-fast monsters Immune to Bullets and knowing every bit of it is your fault. No wonder he drank poison.
  • True or an exaggeration (though the mutilated wolf in the mental hospital after more wendigoes escape indicate it is probably the former), the Stranger's description of how the wendigoes kill paints a seriously disturbing picture. First they make sure you are immobilized, unable to fight back or run away. Then they peel your skin off, piece by piece, before they really dig in and begin devouring your internal organs. Cruel and Unusual Death indeed. And he makes a point of saying that you WILL be ALIVE to feel all of this. If Hannah didn't recognize Josh when she kidnapped him from the cabin, it's possible that she had such a fate in mind once she caught back up to him, if he hadn't A) recognized her or B) prompted her to kill him on the spot by screaming.
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