Hours of Darkness

I’ve just completed the Far Cry 5 DLC – Hours of Darkness and it has been one of the best moment in my gamer life.

I forgot how much I loved to watch Vietnam-war era movies. From Full Metal Jacket to Apocalypse now, I was obsess by Vietnam when I was a kid. It was one of my longest phases, just after astronaut and before surfer. Yep, those were the days I would change my entire life (meaning re-decorating my bedroom) because of a movie. Trust me, you didn’t want to know me after Ghostbusters… Anyway, Vietnam movies had such an impact on me that my mum had to drive me to American supply shops on Saturday afternoons, so I could buy U.S. military gear.

Playing Hours of Darkness just brought me back to these times. Don’t worry, as tempting as it may be, I won’t run around my neighborhood dressed like a G.I., I’ve grown up! But it was nice completing objectives in a jungle setting. I really wish that a good Vietnam war game was made, but I understand that the topic might not be as popular as it once was…

The picture above is displayed at the end of the game, after you have successfully reached the extraction point. It gets populated in function of the challenges that you’ve completed during your run. Then, the credits start rolling and one of the most amazing song starts playing (it starts at 0:33):

Thank you, Ubisoft, for making me discover The Cambodian Space Project.

For the story, Kak Channthy (c.1980 – 20 March 2018) was a Cambodian singer and vocalist, she has been described as “the barefoot diva of the Cambodian rice fields”. She formed the Cambodian psychedelic rock band “The Cambodian Space Project” with her Australian husband Julien Poulson and worked as the lead singer and songwriter releasing 5 albums and touring 24 countries around the world. (source: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, you have the feeling that you’ve seen or heard it all but, really, you don’t.

Far Cry 5

Fighting cultists, liberating outposts, finding caches, making awesome friends (among which a bear named cheeseburger), fishing, hunting, driving all sorts of vehicles on the ground and in the air… All of that in beautiful Montana while wearing a crazy dog mask and using a sniper rifle with pink led lights, this game was made for me!

There are so many things to enjoy in Far Cry 5 but what I love most is the sense of humour. Here is the perfect example (content spoilers):

After liberating Hope’s end, the cook of the Spread Eagle asks you to help him restore the “Bull Testicle Festival” to its former glory. To do so, you must go cut a few bulls’ balls off for the barbecue. The tricky part is that you have to do it while they are mating, otherwise it wouldn’t taste as good (duh!). So, after following the quest tracker, you finally reach a farm where a bunch of unsuspecting bulls are living their best lives. Before doing the gruesome deed, you first have to free the cows that are kept behind a fence. As just as the padlock is broken, the cows start mixing with the bulls and, as the bulls and cows are mating right before your eyes, the game plays the song “Sexual Healing” by Lionel Ritchie. I don’t think that I’ve had such a fantastic moment in video games since… Ever!

It took me 60 hours to reach the end and I haven’t hundred-percented it yet.

My only regret was the lack of achievements on Steam. I’m now faced with a dilemma: should I purchase New Dawn on Ubisoft Connect or Steam? While I like to have all my games in one place, I enjoy unlocking achievements very much. In the end, I prefer to see how many hours I played a game from my Steam library than unlocking Ubisoft Connect achievement where I have zero friends. Meanwhile, Soforah is unlocking Steam achievements in AC Odyssey on Steam… Consistency, people!

Ozark

We’ve finally watched the final season of Ozark. While there was definitely something good in the show, there was also much I hated, starting by the Byrds. I hate them so much and I’m not sure that it’s only because of the characters. Laura Linney’s voice worked on my nerves since the first episode and Patrick Bateman always plays the same way in all of his appearances.

There are two reasons why I came back for more:

1. Ruth Langmore. She’s absolutely fantastic, the character and the actress (Julia Garner) who portrays her. To me, she carried the entire show.

I especially loved the episode where a vengeful Ruth listens to NAS – NY State of Mind. I didn’t even know that song and I’m heavy on 90s music.

I know that it’s a very controversial opinion. But, even weeks later, nothing can change my mind.

2. Warning: spoilers.

I made it until the end because I wanted so much to see Wendy Bird’s head explode with a Cartel bullet. Why did this have to happen to Ruth instead of her? The ending felt like a ruined orgasm after having been wanked for five seasons.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season

In my backlog, there are the games that I bought because I’m loyal to a franchise, there are the games that I bought because of the hype, and there are the games that I’m so sure I’ll enjoy, I don’t dare to play. I keep them for a fabled perfect moment which, of course, never comes, so they stay in my backlog for years… Until the day I finally decide that it’s been long enough and I finally play them.

That day has come for the final season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead.

I love episodic adventure games, I love Telltale games and I love The Walking Dead, what could go wrong, right?! Well, beside Telltale shutting down right in the middle of the final season, absolutely nothing… The game is awesome, as good, if not even better than the other seasons.

Clementine is still amazing, a total badass, but it’s especially A.J. that surprised me. I get easily annoyed by kids, usually in movies, especially in games. It’s so rare that a kid as main protagonist doesn’t get so bratty that you want to yell at him (Gus in Sweet Tooth – the TV show, Daniel in Life is Strange 2,…), but A.J. isn’t like that. Beside a few moral conflicts, he doesn’t easily whine. In fact, he becomes the perfect side-kick and you’re the one who becomes dependent on him, not the other way around.

The game in itself is fantastic, it doesn’t overwhelm you neither with waves of monsters nor too long drama scenes. There are a few twists, sometimes sad, sometimes happy and sometimes OMFG! In short, the usual recipe for a perfect Telltale moment.

What I feared the most finally happened, I’ve finally reached the end of the adventure. Keeping it in my backlog was my way to keep it going on. Now that I’ve played it, even if I’m happy that it received the end that it deserved, I’m sad that I won’t get to live new adventures with Clem and A.J.. Until, of course, the new Telltale studios, announces a new season or, eventually, the day I’ll miss it so much that I’ll do a replay of the entire series.

Scream 2022

I remember watching the first Scream in 1996 at the theatre with my friends. It was a great Saturday eve slasher, and I loved it. I can still hear the iconic “Hello Sidney”, I think that these 2 words are imprinted in a lot of minds of people of my generation. However, after my disappointment with the second and third movie, I completely gave up on the franchise, and forgot it even existed. Until a new Scream was released this year.

It was fun seeing the old cast back in action, even though I have mixed feelings about Courteney Cox. I know that getting old isn’t easy, whether your appearance is mandatory or not. Every one I know suffers the same fate, and I understand that some people try to escape the inevitability by going to a plastic surgeon. Yet, I think that in most cases plastic surgery makes things far worse than they are. Honestly, I didn’t know whether to be scared of the killer(s) or Courteney Cox’ appearance.

Regardless, Scream 5 was a fun watch and brought back a lot of memories. Don’t expect anything deep though. I pity the ones who watch a slasher movie, and write a bad review cause they expected an award winning quality. Scream is what it is, a perfect Saturday Eve horror movie, and I’m glad a 6th one’ll be released in 2023. To be continued…

Antlers

In an isolated Oregon town, a middle-school teacher and her sheriff brother become embroiled with her enigmatic student, whose dark secrets lead to terrifying encounters with an ancestral creature. (source: IMDB)

Antlers is an adaptation of Nick Antosca’s short story, “The Quiet Boy” and is Scott Cooper’s first foray into horror filmmaking. Cooper was guided by a hands-on producer and mentor, Guillermo del Toro – the “Monster Maestro” – and it shows.

The creature is impressive, terrifying even, but it’s the boy, Lucas (portrayed by Jeremy T. Thomas), who creates the entire ambiance. He’s awkward, secretive and carries his dark secret like a shadow that engulfs the entire town (which is the same town where Rambo – First Blood was shot).

The disturbing sight of a young boy in such a filthy state added to the poverty that surrounds the townsfolk contribute to keeping the horror grounded in the reality.

Antlers is the real deal, from ambiance to creature creation, it’s what horror should be.

A Quiet Place – Part II

I could copy/paste the synopsis from IMDB, but it’s useless as the plot goes like this: “Make no sound or the beasts will come for you. Oh, and humans are dangerous too”. It’s pretty much the plot of any survival movie/TV show in the last two decades. Why do I sound as unenthusiastic? I’m trying to figure this out for 3 months now and I still don’t know. Actually this post has been like an intestinal obstruction (follow this link, you won’t regret it), preventing me to write the 6 next posts that are on my todo list since January. It’s as if I couldn’t write anything as long as this post wasn’t out of the way.

But, it isn’t as bad as it sounds… I guess the movie reflects what I think about Emily Blunt. Most of the time that she plays in a movie, from Funny Games to Sicario, I’m left with absolutely no feelings. I don’t hate these movies, but I don’t like them either. (with one exception to this rule: Windchill, which I really enjoyed ). But it’s just an analogy, I don’t think that Emily Blunt makes these movies “tasteless”. However, there’s definitely a connection.

Anyway, A quiet place II is a decent sequel to an average movie. I wouldn’t advise my future self against a rewatch. I would maybe see something I didn’t during the first viewing. I definitely wouldn’t rewatch it during a great week-end though, more when I’m sick with the flu, wrapped in a blanket.

Archive 81

When archivist Dan Turner takes a mysterious job restoring a collection of damaged videotapes from 1994, he finds himself reconstructing the work of documentary filmmaker Melody Pendras and her investigation into a dangerous cult. As Dan is drawn into Melody’s story, he becomes convinced he can save her from the terrifying end she met 25 years ago. – IMDb

This TV-show is amazing, I absolutely loved it. First of all, I had no idea that nowadays people would be interested in restoring old tapes. I googled “restoring old tapes”, the amount of results that appeared surprised me. Watching Dan working his magic in Archive 81, was hypnotic. Granted, it was shot in a way that I looked like eye candy. I think that I would have really liked this job.

The videotapes Dan needs to restore, were shot at the Visser in the 90’s. The decade that gems like Twin Peaks and the X-files were created. Archive 81 belongs on that same shelf to me. I think that the reason why I love this TV-show this much is because so many boxes are checked for me. 

Imagine taking on a mysterious job restoring a collection of damaged videotapes in a remote location where there is absolutely no connection, and no way to get in contact with anyone but your shady employer. Things start to happen, and none can be explained scientifically. All you know is that it’s real. If I would have been in Dans’ shoes, I would have gone insane.

I think that this concept mixed with Cthulhu-esque elements like alternate timelines, comets, some otherworldly intoxicating mould, a cult who worships a demon / god named Kaelego,… works like a charm on me. 

Archive 81 is based on a podcast with the same name so I started researching about Kaelego, hoping I would stumble on some ancient historical facts. Of course, like expected, it’s pure fiction (one can only dream). However, I did read an interesting article on Den of Geek about the deity / demon Kaelego, the comets, the Vos Society, the Baldung witches, the Otherworld,… All I can say is that I’m awestruck by the world they’ve created.

There are many references to Dante’s Divine Comedy. The main character’s name is Dan T. (Dante) and he’s being taken on a journey with a man named Virgil (Dante’s guide). I still can’t believe I’ve read those books one day though, it’s not exactly light reading.

The music Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow created for the show is haunting. It crawls under your skin and gives a dark and intense vibe to the show. You feel something building up, like they’re trying to create a rift between two worlds. It’s daunting and tense. It reminds me a lot of Eyes Wide Shut, The Lords of Salem, and Twin Peaks.

There are only a few jump scares in the entire first season, but it weren’t those that scared the living hell out of me. This show is more about a lingering feeling of eeriness / creepiness which creates a tense atmosphere. I absolutely love this kind of thing, and I was sad to hear that Netflix cancelled the show without giving any reason. Regardless, I still don’t give up hope that it’ll be renewed one day.

We’ve Reached The End

It started 15 years ago, maybe more, I’m not certain, but I remember buying the first book… It was in Brussels and we were about to have some time off at home. As usual, we were stockpiling cool stuff for our holidays and we purchased the first tome of The Walking Dead. Yesterday evening, I’ve finally read the last page of the last book. Now, I feel sad at the idea that there won’t be another book to purchase for our next holidays. On the other hand, I’m very happy with the end and I’m glad that Robert Kirkman could bring it to the conclusion that he wanted.

I gave up on the TV Show a few years ago. It was not good, too slow and over dramatic, but the comic books are amazing from the first page to the last. I’ll probably read them again, one of these days…

Also, the 16 books fit in a single Kallax cube. Coincidence? I think not.

Werewolves Within (2021)

When a snowstorm traps its residents together inside the local inn, newly arrived forest ranger Finn (Sam Richardson) and postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) must try to keep the peace and uncover the truth behind a mysterious creature that has begun terrorizing the community. (source: IMDB)

It would have been an average “whodunnit” movie with werewolves, wouldn’t have it been for the amazing Milana Vayntrub, another Youtube celeb who’s making her way to Hollywood. If I had to remember one scene from this movie, it would be this one:

I’ll always be an 80s fan but this make me love the 90s (a little).

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