While many survival horror games rely on mood and frightening visuals to terrify players, perhaps gamemakers should be looking at the work of filmmakers Chris Kentis and Laura Lau instead. Their shark thriller Open Water was an extensive exercise in patience in the Hitchcockian manner and their new suspense film Silent House takes a similar tack.
According to the NYT, the entire film is an 88-minute single shot (a la a game that moves on rails) and required extensive planning:
First there was Ms. Lau’s script, which imagined a house before an actual location was chosen. When a house near the water in New Rochelle, N.Y., was found, Ms. Lau rewrote to match the setting. “Every moment was accounted for in the script, which was only 60 pages,” she said. “And then it was about constantly rehearsing.”
At the house, she and Mr. Kentis went through the whole movie. “Laura would play the part of Sarah,” he said, “and I’d follow her with the camera and record.” They used the recordings as a reference, much like a moving storyboard. “We would work out all the choreography and the possibilities before we brought the crew on.”
I find most games too long (another topic!), so the idea of tightly-constructed 90 minute sequence seems like an fascinating arena for game makers to explore.