The Dark Pictures: Little Hope
Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One
If we believe that ghosts are the remnants of those who died traumatically, then one of the most traumatic points in history was the witch hunts of New England.
We know that those in power during late 17th century Salem, Mass. were exercising extreme misogyny in their pursuit to uproot families on the basis that the woman of the house was not faithful to their God.
Most trauma originates from the oppression of the powerless and thus we have the folkloric seeds of a haunting planted.
Dark Pictures employs a more empathetic storyline to those victims of the fictional town of Little Hope.
A quartet of college students and their professor are turned off course and into the path of the eerie in Supermassive Games’ late October release, The Dark Pictures: Little Hope.
There is nothing random about this deviation in their path, as the prologue had similar-looking characters filling in the roles of a dysfunctional foster family.
Now, some 40 to 50 years later they find themselves together again, pursuing the truth in a noirish yarn that mixes Nathaniel Hawthorne with Dashiell Hammett.
There is definitely a Young Goodman Brown vibe to Little Hope, as our quintet of heroes (that we must keep alive) travel through the woods to uncover strange goings-on. There is also the exploration of the women involved in the witch trials through an empathetic lens, and the deep dive into reincarnation.
Some may wince at that last note, but being reborn is nothing new to the spiritual world. It is merely the Christian sentiment of silencing such beliefs that make the audiences uncomfortable with the trope.
For me, it works with the theme of persecution of different beliefs or even the 17th-century version of satanic panic that is called the witch trials. It’s not coincidental that the opening scene discusses the music of the early 1970s and is set during a time where good Christians were scarred by John Lennon saying, “We’re more popular than Jesus.”
Horror is a genre that purposefully extrapolates on the current fears of society.
It’s appropriate during a pandemic that our fears are even more heightened as we are threatened with our own mortality or even being rendered disabled by a virus that plays with long haulers like orcas with seals.
Admittedly Little Hope’s script is far from fluid. The characters seem paper thin and the gameplay is too restrictive, but the crux of the game is its story.
Most will be bewitched by it.