Overlook- Killing Grounds

The Perfect Game

I didn’t get a chance to see The Killing Ground (it’s being distributed by IFC so I knew I’d be able to see it eventually and had to prioritize other films), but I did manage to partake in their Interactive Experience. It’s essentially a massive game of Manhunt played through the entire Timberline, where we were divided into two groups and given specific roles. The Campers had to get to a car (grab a toy car hidden somewhere in the Lodge) and get back to base in order to drive off to freedom, bringing as many survivors with us as possible as anyone not at the base would get left behind. One camper had an ability that allowed them to fake their own death, and escape after their killer had left.

The other team would be Hunters, their object was to hunt down and kill all the campers. Most Hunters were able to strangle a camper by just touching their shoulder, but one lucky player was the gun toter, who was handed a nerf gun with a single bullet. I lucked out the very first game.

Items were stashed all over the place, including extra bullets and axes. This led to an intense chase through the Timberline past startled guests, as we all soon ignored the rule to not run when we saw our prey.

The best moment happened in a later game, while I was playing a Camper with the feigning death ability. We found the car fairly quickly, so I snatched it up. We ran off to circle around to the base, only to hear the shout from a couple of hunters behind us, and this is where I did the classic dumb horror movie thing and split off from the group, hoping the Hunters saw them run up the stairs and would pursue them instead. I ducked into a nearby elevator and started jabbing at the close button… only to have a Hunter peek inside and see my trying to squeeze myself into the corner. He looked surprised and then killed me.

Overlook It Comes At Night Ice Sculpture

I revived myself 20 seconds later and ran off chuckling… but was then spotted going up a staircase by another Hunter, and killed for real this time. It was a fun time, and even better later on when playing with bigger groups. At one point, we raced through the kitchen, past annoyed staff, in order to get to safety.

The film screenings over the day saw increasingly fewer attendees as everyone took off to go home, and soon it was my own time. I found out later that the security guard who had introduced us to the game the first night was involved with satanic rituals, and yet another corpse was found, the fifth of the fest so far. The greatest thing is that the immersive game has been going for years (initially through the dearly departed Stanley Film Festival) and will continue over emails and various events for years to come, with players now more immersed in the world than ever.

It’s hard to overstate how much fun of an experience the Overlook Film Festival was. It’s easily the most relaxed and stress-free festival I’ve been to, one where everyone just seemed genuinely happy to be together with a group of cool people and being able to choose from a surprising variety of experiences. I was seeing movies and attending experiences nearly non-stop all weekend and still I missed out on some things I would have loved to attend, such as Clay McLeod Chapman’s The Pumpkin Pie Show, the VR game Mule from the creators of Catatonic, and a live recording of Glass Eye Pix’ Tales From Beyond The Pale. But hey, there’s always next year. I hope the Overlook comes back forever, and ever, and ever.

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