Who’s the Best of Until Dawn’s Cast?
Until Dawn is, for all intents and purposes, the video game equivalent of a teenage horror movie, like Scream, or I Know What You Did Last Summer. (In all honesty, this game probably could’ve been called “I Know What You Did Last Winter”, but that probably wouldn’t pass the copyright test.) Sure the game has some painful dialogue (Mike saying ‘fucknuggets’ tops the list), but it’s also got some really great characters. And the beauty is that unlike those movies, you get to control all of them and decide (sometimes inadvertently) who survives. But which character is the best? Let’s find out. (If you haven’t played the game, then SPOILERS!!!! Duh.)
Honorable Mentions: Dr. Hill (Peter Stormare), Beth (Ella Lentini), Hannah (Lentini), and the Stranger (Larry Fessenden).
Because you can’t control them (outside of Beth for a hot minute), and therefore they are not worthy of my precious words. Although, if we’re being honest, the Doc is a creep. Big shout-out to Peter Stormare on that portrayal, and to the effects team for not quite getting Hill out of the uncanny valley. Now, onto the important people.
8. Emily (Nichole Bloom)
Emily, Emily, Emily. Quite possibly the only character I strongly considered not saving. Look folks, I wanted the happy ending, believe you me. I didn’t want to be responsible for the deaths of any of these characters. But at one instance during my playthrough, I failed a QTE (quick-time event) fleeing a wendigo, and almost fell to my death. When it prompted me for another QTE to have a second chance at saving her, I had to seriously consider if it was even worth it. Emily is that awful of a person in this game. Bitch trope? Check. She treats her boyfriend like a whipping boy, has the personality of a cactus, and throws a fit every time she doesn’t get her way. Definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel.
7. Matt (Jordan Fisher)
Is it fair that Matt’s ranking suffers largely from his association with Emily? Maybe not, but that’s entirely on Matt and definitely not on me, the ranker. Trust me, I’m right here. Not only has Matt made the crucial mistake of choosing to date Emily, he encourages her domineering presence with his weak and pacifying attitude towards her. Additionally, Matt’s sole other narrative purpose is to be jealous of Mike, Emily’s ex. Uh, dude? Newsflash? You’re dating Emily now, not Mike. Besides, have you seen Mike and Jessica? He doesn’t need to steal your girl when he’s clearly in love with his. The death knell for Matt, unfortunately, is just a lack of playing time when things get serious. He’s the 3rd most playable character, but it’s mostly in the early stages when the story is still in an innocent vibe. After Chapter 6 in the fire tower he all but disappears until the final chapter.
6. Josh (Rami Malek)
Despite only being playable briefly in Chapter 10, Josh is the catalyst for the entire game. Your sessions with Dr. Hill are actually, theoretically, you controlling Josh, and his stint as the Psycho means he’s present a lot more than you initially believe in the story. Josh begins as the slightly creepy host of this weekend in the woods, gets “killed” by the Psycho, then reveals himself as the Psycho. Through this progression of events he becomes less and less likeable, culminating in his reveal that it was all, as is everything these characters do, “just a prank.” However, there’s some depth to Josh. If you find enough clues, you’ll notice that Josh has been struggling with mental illness for a while, and when you take that into consideration Josh is actually a seriously complicated villain, and his unfortunate demise builds on that, which makes him able to climb up to the #6 spot.
5. Ashley (Galadriel Stineman)
Ashley reaches the #5 spot simply for being arguably the most vanilla character in the entire game. Seriously I really cannot think of anything positive or negative to say about her. Other than being Chris’ love interest I really struggle to find a purpose for her in this game. She’s basically the Egg of this game. Er, Plant. Her? But really, the only reason I have her this high is because I don’t dislike much about her, other than her being completely uninteresting.
4. Chris (Noah Fleiss)
The game heavily pushes Chris as the “goofy, nerdy” character. And sure, he does a lot of sophomoric humor, and makes references that nobody else gets, and tries to impress his friends through these things, and you know what I think I’m describing myself at this point. So on paper, I should love Chris. Right? Well, he just seems to come off a bit contrived. For the comedic character, they really didn’t give him great material to pull off as “jokes.” That being said he absolutely carries the romantic arc he has with Ashley, and his conflicted choice between Ashley and Josh is captivating.
3. Jessica (Meaghan Martin)
Ah, now we get into the 3 characters that I actually really, really enjoyed. Now, I’m gonna just be upfront about this: if Jessica wasn’t gone for essentially half the game, she’d have a damn good chance at being #1. And sure, that’s probably just because I still have a crush on Meaghan Martin from her Camp Rock and 10 Things I Hate About You days. But listen, Jessica is a great character! Sure, she’s the bubbly, popular cheerleader prom queen character, but her relationship with Mike is just so authentic. She clearly has more layers beyond the trope she appears to be, and it’s really difficult to hate on the girl who is easily the most battered from the events of the game. Again, if she wasn’t passed out for almost the entire night (or dead I guess, if you suck at QTEs), she easily contends for #1.
2. Mike (Brett Dalton)
As the boyfriend of Jessica, it only makes sense that Mike is the guy everyone loves. The game frequently reminds us that Mike was Class President and is therefore a big deal. Seems like someone you wouldn’t care for, right? Luckily, wrong! Mike’s a down to earth guy, very sociable, and as mentioned before, has the best relationship with Jessica. Seriously I can’t get enough of those two. Maybe that’s why I rate Mike so high, because most of his journey is to save Jess. There’s nothing more heroic than that, but in addition Mike (along with Sam) do their best to save the rest of the group too. Mike is absolutely the right choice to play the hero for this cast of characters, and he slides in just below the top spot.
1. Sam (Hayden Panettiere)
While Mike was the hero, Sam is the heroine. Name one bad thing about Sam. Oh wait, you can’t, because she is the perfect main character. She’s the closest with Josh, which allows for this fascinating perspective of the Psycho chasing her because you can actually figure out that Josh is the Psycho if you find enough clues. Like mentioned before, Sam and Mike figure out how to save everyone in the climax of the game. And of the folks that have convened in the house during the dead of night, Sam is the de facto leader. She is ultimately more than anyone else the protagonist of the game, she takes charge and doesn’t have any shot at dying until that final scene. I mean, the girl runs around and crawls through vents in nothing but a towel, how could anyone beat her? Hayden Panettiere playing her is just icing on the cake.
So there you have it folks. Emily is the devil incarnate, Matt’s whipped, Josh is unstable, Ashley is apparently a character in the game, Chris is the unfunny funnyman, Jessica is adorable, Mike is Captain America, and Sam is God’s gift to earth. But one thing I failed to mention is that these 8 people are actually the 8 worst friends you could ever ask for. Seriously, when has pulling endless pranks on your friends ever been funny? Never! Next time you have a party on a mountain in the woods, don’t make it scarier than it needs to be. There are cannibal zombie-like wendigos running around, nobody needs you to jump out in front of them 19 times during the night.
Author: Jack Linnehan
Jack is unsure why he’s a contributor to The Punished Backlog, as compared to the rest of the team his qualifications in the gaming department are considerably lacking. But fun passion projects are right up his alley (he has his own podcast too!), and he is excited to bring a unique, albeit sarcastic voice to the site. You can follow him on twitter @JackLinnehan where he mostly tweets about sports, Survivor, and generally lots of jokes.