He’s gonna take you back to the past, to make a short movie that kicks ass. That’s right, this one is about none other than the Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe, the architect of his own indie horror website, Cinemassacre.com. He has certainly outdone himself this time. For those who don’t know, James has played a character that became a Youtube sensation for angry video game reviews since 2006. Along the way, he has made over 150 nerd episodes and through his website, a number of short horror film and film reviews. In Polybius, James has managed to turn a routine video game review into a legitimate short horror film using the legend of Polybius as his storyboard.
Apparently, Polybius was an arcade game that had a limited release in the year 1981 and disappeared shortly after. Lots of video game fans speculate why it came and went quickly, some of which claim it was a government conspiracy. James Rolfe uses all the legends for the basis of his film. Even if you’re not a fan of the Angry Video Game Nerd, what James accomplishes here can be appreciated by horror fans.
As I said earlier, the video starts as a routine game review that James has done in the past, but quickly it turns into a first person found footage film that had my heart legitimately pounding toward the end. The best part about it was, unlike most other found footage films like Blair Witch Project where the camera jogs up and down to the point you’re about ready to hurl, in Polybius, you can actually see what’s going on.
The Nerd claims he’s been given access to an old arcade in Portland, Oregon, where the game was originally ported. He stumbles around with his laptop ready to film and finally finds the game. He claims people that have played it have lost their minds, so he refuses to show you any footage until he feels its safe. Naturally, he slowly begins to succumb to the addiction of Polybius in one of his finest acting performances yet. In most of his Halloween productions, he plays a movie-based game such as the Nintendo version of Friday the 13th and the Atari 2600 port of Halloween with a parody of the movies featuring one of his friends in the costume of the antagonist. Not this time, though. This time, it’s not a cheesy parody but an actual, serious horror short.
To be fair, unlike most Hollywood or other independent productions, this was run on a shoestring budget, so most of the effects are low quality. If you’re expecting The Ring or The Grudge, you will be disappointed, but if you’re willing to accept Polybius as it is, then you’re going to get sucked right into it. Even if you know the storyline surrounding the actual Polybius, this still has you questioning its origin, whereabouts and if the stories are true. Add in some well timed jump scares and you got yourself a 22 minute masterpiece. So put down the controller, pick up your Rolling Rock, head over to Cinemassacre.com and strap yourself in for something out of the ordinary.