Immortality: The Pinnacle of Found Footage Media
Spoilers for the game Immortality
The Blair Witch Project was a formative piece of media. I was eight years old when I first saw it. Not only was I too young, I was told that the story actually happened; by the movie and my friend. I spent a good chunk of the movie with my eyes hiding behind my hands. However, I will never forget the final scene of a man standing in a corner as some unspeakable horror attacked the lead.
In 2011, a different friend introduced me to Marble Hornets, a found footage YouTube series that scared me to the core. I was a perfect target due to my natural proclivity for paranoia while living in a wooded area. Slenderman could be hiding behind any tree and that gave me goosebumps.
In 2022 I experienced the best found footage media of all time; Immortality.
In my first few hours I thought this game was a simple mystery. “What happened to Marissa Marcel?” was my driving goal. I sifted through clips of Marissa during three different film productions that gave me an intimate look behind the scenes of each production. Discordant music would play on some clips. The sound clued me into something important but I could not figure out how to unlock the secrets.
Then I rewound the film.
In the third film, 2 of Everything, Marissa’s character Maria was in a motion capture room doing a T-pose. She performed the character’s signature dance to the title song 2 of Everything. I rewound the footage thinking it would be funny seeing her dance backward.
I saw a ghostly figure in the footage.
I freaked the fuck out. “Who the fuck is this angel looking motherfucker?” Was my first response. The game unlocked for me. I was lured into a false sense of security and the game destroyed the foundation under my feet. Every single clip was a new opportunity for some unsettling fright.
Immortality kept its cards close to the chest. If the marketing advertised the horror, the sense that something supernatural was happening, I wouldn’t have been scared. There are no jumpscares in the game, not in the traditional sense, but every piece of film turned sinister. The acetate of film was possessed. A psychic force achieved immortality by residing in the film. This was the ultimate Creepypasta game.
However, Immortality’s themes elevate the game above a lost SpongeBob SquarePants episode story. It asks fundamental questions about the creation of art. One scene centers all important conflict in the world to Law vs Artist. Those who desire law bend and destroy people at their will. Whereas artists use healing and creation to form the world. This conflict was exemplified by the relationship between The One (the woman pretending to be Marissa) and The Other One (a man who is like The One).
The Other One believed there should be rules to limit the interactions between them and the humans. He hated humans and called them “monkeys flinging shit”. He despised the act of creating stories and came into conflict with The One at various points. His anger formed from their failed attempt at evaluating humanity. He and The One created the Christian story to teach humans about sacrifice, pain, and love.
They failed because the story was warped and twisted by successive generations of humans. Humanity’s mortality exploits the critical weakness of the story. The One and the Other One couldn’t conceive of the possibility of the story being falsely retold. They thought the imagery would transcend any interpretations regardless of time. Like all art, that was impossible.
Later, The One discovered a love for movies. She saw it as magical despite knowing the exact chemical reactions of how film works. Through movies, she attempted to create immortality through art. As the years went on she realized that others destroy the process of healing art. Directors Author Fischer and John Durick were agents of Law instead of Art. They force young women into a mold of their desires. If a woman didn’t work out they would discard them as trash.
Every attempt by Fake Marissa to create an ascendant story ended in failure. As I progressed through the movies I saw Fake Marissa exert more control over the productions. 2 of Everything stars Marissa in the two lead roles. She transformed into an auteur and the stress of creating destroyed her body. As the strain wore on her she became erratic and demanding of her crew. The conflict between Law and being an Artist pulled her apart.
Her final act was to immortalize herself forever with her magnum opus. She was burned into the film which let me perceive her. At the end of the game, she looked at me and told me, “I’m a part of you now.”
From the moment I first saw her, Fake Marissa became a part of me. She is a part of anyone who reads this piece. The ideas she holds transferred to an audience that played the game. She is out in the wild now, possessing those that have interacted with the footage.
Metatextually, she, more specifically Sam Barlow and Half Mermaid, have put themselves on the artistic “chain”. Fake Marissa described a “chain” of artistic progression. Inspiration begets inspiration. Immortality is on the chain of artistic progression for video games and found footage media. Artists who have experienced this work will be influenced by Immortality.
Watching the Blair Witch Project, Marble Hornets, various other found footage films, reading creepy pasta, and playing Her Story and Telling Lies put me in the right places to absorb Immortality. The artistic chain led me to writing this piece. Immortality’s success comes from an examination of artistic creation. It is rare for a piece of media to nail self reflection; Immortality did it with majestic and frightening grace.