Image via lzuniy YouTube

Until Dawn’s Creators Reveal the Horror Masterpieces That Inspired the Game

Cold winters and desert lodges are perfect for teen slasher movies. Lucky for horror fans, production for the Until Dawn movie is set to be released later this year, and it’s taken inspiration from quite a few horror masterpieces.

Recommended Videos

Until Dawn’s Original Cinematic Inspirations Are The Shining and Psycho

David F. Sandberg, director of Shazam! and Annabelle: Creation, will direct the Until Dawn movie. Screenwriter Gary Dauberman, known for his horror work on It, The Nun, and Anabelle, will also partake in the project. But what about the original game’s horror influences? What inspired the original storyline?

Image of a character from The Shining in the snow in the hedge maze with harsh white light on him. The Shining inspired the Until Dawn producers
Still from The Shining (1980), directed by Stanley Kubrick.

 The 2015 version of the Until Dawn game came with behind-the-scenes footage. The creators discussed the cast, production design, musical score, and more. But the idea behind a group of teens in a cabin far up in the mountains didn’t come out of nowhere. 

The storyline was written by filmmaker and writer Graham Reznick along with Larry Fessenden (filmmaker and owner of Glass Eye Pix). Both had already worked together on several projects; Graham had worked with Ti West on sound production and Larry on different indie horror films. 

“The production design for Until Dawn started with the great teen horror script that sets the characters in a Canadian winter mountain lodge. Being a contemporary setting with visual clues derived from classic films of that genre. Such as Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ and Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Shining’,” Lee Robinson, Production Designer of Until Dawn stated in the footage.

Both The Shining and Psycho plots take place in pretty deserted places. In The Shining, Jack Nicholson’s character takes his family to a resort high up in the Colorado mountains. As the plot gets thicker and more snow begins to fall, he goes crazier, and it becomes clear there’s no way Nicholson and his family are coming out of the Overlook Hotel untouched.

As for Psycho, it’s clear this isn’t a Bates Motel, but there’s an underlying feeling that something unwelcoming is lurking. And it’s only a matter of time before one of the characters goes insane.

In Until Dawn’s case, the story unfolds at one of the characters’ ski lodges in Canada. As one of them puts it, “for their annual Blackwood winter getaway.” The premise is similar: it’s freezing outside, and characters are bound to stay inside and fight their fatal destiny. This makes the characters more vulnerable to their surroundings in their quest to survive.

Of course, these aren’t the game’s only cinematic references. Other horror classics that resemble the game’s plot are Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead and the original Friday the 13th saga. On a side note, actress Hayden Panettiere, who plays final girl Samantha “Sam” Giddings, also played Kirby Reeds in Scream 4

The movie adaptation of Until Dawn is set to release later in 2024. 

The Escapist is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of JP Villar
JP Villar
Juan Pablo (JP) is a reality TV and documentary lover. JP’s background is in film and TV production, and he is currently a voice actor in the making. Aside from writing, JP likes to keep up with his tennis game (in his head, he’s a pro, but he’s still very much learning). He likes to curate and tailor his watch guides and recommendations when it comes to TV shows and movies. His first encounters with gaming date from the days of Habbo, Pet Society, Dofus, and SIMS—the latter probably being one of his favorites. Before contributing as a freelance entertainment writer for Escapist, JP’s work was also featured in Collider.