Black Mirror: Playtest
October 21, 2016 9:09 AM - Season 3, Episode 2 - Subscribe

A young backpacker (played by Wyatt Russell) spends his final days abroad earning some money testing a video game that blows his mind.
posted by AceRock (12 comments total)
This was very good horror direction (the horror concepts kept escalating, from the named jump scares, to conspiracy to ego destruction, etc) in the service of a so-so script (it's basically a grimdark shaggydog joke)
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 PM on October 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

Or, it's Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, but with less irony.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:22 AM on October 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I tend to agree with paper chromatologist above; I have read this story as Owl Creek Bridge and seen it on screen as Jacob's Ladder, plus a dozen descendants of each. It was entirely passable entertainment but was the only episode of Black Mirror that I would not recommend as a starting point to anyone else who wanted to sample the series.

On another note, I learned that Wyatt Russell is the son of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, and good lord does he look like a combination of the two of them.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:06 PM on October 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

This was just a few more fleshspiders and a slightly phallic, fleshy veiny knife away from being a Cronenberg movie.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:58 PM on October 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Found this a bit too much like just a horror movie with a Black Mirror ending tacked on. My wife said the moral was "call your mum". I think it's "don't do beta testing of stuff that plugs into your brain".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:59 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

But if he'd called his mom, he would've been fine 😊
posted by a strong female character at 5:46 PM on October 24, 2016

I laughed so much at the "Would you kindly..." line. The repeated still-in-the-dream/simulation fake-outs are so tired as to be expected by now though.
posted by comealongpole at 5:46 PM on October 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

Ha, yes I noticed the "would you kindly" too, right when the woman wanted to test if he'd do everything she asked him to. It's a reference to Bioshock, for those that didn't get it.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:08 AM on October 25, 2016

Way too much time spent on Wiley Russell getting like totally freaked out man by spiders and spooky paintings, like he's at Disneyland losing his mind because there's Goofy standing right there!! And (spoiler for episode 5) Men Against Fire has a similar technological premise and does something a lot more interesting with it.

Cute ending, though.
posted by theodolite at 8:17 AM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Dan "10 Cloverfield Lane" Trachtenberg directed this episode
posted by rhizome at 9:54 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think this is the first Black Mirror episode wherein I've actively rooted against the protagonist. I can't tell if that's the point.
posted by HeroZero at 7:13 PM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

> This was just a few more fleshspiders and a slightly phallic, fleshy veiny knife away from being a Cronenberg movie.

Yeah, I can think of a good safeword (well, short phrase, really) he could've shouted out when the game needed to be... paused.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 1:09 PM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

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