With Remedy’s heavy mixing of live footage in their video games, it should be no secret that the creative team behind Alan Wake 2 loves movies and TV. You shouldn’t take this to mean that the 2023 horror game mimics classic movies and has no identity of its own. On the contrary, Alan Wake 2 exudes originality at every turn.
However, there are definitely some movies and TV shows from which he drew strong inspiration. Not all of the entries below directly influenced the game, but they are essential viewing if you enjoyed Alan Wake 2’s intense dance between reality and fantasy, told through the prism of a terrifying detective story.
1 Twin Peaks
This is perhaps the most obvious thing that has been true since the first Alan Wake in 2010. From the setting in small-town America to the focus on an unexplained mystic, Alan Wake and Twin Peaks feel closely related. In the time between Alan Wake and its sequel, a third season of the show aired called The Return.
This third season is significantly more unsettling and unsettling, the sense that the innocence in the town of Twin Peaks has all but disappeared. The same can be said for the tonal jump from Alan Wake to Alan Wake 2. Alan Wake is dark, but the gameplay is action-focused and the characters are mostly positive despite the horror. Alan Wake 2 is immediately terrifying.
2 Twelve monkeys
Unlike Alan Wake 2, Twelve Monkeys is a sci-fi tale. Still, Terry Gilliam’s films jump from funny to disturbing at a moment’s notice, and are usually wrapped up in a plot that requires repeated viewings to fully understand. Even if they are confusing, they remain extremely entertaining.
Alan Wake 2 offers a similar range of contrasting emotions in rapid succession. Fans of the developer will be grinning at some self-deprecating nods, only to be annoyed by dreary visuals and intrusive sound design moments later.
Alan Wake 2 deals a lot with dreams in its plot and what it is and isn’t. Christopher Nolan fans asked the same questions back in 2010 when Inception hit theaters.
The cerebral story elevates what is already an excellent action thriller into a memorable blockbuster that people are still talking about today. The visuals, in particular, are fantastic at drawing you in.
For Nolan’s further viewing, Memento is a grounded detective story that would also please fans of Alan Wake.
4 The X-Files
In 1993, television viewers were treated to a show unlike any other. The X-Files had the power to terrify viewers with its monsters and alien conspiracy, all within the confines of 1990s television regulations. The relationship between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully evolved over the course of the season from partners to something more romantic.
The quirky FBI agent was put to good use in Twin Peaks and continues here. You can draw a direct line from these two characters to Alex Casey and Saga Anderson with their wisecracking jokes and tendency to drink coffee at the same time.
If you like the way Alan Wake 2 plays with the idea of fantasy, you’ll definitely like Videdrome. The film tells the story of a local television programmer who discovers a channel showing brutal acts of violence. You can see it as a commentary on media violence and its effect on viewers, or simply appreciate how the mystery unfolds.
Like Alan Wake 2, it’s sometimes hard to believe that what’s happening on the screen is really what the characters are seeing and experiencing. Is it real? Does it really matter if it still affects the characters that much?
6 twilight zone
If you’ve ever wondered where the idea for the fictional TV show Night Springs came from, look no further than The Twilight Zone. This 1950s anthology series created by Rod Serling tells stories ranging from the supernatural to science fiction and everything in between.
They usually had some sort of moral behind them or touched on social issues, some of which are still relevant today. Supernatural episodes rarely explain why the strange things happen and more about what it means for the characters.
David Fincher’s detective film was a landmark release in the 1990s with one of the most shocking endings of the decade. Seven established the director’s signature style and set the standard for future crime thrillers.
There’s nothing supernatural here, but if you’re intrigued by Saga’s investigation into the murder cult and their motivations, you’ll certainly appreciate the mystery in Seven. Both Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman also gave stellar performances. The former would work with Fincher a few years later on Fight Club, a film that weaves in and out of reality just like Alan Wake.
8 The eve of Ivan Kupalo
In this 1968 Ukrainian film, a man makes a deal with the devil to live with the woman of his dreams. But in the end he has to sacrifice an innocent child. After a short introduction, the film is told mostly through strong metaphors using Ukrainian folk images.
Just as the woods are a place of mystery and strange happenings in Alan Wake 2, so the woods and mountains are a place of magic in this film. It’s easy to see the film getting a renewed appreciation today with the renaissance of folk horror with films like The Witch and Midsommar, even though it’s not a horror film itself.
9 The silence of the Lambs
If you like serial killer movies, it’s hard to get any better than The Silence of the Lambs. Alan Wake 2 opens with two FBI agents investigating a string of murders in Bright Springs, so you should definitely check this movie out if that storyline brought you to the game.
Unlike many law enforcement movies and shows on this list, the characters in The Silence of the Lambs are more down-to-earth and cold, but that helps them feel real. The iconic Hannibal Lecter doesn’t have any supernatural powers, but his ability to read people might as well.
10 Mulholland Drive
People spend hours upon hours trying to make sense of this David Lynch classic, but never stop to think if they should. You get a lot more satisfaction from just embracing the weirdness and appreciating the characters’ emotional arcs instead of thinking about why any of the things that happened happened.
There is a strong implication in the film that dreams and the dream world play a large part in the plot, along with wishes and fantasies, just like Alan Wake 2 and the titular character’s writing that affects the story.
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