When The Quarry starts, the player is locked into their journey via the truly terrible decisions of a bunch of hormone-riddled teens. Hackett’s Quarry is the site of a summer camp, and the young Hacketteers have all packed up and gone home. Now, it’s night, and the counselors are stranded in the quarry along with gore-soaked monsters, ominous hunters, and mysterious dead bodies. It’s a great formula for a campy horror story full of chills and thrills. But the real draw isn’t the teen counselors — it’s the much more interesting adult cast.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Quarry.
The Quarry starts with a series of very silly decisions. It’s quite similar to watching a protagonist slowly descend into the dark basement in a horror movie; you know it’s a bad call, but you can’t stop any of it. One of the camp counselors, an insecure himbo named Jacob, decides to sabotage their ride out of there in the hope of using an extra night with no adult supervision to romance a girl. Things quickly go horribly wrong.
The player controls the teens as they start their epic bonfire, survive a few initial attacks, and then make a plan to escape the quarry and get to safety. But there’s more to the foreboding monster attacks than it first appears. As it turns out, the Hackett family are at the heart of it all. And these characters — brothers Chris (David Arquette) and Travis (Ted Raimi) and the family’s matriarch Constance (Lin Shaye) and patriarch Jedediah (Lance Henriksen) — are the best part of the game.
Hackett’s Quarry, you see, is cursed. The family is hiding a big werewolf problem, and the Hacketts don’t particularly want anyone else to get hurt. The summer camp isn’t a trick or trap; it was established as a legitimate endeavor, and leader Chris Hackett is horrified when he realizes that the kids will be staying for an extra night during the full moon. The teen counselors have no idea what’s going on — they’re more interested in their love interests and personal drama.
Further complicating things is the fact that Travis Hackett, the local sheriff, has been meddling with the camp and its operations. When two counselors, Laura and Max, showed up to camp a night early and risked discovering the whole secret, Travis illegally imprisoned both of them for two months. As the teens begin to unravel the quarry’s secrets, it seems like the Hacketts are the game’s antagonists, and they kind of are — they’ve definitely made a lot of bad choices!
But in their own way, they’re just the victims of bad choices made by stupid kids years ago. Chris’ two kids were the first werewolves infected, and it’s since spread throughout the family, who are determined, in turn, to protect them from the outside world and anyone who would hurt them.
There are seven main counselors for players to control, and much of the game’s early groundwork is dedicated to building them up. But as someone who’s 31 and pays taxes, I was much more invested in the adult cast. There are small scenes that humanize them, despite their terrible curse. There are complex family dynamics at play, the type that can only really develop when you have responsibilities and duties more pressing than “updating Instagram” and “getting into college.”
The Hacketts, depending on the choices the player makes, are doomed to varying degrees. There’s no clean ending where they make it out happy with no consequences; this is a family that has kept their skeletons well hidden, and when they finally come tumbling out of the closet, there’s no clean resolution.
Ted Raimi also knocks the role of Travis Hackett out of the park. He’s the first Hackett who really shows up to play a sizable role in the story; while Chris Hackett is familiar with the teens, he’s mysterious to the player. Travis, on the other hand, is in the game’s intro and reappears as soon as the horror really gets started. He wears the authority of a cop with a little too much comfort, and he’s grown casually cruel as his family’s curse wears on him.
If the early scenes of boisterous teens wanting to kiss and gossip turned you off The Quarry, it’s worth returning for the game’s grown-up cast. They’re much less flippant, and their compelling performances are what really drew me into the mysteries of Hackett’s Quarry.