My greatest fear is the ocean. I enjoy swimming, but my adventures in water are strictly limited to the domestic. My open-water terror is borne of a combination of its impenetrable, stygian depths; its demonic fishy denizens; and the silent scream that is death by drowning.
All of this (minus the sea creatures, but they're down there somewhere, dammit) makes Sortie en mer by Ben Strebel and commercial house Wanda Digital/Grouek the most terrifying thing I've sat through in months. Essentially a drowning simulator, it puts you into the first-person view of a sailing enthusiast as he gets knocked overboard. Playing like a more energetic version of Andrew Traucki's "G" entry in The ABCs of Death, you scroll frantically in order to stay afloat, but no matter how hard you scroll, you will eventually succumb to fatigue and drown. Just like in real water!
Some have labeled Sortie en mer a game, but I'd hesitate to do so. It does resemble games at its most basic level - it's essentially a long quick-time-event cutscene whose outcome inevitability mirrors that of death itself - but it's more of an interactive short film, using basic interactivity to prolong or hasten the ending. Regardless of what medium it falls under, it's primally scary. It made me shield my eyes lest I see the abyss staring back.
Like an increasing volume of interesting media experiments, Sortie en mer ("A Trip Out To Sea") starts as an artistic piece, then transitions through "gruelling public service announcement" before revealing its true identity as a commercial for Guy Cotten yachtwear. Most commercials present a nice carrot waiting at a nearby store; this one drowns you with salty, liquid stick. In a world where even our feature films are commercials, I guess it's a little heartening to see that straight-up commercials can take risks in tone and form.
So next time you go out to sea, make sure you're wearing only Guy Cotten yachtwear. Otherwise, you will fall overboard, lose energy and drown. Horribly.