Usually I would tackle each story individually but there are so many in this anthology I’m going to have to attempt to write an overall opinion. When I came into this, I was expecting the dark and horrifying. A few may have hit the note. But the way a lot of them are told almost relies on someone dying for there to be any horror, chill, or thrill.
The first one, although we’ve seen the dream horror stuff before, actually fit the bill. One story that I wasn’t particularly into, the stalker and the blue dress, could pass as a psychological thriller. A lot of the rest though sorta felt like regular storytelling and because murder or deceit was involved they were supposed to come across as horrifying. But, instead, they were just ordinary short stories about identity crisis and questioning what’s human and even infidelity all mostly leading to murder. A lot of these things happen all the time in life so it didn’t come across as chilling, dark or horrifying.
Like the one story with the runaway. It was nice but finding it horrifying was hard. One person is a murderer, this person rescued the other guy and, without spending enough time together to form Stockholm syndrome, he’s magically dependent on the guy? And that sums it up. A lot of them read like this. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with them, but as far as what the blurb promised they didn’t really dig into the dark corners of my mind.
Also, the further I got in, it became harder and harder to understand some of the twist endings. The book is only 90 pages. I can clean that out fairly fast as an average paced reader, but it took me two days. A lot of that was due to rereading to make sense of sudden endings or plot twists so I could find something in the story that could answer all the questions. The further in I got the more this happened until it became a challenge to read.
I guess, for me, a lot of the lead up to the supposed horrifying parts of the story just read as regular storytelling/narration. I was expecting to be less confused and infinitely more disturbed than I walked away feeling.
I get the impression that because of how all these stories end that within itself was supposed to up the psychological horror factor but that’s kind of like the difference between gore horror films and psychological and paranormal thrillers. Blood and guts have instant creep factor but it’s not as long-lasting as the psychological and suspense variety. And speaking of paranormal, I got the feeling especially with a few of the earlier stories as I remember them best, that they were paranormal but couldn’t figure out where or how, so that gets chucked into the confusing pile.
This was a struggle to read and I really thought I’d enjoy it, but stories about coveting someone else’s life, infidelity, self-identity crises’ and the like didn’t live up to the creepy, disturbing, makes me slightly uncomfortable feeling I went into this expecting. A lot of the stories I’m even having trouble recalling because I sorta floated through them.
Some people might find this sort of thing entertaining. Maybe a lot of people, but if they’re coming in for the dark, creepy, psychologically twisted and more than just a little bit disturbing, it might just miss the mark for them.