Book Review – The Cabin at The End of The World by Paul Tremblay

We’ve surely all imagined the same kind of relaxing, fantasy weekend. While there might be some subtle differences to our individual plans, I’m sure you’d all agree that if that weekend included time spent in a remote cabin set by the side of a beautiful lake in the company of your nearest and dearest, that’d probably just about hit the spot, right?

Well, let me be the first to warn you, when you get this relaxing break, if I guy called Leonard turns up looking all friendly make your excuses, abandon your utopian weekend and run as fast as you can!

Wen is 7 years old and after a tough start in life, seems to have very much found her feet. Wen was adopted as a baby by her now dads, Eric and Andrew and moved halfway across the world from China to a new life full of love in Boston. There have been bumps in the road along the way, but now, as a big girl she’s settled in school, has friends, is making decisions of her own and enjoying quite the fulsome life. These trips to the countryside are common place nowadays and it’s good for her, daddy Eric and daddy Andrew to get away from the stress of city life and spend some quality time exploring the wilds of New Hampshire together. And then, while she’s having a ton of fun catching and naming grasshoppers in the garden in front of the cabin, that guy called Leonard shows up.

Leonard is a giant (not literally), but although she’s a bit unsure, Wen isn’t scared. Despite his size, Leonard is friendly and even helps her find more grasshoppers. He helps her name them too. Stranger danger briefly crosses her mind but before she knows it she’s chatting away to him and discussing school, her hatred of broccoli and her upcoming two birthday parties, like they’ve been friends for years. In fact, after a short while, she decides that she and Leonard now actually are friends. And that’s when, Leonard’s other friends turn up. Three of them, armed with what can only be described as terrifying home made weapons.

From here on in ‘The Cabin at The End of The World’ picks up the pace and never really slows down again. Brilliantly written, this thriller has more than enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end. Dystopia, horror, fear, tension and violence; it’s all here and it’s packed into every page.

However, ‘The Cabin at The End of The World’ is much much more than just a bloodfest. In fact, in terms of blood there’s relatively little to go around. The horror and the thrills here are largely psychological and despite the obvious presence of the bad guys, it’s difficult to really dislike any of the characters. While Leonard and his friends are certainly threatening you’ll find yourself listening to their reasons for being there and as certain things happen, maybe even beginning to believe their schtick.

Brilliantly though, every time you lower your guard, Tremblay add a new twist and you’re forced, breathless, to reconsider your view of what’s unfolding in front of you. When you think a safe status quo has been settled upon, Tremblay reminds you that it’s anything but. And when you think that you can definitely see what’s coming next, he throws some metaphorical mud in your eye so that you can’t see for a while longer and by the time you’ve cleared it away, things have changed.

It’s hard to decide whether Leonard and his friends are part of a very sophisticated cult or whether they themselves have actually been duped. Each one of the four carry a subtle menace, while maintaining an air of friendliness, making them both the subject of our suspicion and loathing as well as a group of people that we could see ourselves easily getting along with. It’s a sign that ‘The Cabin at The End of The World’ is a real winner when not only does the reader fall for the charms of the obviously wonderful Wen but they also see possible friends in three of the four bad guys.

‘The Cabin at The End of The World’ is a brilliant read. A real page turner where just when you think you’ve got a handle on what’s going on, the rug is pulled from under you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a thriller or horror fan at all; this is just a fantastic book. You’re engaged from the very start and you have great characters, a hint of dystopia, elements of horror and the sheer thrill of what will happen next to keep you going. And at the heart of it all there’s just a really good story. I loved reading ‘The Cabin at The End of The Word’ and would give it…

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Film Review: Overlord

OVERLORD | British Board of Film Classification

If you’ve ever wondered what the world would have looked like if Germany had triumphed in World War II, you may well have come up with some or all of the following answers.

  • Lots and lots of blonde, blue eyed people, like an incredibly efficient version of Baywatch. (Ironically, given his dark hair, David Hasselhoff would still have had a place because of the affection that he’s held in in Germany. He did, after all, single-handedly bring down the Berlin Wall).
  • Trains that ran on time. All of the time.
  • The obligatory picture of the family in ledherhosen on every mantelpiece.
  • Lots and lots of mullets.
  • Everybody can take a penalty, whatever the pressure. (This is a football gag…soccer, if you’re not familiar with what football actually is).
  • Of course I jest. The world wouldn’t look anything like this generalised tuetonic view…

What you probably wouldn’t have imagined though, would have been any supercharged zombies. But then, you probably haven’t watched ‘Overlord’.

Directed by Julius Avery and starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell and Mathilde Olivier, Overlord tells the tale of an American army units’ seemingly doomed mission to take out a vital communications tower prior to the D Day landings. We find our heroes in a plane, heading for Northern France and a remote village where the Nazis have set up some kind of communications hub in an old church. As you do. If the allied troops are to succeed on the beaches of Normandy this tower needs to be taken out. If it’s not, then the Nazis will be able to intercept allied radio communication and will inevitably be slaughtered. Over to you, American heroes.

However, when their plane comes under heavy artillery fire and ends up in flames you realise that this is going to be in no way a straightforward tale of big ol’ Uncle Sam saving the day. A bit like WWII, really. But, some of our parachuting heroes survive – I mean, it’d have been a short film otherwise – and head towards the target village in order to complete their mission. Game on!

If you, rightly, thought that Hitler’s plans for the Aryan race were unpalatable, then you’d be truly horrified by what our heroes find in the village and subsequently the church.

Overlord marries a dystopian vision with some of the most warped elements of horror to give us a quite absurd, yet compelling twist on the classic war film. You’ll find tons of clichés, heroes, villains, a little bit of glamour in the form of French villager Chloe played by Mathilde Olivier, but you’ll also find jump scares aplenty and a horrifically warped version of what the Reich were cooking up – literally – via their crazed scientists. Is it believable? Well, no. Is it watchable? Hell, yes!

Overlord is no emotional roller coaster. There are no life-changing performances here. However, it’s sure to keep you gripped and brighten up a dull day with its sometimes utterly fantastical plot.

If you’re not too bothered about realism, if you enjoy a bit of gore and if you fancy a war film with a twist, then Overlord is very definitely worth a couple of hours of your time.

I give Overlord

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