Archive of ‘Thriller’ category

Sneakpeek (4): Who-ology Review (S1: 9,10)

I love writing these Doctor Who reviews. Here’s a piece from my upoming review, which you can find over at Reel World Theology sometime this month. Follow me on Twitter @Laura_Fissel, or Reel World Theology @ReelWorldTheo to make sure you catch the whole thing when it’s released! BE WARNED: SPOILERS GALORE. 

CHILD [OC]: Mummy? Mummy? Please let me in, mummy. Please let me in, mummy.
(A little hand comes through the letter box.)
DOCTOR: Are you all right?
CHILD [OC]: Please let me in.
(Nancy throws something that breaks, and the hand withdraws.)
NANCY: You mustn’t let him touch you!
DOCTOR: What happens if he touches me?
NANCY: He’ll make you like him.
DOCTOR: And what’s he like?
NANCY: I’ve got to go.
DOCTOR: Nancy, what’s he like?
NANCY: He’s empty.
This is the fulcrum of the story. Our “big bad” here (Whedon reference: check) is this child, once a little boy named Jamie. Nancy warns the Doctor that though the boy looks alive, he is actually a hollow, dangerous thing that can pass his condition to others by touch. Throughout the episode, we watch as this “empty child” searches for his origin (“are you my mummy?”). Each time he instinctively reaches out to connect, he only manages to spread his emptiness. The Doctor discovers a whole hospital full of people to whom this has happened. They all bear the same head-trauma, scar on their hand, and gas mask that is not covering their face as much as it has become their face. They are an extension of “Jamie,” who unwittingly controls them all.

What better setting to explore real-world brokeness than WWII-era London, at the height of the London Blitz? The city is dark and dust-covered. Sirens are wailing, warning people to get to bomb shelters. The troubled Nancy is surrounded by starving kids. The four-year-old Jamie, now our “empty child,” was killed. Even as Moffat takes us into a fictional story about aliens and time travel, the historical setting presents the undeniable reality that mankind’s brokenness has catastrophic consequences.

Review: GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn

This review may contain spoilers.

I think I am discovering that I’m not a huge fan of thrillers. Oh, they keep me obsessed, interested, enthralled, on the edge of my seat. But at the end, they leave me feeling either disgusted or empty. Maybe both.

I’m not sure I feel anything but disgust at the human condition after this read. That’s not necessarily an indictment of the book.

I only had it for 48 hours on audiobook, once I was available to listen to it, so I binge-listened. Maybe that was the problem: you can only take so much description of evil and depravity at one time? It should come with a “take only in small doses” label? I’m just spit-balling here.

The mystery was not readily predictable (because the characters were more insane than you imagined they could be). It was effectively shocking. The voices of the narrating characters were very distinct and well crafted–all versions of them, since they play different versions of themselves. It felt real. It was compellingly written. The uses of language were appropriate for the story: drastic, visceral, bold, unapologetic. It was darkly funny–humor tucked into the dank wasteland of the unfolding events. So, those were qualities that kept me going.

Gone Girl presents a very bleak outlook on love and on humanity. The book is rife with characters, even the outwardly-“good” ones, who are horrifyingly dark, even evil. It left such a bad taste in my mouth that I want to disparage it as being “needlessly, exaggeratedly dark,” but maybe that’s the point: we tend to think better of ourselves than we ought. The darkness in us cannot be exaggerated. Even the nicest, most put-together of us have a sliver of ice in our hearts.

I am very intrigued to see what the movie does with the story. One would hope that with David Fincher’s record, he would be able to handle this kind of content, keeping the effect intact. Can the filmmakers, can the audience, stand to have this level of depravity represented? Or will we get a redemptive side of the story–convincing us all that we’re really not that bad after all?

I would recommend the read if you’re into this kind of genre. But it’s pretty dark and graphic.