22 June 2019

Review || Howl by Renee Miller


monstrous cartoon teeth covered in bloodThree friends, an empty fuel tank, a desolate dirt road, and a hike through the woods in the middle of a snow storm; what could go wrong?

Only everything.


A mysterious beast stalks Fred and his friends through the snow, forcing them to seek shelter with two strangers in a remote cabin.


And so begins a waiting game. Food dwindles, tempers flare, and survival of the fittest becomes more than just a saying as the beast closes in.


The premise of Howl is a story that you've seen and heard a hundred times. There's nothing new in being stranded and finding refuge in a lone cabin in the middle of nowhere. I'm sure you can think of at least five horror movies right off the top of your head that start out this way: middle of nowhere, no way to call for help, and a killer on the loose. You know the drill. Renee Miller hasn't reinvented the wheel, but what she has done is taken a common trope and tricked it out. 

When three friends decide to road trip to a convention they attend every year, then get stranded on the road with an empty tank of gas during a snowstorm, what better thing to do than go traipsing through the woods with no sense of direction? Once realizing they are being stalked by strange creatures, a cabin in the woods looks like the perfect place to hole up. What happens next is bathed in blood and gore as one by one, they fall prey to the beasts outside.  

Howl is a brutal, bloody take on the duality of nature and the beast within. It's dark and violent and filled with cringe-worthy sexual imagery. There is no holding back as it's all there in broody, Jekyll and Hyde technicolor. As the beast takes over, the line between right and wrong blurs. What do you do when the devil isn't on your shoulder? What do you do when the devil is you?