Sunday, August 1, 2010
Review of THE STRAIN by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Nosferatu meets CSI.
Vampire literature thrives on contrast. Victorian readers once yawned at bizarre doings in Carpathian Mountains but shivered when Bram Stoker’s Dracula appeared in the city of London. Legions of writers have since inflamed this contrast until it has become positively bi-polar, giving us bloodsuckers as southern gentlemen, little girls, rebellious teenagers, space aliens and a even a librarian. And now worms. Well, why not.
The authors were perhaps over-enthused with the possibilities presented by Vampires, endowing them with so many physiological horrors that a biologically confusing monster emerges. But they are entirely clear in one regard: sex. Vampire tales usually slide easily into sex and sexiness but there’s nothing remotely sexy about these creatures; they are simply repulsive. As it should be, too.
I would have enjoyed more surprises and plot twists, but the story rips along just fine and dialogue is expertly executed. There is much unnatural ghastliness here, and a couple scenes that are stunningly revolting.
The Strain is frighteningly well written and a compelling read.