Behrg Reviews: Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
"No matter how bleak or dire, end-of-the-world scenarios appeal to us because we take meaning from the end."
Full disclosure, I was hesitant going into this read. I loved Tremblay's Head Full of Ghosts, but Disappearance at Devil Rock just didn't connect with me. With such divisive feedback I'd been hearing on this one, I knew it was something I wanted to tackle, knowing it would be a coin flip as to love or hate. Thankfully, this coin landed right side up.
First, let me state this book will not be for everyone. Fans of cosmic big end-of-the-world stakes novels will likely feel this is too small. But that's the point. This is a "low-budget" horror scenario. One location. No special effects (other than a lot of blood). The focus is on characters and a premise that is so bizarre you could see it playing out in real life--a bunch of strangers arrive at a cabin with a vacationing family claiming the family needs to sacrifice someone or the world will end. Then they prove their commitment to this "prophecy" in the most gruesome of ways.
What I loved about this book is the constant questioning that naturally arises, are these people insane or is there something behind their twisted proposal? Something that can't be understood on an intellectual level but that still strikes a chord deep inside those fighting for their lives? The craft with which this jigsaw puzzle was put together is on full display and elevates the premise in a way only an accomplished author can. Tremblay may be keeping this one small in scope, but the decisions he makes are bold and purposeful. He goes where the story takes him, and though it leads to a completely perfect conclusion, you're also in awe that he goes that far and yet stays just clear of going further. This story is a delicate balance, and the line is walked brilliantly.
A great example of what quiet horror should be, while still delivering the shocking moments and blood and gore horror fans might expect. There's a lot to unpack here, but this is a cabin worth visiting.