Boy’s Night: An Extreme Horror by Wrath James White and Matt Shaw
CreateSpace (June 2017)
91 pages, $7.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre
I generally dig Wrath James White. Both The Ressurectionist and 400 Days of Oppression held sly, unique takes on what usually qualifies as “Hardcore” or “Extreme” horror. I don’t really know anything about Matt Shaw, but this is the book Amazon dumped from their catalog until the cover was redesigned, so I had to buy it, though it has been returned with a different cover.
Unfortunately, it failed to live up to my expectations.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty well done with rape, especially in my Hardcore fiction. It’s a cheap path to being EXTREME or to show that you are dealing with REALLY BAD GUYS, rarely done with any real emotional impact. For the most part, it’s boring. It certainly was here.
It doesn’t help that this feels like a cheap I Spit on Your Grave clone right from the start. Even worse, it slides into another overused cliché I won’t detail here, since it would spoil the big midpoint twist—even if said twist isn’t that surprising.
Really, though, what kills this story is the lack of depth and character. Everyone is a one-dimensional cutout punched from the paper doll stereotype machine. Clearly, there wasn’t time to establish any sort of humanity or give us a reason to care about anyone involved when there was action to jump into. There was, however, plenty of time to spend pages practically yelling neon street-sign explanations of why all of this is important and what it all means.
I hate being mean, and I usually don’t bother writing reviews on indie works which come across this poorly, but this type of story stands as a solid example of what is going wrong with “Hardcore” and “Extreme” horror right now. Too many purveyors kick out basically this same thing and proclaim it to be too EXTREME for the masses, when it’s really just empty fodder.