Saturday, December 06, 2014

"The Replacement" by Brenna Yovanoff: Too much Teenage Angst and Too Little Terror

Brenna Yovanoff's "The Replacement" has a very eerie premise. It is about babies being stolen from their cribs and replacements getting left behind mostly to sicken and die. There is an underworld, a thriving metropolis populated by the dead and not - quite dead ruled over by the Morrigan, a creepy little Princess who treats the town of Gentry to hard rock performances which are supposedly beneficial to their mutual health if not the levels of noise pollution.  Finally, a revenant, which is a reanimated corpse turns up to effect a rescue. Yet, despite the promise offered by such macabre conceits, "The Replacement' is less about thrills and chills than it is about teenage angst in all its, underwhelming, pimpled, hormone ravaged glory.
The protagonist, Mackie Doyle is a replacement who managed to survive despite his debilitating allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, complicated exponentially by having a Pastor for his father. When he is not yearning for a normal life he is ogling the breasts or legs of the resident high - school hottie and cursing his luck that her pierced tongue prevents him from fully exploring the wonders of her oral cavity.
Even as Mackie's troubles spiral out of control and he seeks solace in the hawthorne water coughed up by denizens of the underworld who kindly offer him surcease from his allergies in exchange for him joining their band, a potential love interest's sister is kidnapped and her replacement is hastened to an early grave. This prompts Mackie to rise to the occasion by making out with the grieving sibling and discovering his inner hero in time to square off with a dirt witch who fancies herself a God and demands fear or blood sacrifice when she is not playing with live dolls as well as the Cutter, who is a sadist/masochist who enjoys ridding the loved ones of his victims of their digits in order to get them to toe his line.
If all this sounds like a cheesy B- grade horror movie, it is probably because that is exactly what it reads like sans the titillating sight of nubile nymphs baring their cleavage or the clever manipulation of light and sound that make you jump and spill your popcorn.

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