Well this book ripped my jaded, horror-loving heart out and showed it to me.
This is the second book by Paul Tremblay that has hurt my feelings. The first being A Head Full of Ghosts published in 2016. While both books give us an intimate and ultimately heart rending family drama with ambiguous endings, they are very different stories. Cabin centers on seven year old Wen and her dads Eric and Andrew. The family has traveled to the titular cabin as part of a getaway to celebrate Wen’s upcoming eighth birthday. Naturally the cabin has no cell service. As Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, she is approached by Leonard who at first seems friendly but is followed shortly thereafter by three companions carrying menacing looking weapons. Wen races inside to warn her dads. While the four have no intention to harm the family they have a proposition that Eric, Andrew and Wen must listen to. What follows is a tense and possibly earth shattering negotiation with an ending that is both unexpected and inevitable.
The book is short so I don’t want to give too much away. I will tell what doesn’t happen. This little family does not turn on itself under the strain of the extreme stress of the situation which was what I smugly predicted at the beginning. They struggle with their situation and with their captors but their family bonds are never strained. That makes the ensuing encounter so much more suspenseful and intense that your standard “encounter with crazies.” Their invaders are also unique in that, for reasons that become quickly obvious, they don’t want to be doing what they are doing but they clearly feel they have no choice.
Given enough free time, I could have easily zipped through this book in a couple of days, pausing only when I needed to take a short break from the sheer intensity of it. I highly recommend it to any fans of horror, especially horror that punches you in your feelings.