Well, The Strain – where to start?
OK, so a plane lands in New York and kind of just sits on the runway, totally blacked out, no sound, no nothing. Quite creepy. The CDC are called when the plane is opened and everyone on it is found to be dead and nobody knows why or how. Except of course there are one or two who have survived but things don’t look good for them for long. Or indeed for the ones that are already dead.
Then there’s the really big box with the strange carvings and filled with smelly earth which disappears behind everyone’s backs.
Is there a new kind of virus rampaging through New York or is this a more insidious and ancient evil making itself felt?
What do you reckon? Yes, its “Dracula on a Plane”!
Which does seem a bit unfair given I read the second half of this in one sitting on the first Saturday of my holiday and enjoyed it sufficiently to know that I will almost certainly get the sequel when it comes out in paperback next year. You can see the Great Guillermo’s paws all over the plot and the biology (which is lovely and gruesome), and it’s all incredibly easy to visualise.
But it isn’t as original as it thinks it is. Though to be fair maybe it doesn’t think it’s original and is just happily getting on with re-telling an old story in a modern setting with a thriller twist.
And all the thriller elements are definitely here:
- the troubled hero with family problems (divorce, custody battle, on the wagon after manful struggle with alcoholism) tasked with finding out just what we are dealing with here;
- the attractive co-worker who has been/almost certainly wants to continue being more than a friend;
- the old man who is more than he appears, with esoteric knowledge they need, a haunted past and a plan that just might work if only someone would listen to him;
- an ancient evil from the Old Country who is more powerful than you could ever imagine (some great puny mortal moments);
- a man with far too much money and a debilitating illness who will do anything to live forever;
- the friend that isn’t totally on their side and no one finds out until it’s just too late, dammit;
- oh and a range of bureaucrats who do the whole “I can’t believe what you’re telling me, will you listen to yourself” schtick and not much else until it’s all beyond our control.
I can see the mini-series galloping towards me, probably on SyFy. It will be gross if done properly. It will be silly if not. I have already started casting this in my head.
If I was participating in RIP V, then this would have been my first read.