WARNING POSSIBLY, MAYBE, SOMETHING THAT ONE COULD DEEM A SPOILER AHEAD.
What constitutes a spoiler? How many dust jackets give far to many details of the plot or story away? How many movie trailers hook you by showing key pieces of information to lure you into watching?
Discussing Tamer Animals without spoiling the book is a difficult task I will attempt to undertake, but all the while wondering if I am indeed giving too many details away.
Woodward’s third published book is the most firmly in horror fiction. “Variant” and “Candy” are sci-fi action pieces that would fit alongside “Minority Report” if put to film. “Tamer Animals” is a far more brutal book mixing all essential elements of horror into one story.
Local teenagers going on a camping trip is a tried and true formula for horror. Woodward utilizes this formula without it becoming a trope by defining interesting, well rounded (i.e. imperfect, i.e. human) characters.
Here is where we get to the possible spoiler and the questions I keep asking myself: Is it a spoiler to say that there is a twist? Surely people continue to see M. Night Shamylan movies knowing there will be a twist, but still flock to them. So, consider yourself spoiled, but intrigued.
There is a major twist that merges Brian Keene’s “Dark Hallow” with **classic horror film that must go unnamed in order to preserve not completely spoiling the story***.
Such an extreme twist and tonal change is a major risk at alienating readers and Woodward made the risk with “Tamer Animals” and shows huge amount of confidence with such a move.
Taking the “local creature myth” in a new direction, “Tamer Animals” is Woodward’s best work to date.