Title: One Eye Open.
Writer(s): Alex Grecian.
Publisher: TKO Studios.
Release Date: May 3rd 2022.
My Overall Rating:
Death has a way of reorganizing a person’s conception of life in dramatic and visceral ways. It can bring some together just like it can break relationships for others. Sometimes, it’s much simpler to run away from it all, to find a sanctuary in the unknown, isolated from familiar grounds and individuals that bring up painful memories. Sometimes, it’s also easier to simply retrace your steps and find refuge in your roots, to a place where everything began, where comfort surges within every fiber of your body at the mere thought of being there. While they both offer an opportunity to rebuild yourself, the latter might also open up a whole world that is sometimes best left undisturbed. Writer Alex Grecian (The Yard, The Saint of Wolves and Butchers) teams up with artist Andrea Mutti (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, DMZ) to deliver a novella about coming home and the monsters that reside there.
What is One Eye Open about? Following the sudden passing of her mother, Laura brings her daughter Juniper back to her childhood home, far away from their place, detached from civilization, in the rural outskirts of Denmark. Praying that this decision as a single mom will allow them both to heal from their recent loss and leave behind the unexpected tragedy, Laura and Juniper are welcomed by peculiar residents. As Juniper notices something mysterious about the inhabitants, she quickly makes an odd discovery which leads her to innocently destroy the calm and peace envisioned for her mother and herself. The town thus reveals its horrifying secrets hidden within the endless fields of wheat as something occult brews in the shadows.
“Not just easy, it would be the right thing to do. Just to give herself an edge. But she didn’t.”— Alex Grecian
Writer Alex Grecian brings forth a mystifying and tense story that measuringly increases in suspense as he delves right into the emotional state of his characters and their desire to be back in Laura’s hometown. Paced appropriately for a novella, he hints at a supernatural element that permeates the town and slowly increases its presence around the young and impressionable Juniper. Although the relationship between these characters as well as the characterization struggles to be sufficiently profound to captivate readers, it is enough to serve as bait until the obscure and darker aspects of the story crawl out of the pages. Unfortunately, once the occult secrets are revealed, it is done with the staggering knockback of a monster’s cry and shifts the whole narrative to a different tone that remains entertaining but careless in execution, a gory and horrifying tone that hid between the words of this story.
The eeriness of the story remains indisputable, properly accentuated by a couple of lovely (on the bleaker side of the spectrum) illustrations by artist Andrea Mutti. The opportunity to expose intriguing questions about death and grief also makes for a decent thriller but clearly shows that a bit more words to properly explore the horror facet of the narrative would’ve done wonders for this story. Unfortunately, its sudden shift in tone is far too abrupt and disrupts the story’s intrigue, ultimately making the ending unsatisfactory as the reader’s immersion and emotional engagement wavers from the disorder. Fortunately, this novella offers an excellent glimpse into the writer’s style and his grasp of suspense and intrigue as he explores a bit of horror in this latest story. While the story is flawed and could be better knitted, it is a short and entertaining ride.
One Eye Open is a decent yet volatile occult thriller exploring a mother and daughter’s chilling journey back home.