I honestly found Heart Shaped Box genuinely scary, but I should preface this by saying that I am a complete and utter whimp. I have to seriously consider whether it’s worth the disturbed sleep to watch above a 15 film. So die hard horror fans may disagree entirely with me when I say it was terrifying – even laugh at me- but oh well.
The whole story reminded me a little bit like a cross between Stephen King (to make an obvious comparison) and Gillian Flynn- sort of horror meets sinister small town America. The basic concept: Jude, an aging rocker with a fascination with collecting the macabre, buys a ghost online. It, unsurprisingly, turns out to be a Bad Idea because both Jude and the ghost have a past in an America that is not built up New York.
Heart Shaped Box is actually the second Joe Hill book I’ve read- the first being Horns back in maybe 2012- and I saw a lot of the same supernatural elements that I don’t usually think I’ll enjoy but just work in this context. I think I found the concept of seeing the ghost of a strange old man more creepy than the scare of being chased down by him, but mainly because Jude’s ghost starts off so understated that’s it’s hard not to be creeped out by him. It’s not flawless, and some part are fairly melodramatic, but I did find myself hurrying home in the dark while reading it and being freaked out by shadows.