Haunted by the ghost of his dead older sister, Eli decides to defy the emergency evacuation orders and travel out to the old lighthouse to finally put his sister’s spirit to rest—even if it kills him.
But the arrival of the incredibly angry, green-haired Max on Shackles Island changes everything. She has her own spirits to lay to rest and, like Eli, her own secrets to keep. The standoff between the two white teens is interrupted by the arrival of the violent and superstitious Odenkirks, a white family whose brand of backwoods Christianity has its own twisted justice. When they steal something of value to Max, the two decide to travel deep into the swamps to retrieve it. The only problem is that a hurricane is quickly approaching. Trapped on an island with no way off, they must decide whether to risk their lives for the very people determined to kill them. Investigating the many twisting roads that grief can take, this story set deep in the Louisiana bayou is both thoughtful and provocative. The rising water and the Odenkirks’ insanity make for a high-pitched tension that becomes unbearable at times, however. While the grief both Eli and Max feel is real and palpable, the depiction of the Odenkirk family is pure crazy, cheapening the effect.
A Category 5 drama that’s not without flaws but that has plenty of heart. (Fiction. 12-16)