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THE SACRIFICE by Rin Chupeco


by Rin Chupeco

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-72825-591-0
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

A Hollywood TV crew descends upon Kisapmata, a cursed island in the Philippines, to film a show.

Even though the locals will not go there, the cast and crew remain greedily determined to make a blockbuster series focused on the Godseye, a haunted cave at the center of the island where murders have been documented. Reuben Hemslock, a pompous survivalist actor, leads the effort, doggedly bent on the presumed success it will bring to his reputation, which has been tainted by abuse accusations from a number of women. Also present are two executive producers (one with his teen son in tow) and an extensive crew who impose their infrastructure and their cultural chauvinism—“This island is almost perfect….Add a Panera and I’d be all set,”—on the deserted locale. Well, almost deserted. Alon, a local teen known as a “ghost whisperer,” cautiously agrees to be their tour guide in exchange for $10,000 to help his ailing father. Alon warns them that they should not be there, but the crew persists even as danger inevitably strikes. Chupeco creates an environment thick with mystery, full of haunting balete trees and eerie ghost sightings coupled with a legend that dates to Spanish colonization of the Philippines. However, the story remains frustratingly flat due to one-dimensional characterization; the story features deplorable adult characters and a forced chemistry between the two teens. Excepting Alon, all characters are presumed White; Alon is nonbinary.

A strong premise that does not deliver the expected punch.

(Horror. 14-18)