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Home > Heart Shaped Box (2007): A Review

Heart Shaped Box (2007): A Review

Heart Shaped Box

A Novel Heart Shaped Horror

Our protagonist of the heartfelt horror novel Heart Shaped Box is an aging former heavy metal star with an intense love for the macabre. Judas Coyne’s (or Jude if you’re feeling friendly) unique collection ranges from a witch’s confession letter to actual snuff films. He often finds that his priceless and morbid collection is missing something. His glory days have passed, with only a few die-hard fans remembering his name. Therefore, his collection is his sole source of joy, something to break up his monotonous days, causing him to spiral into depression once he finds himself stumped on finding something unique to add to his collection.

When his assistant, Danny, tells him of seeing a bid on eBay about a real-life spirit for sale, Jude wastes no time purchasing it, despite having doubts that it is authentic. Jessica Price informs the seller that the ghost he is buying is her stepfather, with his soul attached to the suit. 

Ominous Beginnings 

Once the spirit arrives, in a heart shaped box, his younger girlfriend Georgia opens it and complains something inside has pricked her finger, causing her to bleed. Jude disregards her complaints. He is initially disappointed, as the suit within the lush velvet box seems as plain and ordinary as any other suit, other than having a strange, musty smell. 

Deciding that the whole thing was nothing but a colossal bust, he forgets about the entire ordeal and deems it a waste of time. Except, later that night, Jude finds himself plagued with strange and terrifying dreams and startles awake to footsteps outside his door. Confirming that it is not his live-in girlfriend, he musters up his courage and throws open his door to see….nothing. At first, that is… Once his eyes adjust to the dim lighting, he notices a tall man wearing a suit and bowler hat that appears wholly made up of shadows. Jude is ecstatic, realizing that his purchase wasn’t a waste. Unknown to him, this is the beginning of his torment. 

Heart Shaped Box

Heartfelt Horror 

Joe Hill crafts a masterful book of horror. The characters are flawed and cracked in places, struggling to heal from their painful pasts. Despite their faults, they are characters you grow to love and root for. This is why Heart Shaped Box is so hard to put down. There’s not a predictable moment in this story; no obvious foreshadowing or strange one liners from throw-away characters to move the plot along. You worry about these characters and cringe at their wrong choices, as there’s no way to tell how it will all play out. 

Heart Shaped Box doesn’t rely on gore solely (although there are several gore-heavy scenes to look forward to), but it excels at the psychological aspect. It’s as if you have stepped into a kaleidoscope; you have no idea where is up or down or if what you’re reading is happening to these characters or is just a hallucination. It doesn’t pull its punches for the mundane horror, either. The every day, could happen to you or someone you care about, kind of horror. The kind that keeps you up at night, what your parents warned you to be wary of. 

It’s this “mundane” horror that carries this novel; while the creeping suspense the spirits wrought might have anxiety simmering under your skin, the true horror of this novel will hit you like a gut punch.

Heart Shaped Box

Heart Shaped Box (2007) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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