What’s your worst nightmare?
For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.
And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.
Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.
Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.
By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.
Welcome to the Dark House Review
I guess after you get presented with a truly terrifying figure (at least before he got corny) like Freddy Krueger, everything else that tries to play on that same basic idea just sort of falls flat in comparison. I mean, you kind of knew just from the name “Nightmare Elf” that’s introduced in the synopsis that it wasn’t going to be super scary, but… still. I decided to give it a shot. While I don’t exactly regret reading it, Welcome to the Dark House falls a fair bit short of the creepy horror vibe it was going for. Instead it sinks swiftly into the dreaded realm of ‘decent but nothing outstanding’ which means it quickly leaves the mind of the reader.
Ivy Jensen’s family was murdered in their beds six years ago. She was the only one lucky enough to survive. That night has, quite understandably, screwed with her head in a massive way. Now the fear controls her, and she’s tired of it. She’s decided that she needs to take control, and the first step in doing so is to find out why some people like horror so much, specifically how they can find fear fun. I guess I just don’t quite understand the YA horror genre completely. I mean, I’ve been lucky enough to read a few that were genuinely creepy (Beneath Claire’s House being the most obvious example), but in general that section delivers this type of book. The type that is almost frustrating because it’s easy to recognize that it could have been so much better than what it was.
It’s almost a waste of a perfectly good idea. However, on the off-chance that some people might actually be creeped out by this pale poke at horror, I will say that even though it did not engage me, it wasn’t badly written. In fact, it actually read quite easily, so I wouldn’t hesitate to maybe recommend it to the youngest end of the “teen/young adult” spectrum as a nice wade into the horror genre pool.