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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mommy's Little Monsters: Strange Embrace 

David Hine’s Strange Embrace begins with a surreal and menacing dream sequence, shortly transforming into the mundane, which then gives way to hints of primitive savagery surrounding the first of the story’s protagonists, a young boy named Sukumar. What becomes Strange Embrace’s only truly “evil” force soon shows his face to Sukumar, and with a little trickery and prodding, brings the boy under his spell.

The plot is an elusive rabbit hole of a story. I say “rabbit hole” because much of its opening sequences seem only to be lures into ever-stranger territory. First there is Sukumar, errand boy for his father’s grocery store, who fearfully delivers the same weekly grocery shipment to an antique store that never opens. At the tail end of one delivery Sukumar meets Alex, a clairvoyant who wears his contempt for all people on his sleeve. His callousness is clear and chilling, and when Alex shows Sukumar a literal gallery of people whose deaths he was responsible for, we learn how a boy brat becomes an adult monster.

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