Written by: Drake Morgan
In Sam by Iain Rob Wright, we have the classic story of a disturbed child, definite neglect, possible abuse, and a set-up for demonic possession. By the end of chapter three, we learn that the unfortunate Raymeady house has been plagued by mysterious accidents, deaths, and the suicide/ possible murder of the family patriarch. According to his mother, Sammie just has not been himself since his father’s death and she has sought the aid of a priest for an exorcism. Her son is possessed.
Sam is not a bad book. It’s just not all that original. By the time our two protagonists, a priest and a ghost hunter, have the action in full swing, it’s wearing thin. William Peter Blatty defined exorcism for the modern horror era, and it’s been hard to top him. “Seriously, this house even has a horror movie soundtrack!” did not help the campy feeling that crept into the narrative. If we can’t top Blatty, maybe we can have a laugh? Those moments that were meant to lighten the intense, dark mood fell flat because there wasn’t enough of an intense, dark mood. I kept picturing Linda Blair with all the talk of “banish[ing] the demon from his soul” and “weaken[ing] the demon’s influence.
I’m not a fan of Satan, demonic possession, and the devil did it stories. For me, Satan is an overused trope within a really archaic religious structure. Bibles, God’s work, and other religious frameworks just don’t have the same impact in our modern world as they once did. Besides, Blatty really covered it all didn’t he? If you like demonic possession, this a good read. If not, then pass on it.