Review: Mile 81
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Great story for a quick flight from Logan to New York. I’m not going to say too much about the plot, since the story’s so short, but I’ll say that, once again, it’s the people not the monsters that King draws best. Something bad happens at an abandoned rest stop, do you really need more? Most of the characters meet a terrible fate, and it’s King’s ability to make you care so quickly about them that steals the show. Also, the atmosphere of the abandoned rest stop is outstanding. Loved every creepy detail.
All that said, the “big bad” of the story, to borrow a phrase from the Buffyverse, is laughable. King writes the hell out of it, of course, but it’s still an embarrassing concept. Again, I won’t spoil anything, but I do want to say that there’s a wobble effect described here that seems like King’s trying to describe some really terrible CGI. Two things about that: 1.) when writers start letting CGI color their imaginations, they need to be slapped and told to work harder; 2.) even if you want to let the modern abomination that is Hollywood CGI color your imagination, at least write about expensive CGI. The effect King sells in this story is some Syfy Channel-level work, at best.
Giving this one four stars for being compelling and filled with great details and characters; docking it a star for having a worthless, uninspired (and rather recycled, in terms of the King-verse) central villain.