REVIEW: “Don’t Turn on the Lights” by Cassandra Khaw

Review of Cassandra Khaw, “Don’t Turn on the Lights”,¬†Nightmare Magazine 61: Read Online. Reviewed by Winnie Ramler.

I love stories which examine the act of storytelling itself. Khaw reminds us that the story can still surprise us. All it takes is the shifting of a few details. The core may stay the same, but the the impact changes. Horror as a genre can be particularly formulaic in its approach. Readers may expect certain things- for the story to be told in a certain way. Khaw plays with these expectations as she crafts a discussion about who is telling the story and why.

Sally (if that is her real name) isn’t a protagonist in the strictest sense. Instead she is the lens through which we view the story. Like a cardboard cutout, she is dressed in different plots and motivations as we are asked to question what we think we know to be true.

The casual voice of the narrator lent itself well to the varying story plots. Like a museum tour guide, we are taken on a journey through perspective, and not knowing where you’re going is part of the excitement. This was a super fun spooky read that reminded me just how much I love horror.