Screwflies

I’m going to try to make Thursday a review day here on my blog. Not necessarily a formal review, just a “here’s something I read (or watched) and what I thought about it.” I will not be duplicating reviews that I’m putting up on Goodreads, or that I’ve written about elsewhere.

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Last night, my husband was streaming a movie on Netflix, and I asked what he was watching. (I’d been putting the kids to bed, so I missed the beginning.) “It’s supposed to be a horror movie — The Screwfly Solution.” Me: “Like the Octavia Butler story?”

Yes, it was a reasonably faithful filming of Ms. Butler’s story. I hadn’t thought of it as horror, although clearly there was a threat to humanity and a lack of hope — both hallmarks of horror. I saw it as science-fiction, partly because that’s what I associate her work with, partly because there is a problem, and they’re trying to use science to create a solution. I love how fluid genre labels are — “It’s what I point to when I say this” indeed.

I found the story, when I read it, thought-provoking and enjoyable, despite a down-beat ending. When we watched the movie last night (which is short, by the way — only about an hour), I decided that it works better in the written form because you get the benefit of an internal view, thoughts and feelings. When we reached the end, my husband said, “That’s it?” In the story, there was no question that that was the end, or that the source was clear. In the movie, I don’t think it was as clear-cut.

I think I’m going to have to find the story again, so he can read it and see if he thinks the written form does a better job of resolution.

Have you seen films made from short stories? How do you think they worked?

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