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Monday, September 23, 2013

Shutter Island

Shutter Island + The Reach

As I read “The Reach” by Stephen King, I constantly had a mental image of the island featured in the movie “Shutter Island,” a horror movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. This movie is based on a mental hospital located on a solitary island, featuring Leonardo DeCaprio. In the movie, the mental patients are held on a ghost-like island with overwhelming weather, frightening characters, and a gloomy ambience that automatically gives a sense of horror or fear. Although the story lines do not follow the same plot line, the themes, details, and effects follow closely with each other, which led me to immediately related Shutter Island to “The Reach.” The island described in “The Reach” immediately made me think of the island featured in the film, with the high cliffs and the rocky edge leading to the frigid cold water.

Throughout the movie there were spats of troublesome weather that directly resembled the furry of a snowstorm that overwhelmed Stella Flanders. Just as Leonardo DeCaprio, as Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island ran, troubled through the forest, so too did Stella as she wandered towards the reach, trying to find her deceased husband. As Stephen King described the frail old lady wandering through the forest, I pictured her running through the same forest as Teddy Daniels, both in search of something unknown.

She stood in the wind, looking straight ahead, willing her eyes to see... but they saw nothing.

Additionally, just as Stella noted that some people would talk and sing to themselves, so too would the habitants of the island in Shutter Island. I believe the combination of a lone island with mental illness or instability adds a level of horror, fear, and possibly even discomfort within the reader/viewer.

Although the two story lines are not compatible, the mutual themes throughout both story lines made me compare “The Reach” to “Shutter Island,” one of the few horror films I actually enjoyed and have watched multiple times. I think because I so thoroughly enjoyed the movie Shutter Island, I immediately came to enjoy reading Stephen King’s short story, for I was able to put a picture to the literature I was reading.

King, Stephen. “The Reach.” American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: The Penguin Group. 378-389. Print.

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