I’m Thinking of Ending Things injects menace where you’d least expect to find
it: a road trip to visit your partner’s parents. The aura isn’t so much
threatening as it is unsettling, so it’s more likely to intimidate rather than
When it comes to horror, whatever the medium, I prefer more psychological
stuff. From Jacab’s Ladder, to House of Leaves and Silent Hill, I’m
consistently drawn toward the threat that refuses to show itself. Thinking
fits the bill. Mixing in elements of mystery writing, author Iain Reid keeps
you guessing about what’s freaking you out. Is it the boyfriend? His parents?
The weather? Barnyard animals? The answer will likely be “yes,” at one point or
Even the narrator is suspect–her anxious thought patterns and candid memories
will have you wondering what she’s capable of. This is particularly impressive
considering that the book is written in first person. I can’t think of another
story whose narrator is so convincingly unstable yet sincere.
Like so much psychological horror, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is all about
atmosphere. The experience of reading it is like a prolonged flinch–arresting
but also exhausting. It’s a fun experience for such a short read, but that same
brevity undercuts the weight of the finale. Despite Reid’s efforts to leave
readers speculating on certain elements, the story is ultimately forgettable.
Still, I’m really curious to know what Charlie Kaufman did with it in their
2020 film adaptation.