FimFiction Link - Short ID: 510879/new-faces
Published: Jan '22
'New Faces' is a four thousand and four hundred word G5 horror oneshot. With her lighthouse destroyed, Sunny moves to Izzy's home temporarily. As the two begin talking about friends, Sunny finds out about the horrifying identity of Izzy's previous "companions."
While this fic takes on a concept we've all seen a hundred times before through classics that need no introduction, what sets this story aside is what it doesn't do. The reader expects this story to be played straight until the end with Izzy snapping due to Sunny's reaction and murdering her, so the realization, that - while she's deeply troubled and no-less terrifying - deep down she's no monster elevates this story from another tired Cupcakes-knockoff to something worth reading. I like how the author weaves some odd throwaways sentences from the G5 movie to play into the horror. Also the buildup, while predictable, is carried strongly by evocative and off-putting descriptions, which thankfully don't dip into grimderp territory by overdoing the gruesomeness.
Sadly, however, as much as I loved the twist on the base concept, Sunny's behavior ultimately did a lot of harm to my enjoyment. On one hand, one could reasonably argue that she's in shock after seeing Star Breeze's corpse and that's why she remains so cooperative. However, the fact that she explicitly mentions she doesn't feel threatened after finding a literal corpse in a closet is hard to believe. This is only exacerbated once they descend into Izzy's personal mortuary and Sunny is still mostly worried about Izzy's loneliness, not her own safety. I very much like that she's compassionate enough to want to help her, it fits her character well enough; but I miss a step of her fearing for her life between being shocked and becoming "understanding." I'm willing to suspend my disbelief about a lot of things when it comes to horror, including the fact Izzy was somehow able to exhume a dozen corpses without anyone noticing; but Sunny not only taking it at face value, but actually becoming 'reassured' when Izzy tells her she'll prepare her corpse should she die threw me right out of my immersion. I also have to admit, I found the author's insistence on using italics so much a bit annoying. While it ultimately doesn't take away from the plot, the first few paragraphs especially are chock full of them, most of which add very little to the narrative. I understand the intention and I suppose it's still better than bold text, but it feels superfluous and distracting, especially when the author is otherwise so good at descriptions.
Overall: 5/10 The author's strong grip on English shines through the flowery, yet not purple prose of this story. The narrative is fresh compared to what I was expecting. I recommend it for these two aspects, however, too much believability was sacrificed for the sake of the plot for me to really enjoy this story.