This has to be the most exciting sequel ever. And oh how it delivers! 'Crater Lake: Evolution' is a masterclass in horror-comedy for children. Frightening, funny and with unforgettably tense set-pieces, this is a fantastic follow-up.
Five months after saving the world from creepy bug-eyed aliens on his Crater Lake Year 6 school trip, Lance is going to have to do the same but in his hometown of Straybridge. An explosion at the university triggers a series of strange events. A mysterious creature has escaped, a curfew is imposed and Lance's mum really want shim to eat his soup. Can Lance get his friends back together in time to save Christmas?
What a great move to relocate the action to Lance's hometown of Straybridge. While Crater Lake was such a brilliant setting, the tension and the stakes are ramped up even more when the action is unnervingly close to home. Arguably some of the most memorable scenes are between Lance and his weirdly-acting mum. Chapter 13 is one of the best written, dramatic, horrific, read-between-the-fingers scenes ever! I'm going to have to study it again and use it with my class. Jennifer Killick really knows how to test her characters to the limit. In fact, the relationship between Lance, his mum and friends is what makes all the weirdness work. The dialogue is absolutely cracking - like Killick is possessed by each character. Later chapters where all of Lance's friends are together in a hideout makes for increasingly tense and hilarious interplay - you can almost smell the sweat, the hormones and the escalating fear. No offence.
The Crater Lake series is undoubtedly the British 'Stranger Things'. It's unnervingly weird, horrifically scary, fabulously funny - and just downright cool. I really hope to see more. Crater Lake: Revolution anyone? Or Crater Lake: Attack of the Teens? There's so many places this could go and I'd love to follow Lance and his friends as they grapple alien attacks in adolescence. Well done Killick!
It's time to buy the T-shirt...