Ever wonder what’s lurking in the shadows? No? Well, Chiller can fix that. A frightening collection of horror stories, Chiller is a webcomic series found on LINE Webtoon that utilizes its digital platform to ensure an interactive storytelling experience that leaves readers willing the sun to rise faster.
Although Chiller is available on the web and achieves an unsettling effect with little effort, it is best suited for the intimate screen of a reader’s mobile phone. A handheld device forces readers to pull the screen close to their face, drawing them deep into the twisted tale that is unfolding before their eyes. Simple animations, sound effects, music, and unexpected vibrations add life to the terrifying worlds that the artists have created.
Currently, there are ten stories available to add to a reader’s nightmare collection. Though the overall art style of the series shares qualities found in anime, a different artist or artistic team writes and illustrates each tale. As such, color pallets vary from story to story, visually replicating the age-old tradition of telling scary stories on dark and stormy nights.
The spine tingling tales range from dramatizations of real life events found in “Life and Death” to cautionary tale of “Neighbor.” Perhaps one of the most disturbing stories in the collection thus far is “The Other Side of Cleanliness” written by Cosmos and art by Van Ji. In this chilling thriller, we witness a young woman whose germophobia has severed her ties with her family-and humanity. She doesn’t even seem to care about the man stalking her every move. Most people would become paranoid and do whatever it takes to protect themselves from harm. But this young lady treats her stalker with indifference. Her cold robotic precision in disinfecting her apartment crosses into the uncanny when she treats a dead body like a piece of rubbish. She just tosses the body in a bag, and wonders when she should get rid of it while calmly sipping a cup of tea. Van Ji sticks to cool colors like grays, whites, and blues to match the icy nature of Cosmos’ protagonist, a move that really allows the red blood to pop during the climactic scene. “The Other Side of Cleanliness” is far from the scariest story in the collection, but it does manage to cling tight to a reader’s memory thanks to the young woman’s repeated actions.
One of my personal favorites is “The Delivery Service” written by Jingook Lim, with coloring by Jakeun, and background by Sung-Won Lim because it begins with a harmless little prank and ends with a baffling scenario. “The Delivery Service” introduces readers to a young man on his first food delivery. His assignment is located in an old building in need of repair filled with long dark hallways perfect for murders, and an apartment inexplicably blocked off from the rest by a gate. Summoning every ounce of courage he has, the young man completes his delivery and rushes back to his jobsite. Safely within the glowing lights of the restaurant, the young man’s co-workers reveal that the delivery was a rite of passage for all new employees. As everyone laughs at his expense, he tells them that he completed the delivery and even received payment from the resident. Naturally, no one believes the young man because, well, no one has lived in that apartment for years. Things only get stranger when the young man returns to the apartment building the next morning. Jakeun and Sung-Won Lim combine photorealistic backgrounds and anime figures in a way that shows the divide between what the characters perceive as reality, and what the readers see as reality. The night shift workers believe that the new guy is trying to get them back, however readers know that something unnatural took place that night. Don’t worry new guy, we’ve got your back.
Chiller’s stories may have a familiar vibe to those engrossed in the world of horror; however, these twice told tales still pack a punch. Since stories are contained to a single episode, authors move the narrative along fast enough to get the blood pumping and toes curling, but slow enough to avoid confusing readers.
No matter the time of day, Chiller is ready to send shivers down your spine.