Review: Hammer Chillers 1.5: The Devil in Darkness

devilAn elevator breaks down in an old museum in St Petersburg – nothing unusual about that in Russia – but is anyone coming to help the occupants?

Christopher Fowler’s two-hander is creepy, effective, at times startling, and hands down, the nastiest of the audio tales in this first season of Hammer Chillers, using the benefits and the drawbacks of the medium to its advantage at all times.

Fowler establishes the situation carefully, drawing the listener in to the developing relationship between Mia, a young student, and Andrei, the older man with whom she is trapped. Only the occasional piece of narration breaks the flow of the story, and that deliberately fails to answer any questions save that of the time elapsed. A bond starts to form between the older electrician and the girl, particularly once he has explained the terrible past of the building in which they are trapped and that knowledge starts to prey on their nerves…

Lauren Kellegher and Dylan Charles both give excellent performances – the latter’s tones may well haunt you long after you’ve finished listening to the play. Whereas some of the earlier plays had a crescendo of events, leading to a final blare of horror (a sforzando, to continue the musical analogy), Fowler deliberately goes the other way – and sometimes, as here, the quietest pieces are the most effective.

Verdict: This one will stay with you – a master class in mood-setting and horror creation. 9/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order The Devil in Darkness from Hammer Chillers

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