Hammer Chillers: The Devil in Darkness. Audiobook Review

Hammer Chillers coverTHE DEVIL IN DARKNESS by Christopher Fowler

Hammer Chillers, Download £2.99

Reviewed by Chris Limb

The St Petersburg International Archive is being moved from its hundred year old premises to a brand new state of the art facility across town – but in the meantime there’s a little bit of work still to do before the building is finally cleared. Late one Friday afternoon British researcher Mia shares the decrepit lift with local electrician Andre.

Unfortunately they never reach the exit when the ancient elevator becomes trapped between floors. Still, surely it’s only a matter of time before someone rescues them?

As the days pass survival becomes ever more desperate and when Mia learns from Andrei that the building once had a much darker purpose she begins to fear that what does eventually come for them may no longer be alive…

A simple two-hander set in a single location, The Devil in Darkness would work well on stage or as a half hour teleplay – but there is something about it being presented as an audio drama that adds an extra layer of suspense and drama. The claustrophobia of the experience is perfectly depicted, the medium of sound focussing your attention onto the psychological trauma growing within the confines of the elevator cage with such intensity that the tension is wound tight enough to make you jump out of your skin when something unexpected comes screaming out of the darkness…

The two leads work together perfectly as Mia (Lauren Kellegher) attempts to hide her fear and Andrei (Dylan Charles) tries to provide the voice of reason against increasingly difficult odds.  As the days go on both antagonism and closeness grow between the two as they find themselves standing together against the supernatural forces rising from the basement at the bottom of the shaft.

Such is the quality of Christopher Fowler’s writing that the story’s resolution is totally unexpected, despite the clues that have been peppered throughout the narrative. This shocking ending will leave you disturbed, the tale itself sticking in your mind for even longer.

Like many of the other entries in the Hammer Chillers series, this is one audio play you would do well to listen to in daylight when the darkness is still many hours away.