Hammer Chillers is a brand new series of audio plays written by some of the brightest talents in the horror genre. The series kicks off with Stephen Gallagher’s tale, The Box.
The Box centres around Stephen Dickens, expertly voiced by Lawrence Olivier Award-winning actor Con O’Neil, who is a safety instructor providing training for employees about to be stationed on an oil rig. Part of the training consists of undertaking a helicopter crash scenario involving the titular ‘box’. After one of his course attendees, James Lavery, suffers a panic attack and disappears home in a fit of anguish, Dickens begins to investigate the box and the strange effects it has on a small number of employees that embark on the sessions within it.
Stephen Gallagher has written many screenplays and can cite Doctor Who as one of his most impressive credits. Here he creates a claustrophobic and haunting story of panic, repression and guilt. The use of water, darkness and isolation play upon very human fears and are used expertly to accentuate the horror that lies beneath the surface. The highlight of the story is a radio conversation between Dickens and his colleague Buster, this discourse is the radio equivalent of a found footage scene and is extremely effective in peeling back the layers of James Lavery’s fractured psyche.
The Box is a superbly crafted and tightly written thirty minute piece which is well acted throughout with extra credit going to Zoe Lister, formerly of Hollyoaks, who shines as James Lavery’s distraught sister. The Box is a strong first episode for this new series, which based on the quality of this episode and the talent of writers also enlisted promises to get better and better as the weeks progress.
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