Calling Darkness | Rating: 11/11
Reviewed by Crescenda Long
I confess; I wasn’t a fan of audio books when I was younger, and as a result, it took me a long time to start listening to podcasts. Now, I can’t imagine life without them. Podcasts have opened up a whole new world of storytelling for me. I listen to them when I’m cleaning; I listen to them when I’m cooking. They help make my long daily commute more enjoyable. And I’m always looking for new talent and new stories to consume.
This weekend, I finally had a chance to listen to the first episode of Calling Darkness, a new horror-comedy podcast written by S.H. Cooper and Gemma Amor. The story chronicles the adventures of six young women who gather at the mysterious Crowe House for a seminar on acting — and accidentally summon a demon in the process.
I love dark humor, and what I appreciate most about this episode is its playful, tongue-in-cheek ‘Scooby Doo’ vibe. Listeners are guided through the story by the snarky commentary of an unnamed narrator, but the hapless lead characters have no such assistance; they are left to stumble about the prerequisite creepy manor (and trip over all the cheeky foreshadowing) on their own. The humor in these opening scenes only makes the episode that much creepier when the demon — voiced by the incredible Graham Rowat — finally makes its appearance. It’s not easy to maintain that delicate balance between humor and horror, but Cooper and Amor have found the perfect recipe, and it does not disappoint.
You know a podcast is doing something right when it can make stand frozen in the middle of my living room, listening intently.
It took me a few minutes to get the hang of where the narration ended and the dialogue between characters began, and though the six women are delightfully diverse, it can be a challenge to differentiate between them at times. I have a feeling, though, that this will change as the story progresses and the characters become more developed for the listeners. In the meantime, the fantastic soundscaping is wonderfully atmospheric, and the Noir-esque snark level of the dialogue is snappy and fun. I sincerely enjoyed every minute of it.
Calling Darkness gets bonus points for being a female-led project with a predominantly female cast, making it a great way to celebrate the fact that February is Women in Horror month. (And additional bonus points, of course, for their very wise appreciation of Mads Mikkelsen!) Be sure to check them out if you haven’t already. I know that I’m looking forward to the next episode!