The White Vault review
Production company – Fool & Scholar
This has been a hard one for me. It’s really not often that I give up on a series, but unfortunately I can’t go on with this one. I like to think that I’m a patient man, or maybe a cross between a pushover and a glutton for punishment. I’ll listen and watch most things, so it really takes something special to make me quit. Read on though and I’ll explain.
What’s it all about?
The White Vault is a Lovecraftian horror series. Its format is almost found footage in nature. Each episode has a brief introduction and recap, and then the main story begins. It’s mostly told in the form of recordings made by the team. “What team?” I hear you ask. Well read on and I’ll tell you.
Seasons 1 and 2 followed a team of engineers sent to outpost Fristed in Svalbard, the far north of Norway. The team of scientists who live at the outpost have broken contact and the rescue team get sent in to see what went wrong. Just as they arrive, a massive storm blows up and strands them there. That however, is the least of their worries.
Seasons 3 and 4 sees more snowy horror, but this time at the other end of the earth, in Patagonia.
Season 5 returns to Svalbard, and that’s all I’m telling you!
But is it any good?
That’s a tough one really. This series frequently pops up when people ask for recommendations for podcasts on the various horror groups on Facebook, in fact that’s how I discovered it. There are certainly good elements here, and the production value is very high. Unfortunately, expensive special effects alone do not a good podcast make.
My main problem with this show is the voice acting. There are very few really good performances here. The actor who plays the main character Graham Casner sounds like he is doing a bad (circa fistful of dollars era) Clint Eastwood impression. I heard him being interviewed and it does seem to be his actual voice, which is unfortunate. As you will no doubt remember from my review of The Storage Papers, one thing that really bugs me is a flat delivery, especially when the actor is supposed to be in the action, rather than just telling a story. One thing that is guaranteed to drain all emotion from a performance is being a tough guy, and Graham Casner is a tough guy.
Four years is quite a run, and producing five series in that time is no mean feat. I feel that the premise has been stretched to breaking point. There is nothing in season five that couldn’t have been included in an earlier season.
As I finish writing this review, I have eight episodes of this series languishing in my “unplayed” list. Every time I open my podcast app it crosses my mind to listen to one, but I have so many others I’d rather listen to that this number will just get higher. Strangely enough though I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe. I guess that’s just the hoarder in me.
According to the credits on the series’ website. David Ault is on the cast. After my waxing lyrical about him previously, it goes to show how forgettable it is that I can’t remember him appearing in it.
Sometimes there is a real benefit for enthusiasm over experience, and there are plenty of podcasts that prove it. This however, isn’t one. I’ve made it all the way through to the fifth season, but I’m bowing out. As I said, it’s not you, it’s me.
You can find The White Vault here (should you want to):
Or wherever you get your podcasts.