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Room for more?

This House Will Devour You logo

This House Will Devour You review

Production company – Citeog Podcasts

Rating – 4 brains

This House WIll Devour You was one of those podcasts that had me subscribing just because of the name. Somehow, it reminded me of a previously reviewed show, In Another Room. Would it be anything like that though? So many questions, with only one way to find out. Without further ado, I skipped any trailers and teasers (as I always do), settled down, and pressed play on episode 1. 

So what’s it about?

THWDY (you know I like abbreviations for long titles) is a mystery/occult horror set in the 1920s. Series 1 follows the adventures of Capt. Jon Ross, who has travelled to Ireland to stay at the ancient Kilphaun Hall, a family property belonging to the family of his fiancée Elizabeth Sanderson. She has had to stay behind in London for the time being due to illness. Because of this, they write letters to each other. This back and forth between the two of them is the structure of the podcast.

As the story progresses, strange occurrences occur, strange dreams are dreamt, mysterious groups are consulted, mystical concoctions are concocted, and ancient forces are summoned. Will the good prevail? Will love conquer all? You, dear listener will have to find out.

Series 2…. Well, I’m not going to tell you about that yet. I don’t want to spoil anything.

Is it any good?

I would describe this almost as an audiobook rather than an audio drama. The use of letters to drive the narrative remind me of the ill fated correspondence of Jonathan Harker to his beloved Mina. The story itself is also reminiscent of the more folklore inspired works of E.F. Benson and Arthur Machen.

The opening theme, with the whispered, spoken title, really reminds me of the old TV shows we’d watch in school in the early 80s. Indeed the whole show has a late 70s/early 80s patina rather than an actual 1920s feel. I almost prefer this. Setting horror around the turn of the 20th century is something of a fashion recently, and it’s very hard to do convincingly. It runs the risk of becoming a parody. Something that The Foxes Of Hydesville and no end of Call Of Cthulhu live plays should have taken into account.

The sound design is sparse, yet well executed in the beginning. Strangely, this adds to the immersion somehow. I guess less really is more. As the drama builds towards the end of the story, it becomes more apparent. This builds the tension nicely, particularly as Jon’s psychological problems seemingly increase. Actually, I will briefly mention series 2 here, because I actually found the music to be quite intrusive indeed this time around. What should have been background music to set the scene was a touch high in the mix. It was also rather clichéd, but this is a minor criticism.

There isn’t much to say regarding voice acting. There are only two voices for 99% of the series. That’s not to say they aren’t good, but with two people essentially reading letters to each other the scope to stretch your dramatic skills is rather limited. Having said that, that isn’t the point. The dialogue is believable and well written. I think that to have Jon and Elizabeth over emoting to each other would possibly distract from the story. Jon comes across as rather stoic and unshakeable. I guess his time in the army in WWI would do that, whereas the only way I can describe Elizabeth is “jolly”. Personally I’d love to have her as my eccentric aunt who did all these crazy adventures and told stories my parents would disapprove of. Vocally, she actually reminds me of a cross between Miriam Margolyes and Clarissa Dixon Wright.

Final thoughts

As much as I hate listening to podcasts in bed (I have audiobooks to go to sleep to), I really could put this on at night. This isn’t to say that the show is boring in any way. It really isn’t, but the lack of actual “real” dramatic activity means it would be quite easy to zone out to, should you so wish.

This is a real slow burn of a show. It took me 4 attempts to get through episode 1. Again, this isn’t because it’s boring, but to thoroughly enjoy it, it requires more concentration than other shows, and as series 1 drew to an end I was hooked. 

You may wonder then, why after all this hype, have I only rated it 4 out of 5? This is something of the luck of the draw. For a while now, I’ve been conscious that I’m rating lots of shows as a 5. The problem is that after 5, there’s nowhere for me to go (and I’m not going to use Nigel Tuffnell’s solution). Therefore a rating of 4 is going to be a solid recommendation, and a 5 will be for the rarer “perfect” podcasts. Unfortunately this isn’t perfect, although it very nearly is.

If i would have reviewed this show a few weeks ago though, it would have easily been a 5 brain podcast. It’s a reflection of my need for accuracy rather than a reflection of the quality of the show, and I apologise for that.

You can get This House Will Devour You here:


For more great reviews, I recommend GreatPods

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