A Voice from darkness review
A Voice From Darkness was a bit of a new new discovery for me. It had been languishing in my podcast list for a while now, actually a long while. However, I’ve managed to blast through all the released episodes in about two days. So in the effort of striking while the iron’s hot, here is my review.
So what’s it about?
A Voice From Darkness is another horror anthology podcast that sits somewhere between The Storage Papers and The Magnus Archives. It’s told in the form of a radio phone-in, hosted by Dr. Malcolm Ryder. Ryder is a paranormal expert who listens to the caller’s stories and offers advice on how to cure all manner of ethereal problems.
It builds its own mythology almost from episode 1, although you won’t realise for a while. There are recurring characters that get mentioned, much like the characters in The Magnus Archives although without the cool names (you’ll see what I mean). When I heard the name of the main antagonist in this series I almost laughed out loud. It’s never going to be a spooky name, no matter how hard Dr. Ryder tries!
On top of the individual calls to the show that act as standalone stories, there is a larger story arc that comes into play too. One that concerns Ryder’s family history, and the skeletons that reside in the Ryder family closet. A lot of these are released piecemeal in separate episodes that take the form of answerphone messages and other correspondence outside of the radio station.
Is it any good?
It is. It’s a decent mix of darkness and humour (as in 90% darkness 10% humour), and I’m not counting the unintentional naming of the antagonists here. Ryder’s voice is perfect for the late night radio format of the series. Despite his occasional firmness, you get the impression that he really does care about the people who ring in.
Aside from Ryder, the voice acting is pretty good, and the drama is engaging and builds nicely as the series progresses. The episodes are well-written too. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of the writers losing steam or forgetting the motivations of the characters.
In much the same way as The Magnus Archives, the seemingly disparate calls build the mythology to a terrifying whole, where even the less extreme encounters hint at some real threat to life and sanity. Thankfully, Dr. Ryder is on hand to help of he can (although you’ll ignore his words at your peril).
When I first started this series, I was very close to giving up on it befire the first episode had even finished. I felt Ryder’s voice was cheesy and trying to be deliberately spooky. A few episodes later and I loved it though. I’m so glad I stuck at it (unlike certain other podcasts I’ve reviewed here).
I would recommend this series to fans of The Magnus Archives, SCP Archives, if you actually liked The Storage Papers, or indeed any other podcast with archives/papers/files in the title. This is how you do it right, and in a world where there is a dearth of similar themes, this one really stands out.
There are certainly worse shows out there to listen to. This is a solid four brain podcast that is well worth your time.
You can get A Voice From Darkness here:
Or wherever you get your podcasts.