PrintE-mail Written by Tony Jones

Review: The Box / Author: Stephen Gallagaher / Publisher: Hammer Chillers / Starring: Con O'Neill, Alex Lowe, Scott Brooksbank / Release Date: Out Now

Bafflegab and Hammer Films begin their new Hammer Chillers range with The Box, a half-hour, full cast production written by Stephen Gallagher (Chimera, The Eleventh Hour). The plot is straightforward: Sean Dickens (O’Neill) and George ‘Buster’ Brown (Lowe) run a sea-rescue and safety course. The final part of the course is a pool-based underwater escape simulator called the Box which should be no challenge for the ex-Navy and Air Force candidates who take part, yet people are dropping out and others are seeing things underwater, things they won’t talk about…

The first few minutes are taken up with the routine of running the course, though Sean is also trying to contact James Lavery, who recently dropped out; he makes contact with James’ sister Kim (Zoe Lister) who is worried about her brother’s mental health. The action then moves to the pool, where Errol Briggs (Brooksbank) is taking a solo test in the Box which ends with him being extracted by Buster. Errol storms out in a fit of anxiety and Buster had a fleeting sense that someone else was in the Box apart from Errol…

Sean gets a call from Kim, who is very worried about her brother. Sean forces his way into James’ room and his concerns grow as he finds that James’ mental health has degenerated considerably since his experience in the Box. There is only one option – to try the Box for himself! This he does, and without spoiling the story the truth behind the Box was one that will stay with me for a while, and this is the sign of a good horror story.

As an audio production this is first rate; from the first bar of the opening music to the final bar of the close, the sound is full, rich and deserving of being heard on decent headphones or speakers. All the ingredients come together when Sean takes his turn in the Box and the sequence feels very claustrophobic in terms of the sound, acting/directing and writing. Everyone involved has worked hard to produce a high-quality production in the Hammer tradition. Full details are available on the Hammer Chillers website

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