There's something in the house on Kenwood Drive, and it only comes out at night...
College students Eric and Lydia are looking for a novel way to spend Halloween. They decide to put together a documentary about the supernatural and take a camcorder into the long-abandoned house on Kenwood Drive. It's said that a vengeful spirit lives there, and Lydia thinks it the perfect location.
Eric, though, has his reservations. Having grown up in the area, he's familiar with the stories of the spirit they call the "Upside-Down Man", and as their trip to the house draws near, his fear begins to mount. According to the rumors, once you go into the house, you bring the Upside-Down Man out with you. And in three days' time, you disappear.
When the two of them begin to see and experience strange things, they launch into a frenzied search for truth, attempting to separate the myth of Kenwood House from the reality. But it turns out that untangling the threads of local legend is more difficult than it appears.
Especially when you've only got three days.
a high dose of psychological tension
It's Halloween time, and college student Lydia wants to make a documentary about an old deserted house (think Blair Witch Project) and persuades her best friend Eric to come along. Eric is hesitant because he has heard the rumors about the house in Kenwood Drive. A local legend speaks of "The Upside-Down Man" who haunts the place. Anybody entering the house disappears three days later never to be seen again.
I have listened to several stories by Ambrose Ibsen now (his Ulrich files are great) and he is consistently brilliant at creating a fitting atmosphere and letting the tension build up gradually. This isn't the kind of horror story that's full of blood and gore. Instead, you get a high dose of psychological tension, the sense of the clock ticking, and a constant menace in the background. Scary stuff. Because of the "silly college kids enter haunted house"-topic I was expecting this to be fairly predictable, but it actually wasn't.
Eric, the male protagonist, is likable, but I couldn't understand why he was friends with Lydia. She just came across as selfish and unkind. I would have preferred a bit more back-story to their friendship. Theirs wasn't a romantic relationship - unless I totally missed something - but their seemingly close friendship was never really explained. But as this was quite a short story and the main focus is obviously on the haunted house scenario, this is really a minor niggle.
The end seems to split readers/listeners into two camps. You'll either think it's crafty or you'll feel dissatisfied. I don't necessarily need everything wrapped up perfectly, but this was so abrupt, I actually had to check whether there was something wrong with the audio and I was missing a bit. However, I then went back to the first chapter and after listening to it again, I felt happier with the ending. There was one scenario towards the end that didn't make sense to me. It relates to the idea of 'upside down'. Can't really explain this fully without giving the plot away.
Joe Hempel was an excellent choice as narrator for this story because his normal tone of voice matched the description of Eric, the young college student, in whose first-person perspective the story is told, perfectly. His delivery is clear and he adds the right amount of emotions and eeriness to his delivery where appropriate. The smooth, first-class performance combined with the gripping plot held my attention throughout.
Overall, Whispering Corridors was a spooky, fun story, which, at just over 5 hours, I easily devoured in a day. Highly recommended if you're looking for a good haunted house / urban legend story. This should also appeal to fans of paranormal thrillers.
Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]