Director: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski
Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Ellen Wong
Review Author: Tony
In the midst of all the major releases over the year, it has become increasingly difficult to support the smaller movies. This is largely because smaller films struggle to find a platform to reach their audience and have to depend on word of mouth to find a following. What made the hype behind The Void so special is that small budget films like this struggle because of how saturated the horror genre is, especially since the rise of found footage films which can be shot on a shoestring budget.
The Void is a throwback to the golden age of prosthetics and practical effects, 80s horror. I’ve never been a huge fan of horror flicks, but I must admit I have a sweet spot for 80s creature features. I’m a massive supporter of CGI and its development but sometimes you can’t beat plain old latex, rubber and food colouring. Films like The Thing, From Beyond and The Fly, still turn my stomach today with their pulpy squeamish practical effects and terrifying creature designs. You can imagine my excitement when the first trailer for The Void dropped, showcasing its practical effects and gratuitous gore.
The film opens with a junkie fleeing his murderous pursuers and collapsing in front of local cop Daniel. Daniel brings the man to the town’s hospital, which has only a skeleton staff present who are in the middle of packing materials to bring to a new hospital. Soon the hospital is surrounded by cloaked occultists carrying knives. Unfortunately for the denizens of the hospital, the true horror lies in the hospital.
A gripe I had early with the film was that the script seemed a little to exposition heavy, I get that the film has to establish its characters and their past but the dialogue felt very clunky at times. There’s even a scene where a character says to the lead that what would his dad think of him who was also a cop, I’m sorry it was just so cliché it hurt my face. The editing felt a little amateur, as well as action scenes at times, felt like seizures which are a shame as it took away from some of the fantastic creature design. Although I might sound like I’m being a little harsh, it would be insincere of me to not point out these issues because I had a blast with this film.
After a strained opening, the film finds its footing as the hospital delves into chaos. Once all hell breaks loose, both literally and figuratively, the acting felt more believable and raw as we throw these people into a maddening situation. The film just builds and builds its momentum to an explosive third act. It’s here that the directors (both specialize in makeup and effects) get to show off their handcrafted monstrosities. The creature design is gratifying and repulsive as each creature squelches and oozes blood and puss and contributes to my loss of sleep.
While many people have compared the film to John Carpenter’s classic, The Thing, I felt like it seemed closer related to From Beyond (1986) with a very present influence from H. P. Lovecraft’s work. Lovecraft’s work has been criminally underutilized in cinema, which is a shame as he was one of the true pioneers of horror fiction. Ultimately, The Void is an entertaining homage to 80s horror, which showcases the benefits of having practical effects to create truly horrifying abominations.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Pints of Guinness