The Void (2017)

the-void

Director: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski

Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Ellen Wong

Review Author: Tony

Rating: 3.5/5 pints of Guinness

In the midst of all the major releases over the year it has become increasingly difficult to support the smaller movies. This is largely due to the fact they these 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 a 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 shoe string budget.

The Void is a throwback to the golden age of prosthetics and practical effects, 80’s horror. I’ve never been a huge fan of horror flicks but I must admit I have a sweet spot for 80’s creature features. I’m a massive supporter of CGI and it’s 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 towns 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 knifes. Unfortunately for the denizens of the hospital, the true horror lies within the hospital.

A gripe I had early with the film was that the script seemed a little too 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 is 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 actually had a blast with this film.

After a strained opening the film starts to find its footing as the hospital delves into chaos. Once all hell starts breaking loose, both literally and figuratively, the acting felt more believable and raw as these people are thrown into a maddening situation. The film just builds and builds its momentum to an explosive third act. It’s here that the directors (both specialise in makeup and effects) get to show of their handcrafted monstrosities. The creature design is gratifyingly repulsive as each creature squelches and oozes blood and puss and contributes to my loss of sleep.

While many have compared the film to John Carpenters classic, The Thing, I felt like it seemed closer related to From Beyond (1986) with a very present influence from H.P Lovercraft’s work. Lovecraft’s work has been criminally underutilised 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 80’s horror which showcases the benefits of having practical effects to create truly horrifying abominations.

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