Movie Review - The Void
A woman fleeing a house is shot and then burned alive by the people, a father and a son, who were seemingly her captors. A man, also escaping, manages to get away on foot before he’s picked up by a down-on-his-luck (actually, more like a recently divorced) sheriff’s deputy. Noticing blood all over this escapee, said deputy takes him to the local hospital…which itself is understaffed due to it being in the process of moving to another location after a fire.
Then the shit hits the fan.
Madness unfolds inside the hospital all the while the place is surrounded by creepy, shrouded, knife-wielding cultists making sure that EVERYONE stays inside.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Void, a film written and directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski. While being touted in trailers as a throwback to 80s horror, most notably being referred to as very Carpenter-like…well, I can’t entirely disagree with that assessment…but it’s also a little limiting too. Sure, there’s a little bit of an 80s vibe in there and yeah, you could certainly liken this film to either John Carpenter’s The Thing or Prince of Darkness…but I think that’s there’s just as much borrowed from some of Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft adaptations, especially From Beyond, and the gore and creature effects certainly evoked a little bit of Event Horizon for me. Lastly, it just occurred to me while writing this, that there’s some otherworldly feelings to this that also evoke a little bit of Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm. So, like I said, just calling it an 80s throwback or Carpenterian is very, very limiting. And while there’s certainly no small number of influences here, this all comes together as a fairly unique cinematic experience and certainly worth recommending alone just for its atmospherics.
As you’d typically expect in a film like this, we’ve got a small handful of characters that we’ll be stuck with for most of the picture. The lead, the aforementioned Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Carter, finds himself stuck in the hospital with the aforementioned escapee, nurses Beverly and ex-wife Allison, nurse trainee Kim, State Trooper Mitchell, pregnant teen Maggie and her grandfather, attending physician Dr. Powell and the father and son duo we were introduced to in the very opening scene. And in some ways, this ‘group of people in a confined space’ plays out very much akin to George A. Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead. [The filmmakers practically admit to as much, given that there is a scene from that movie playing on a TV in the background. – Ed.] Most notably, the Father definitely fills the Mr. Cooper role (everyone hates him and he IS a grade-A prick throughout most of the film). In fact, one of the few flaws in this movie is that it tries to redeem the Father in at least some small way toward the end of the film…but…nah. It falls flat. Let a dick be a dick and, honestly, I would’ve celebrated at him getting torn apart or something equally gruesome. The cast handles all of this very well. I mean, it’s great acting to create a character that audiences completely despise. Also worth noting is Aaron Poole as Daniel who does a great job in conveying that this sheriff’s deputy is in WAAAAY over his head. Kathleen Munroe does mostly well as Allison…but, and this likely isn’t her fault but a minor flaw in the writing, is that she DOES commit one of the cardinal sins of horror movies: do NOT go ANYWHERE alone! Kenneth Welsh’s Dr. Powell is also worth watching…hint hint…as the range he shows in the role is quite well done and at no point feels disingenuous.
The Void certainly has ample amounts of Beasts and Blood…although some folks would automatically take off a half star for no Breasts. [Capitalized because of the 3 B’s. – Ed.] That’s fine here though as the film is steeped in atmosphere and by mid-picture has the viewer filled with such cosmic and existential dread that honestly, there’s just no place for nudity here…or, at least, none that you’d want to see. As the mystery of this hospital and the cultists outside starts to unravel, that, coupled with the dread that has already been created, led me to feel like no one was getting out of this one alive. That may or may not be the case, but the film does try to end on a more hopeful note that, I have to be honest, fell a little flat for me. Given the aforementioned feeling of ‘no one gets out of here alive’…steering into the skid and playing up that hopeless inevitability, much as the aforementioned Night of the Living Dead did, while making a more depressing ending, would have been perhaps a better one. Regardless of how you feel about the ending though, or the ample amount of questions that go unanswered throughout the running time of the film, this is certainly a ride worth taking and, in just one viewing, has quickly become one of my favorite horror flicks. Definitely check it out.