Director – Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski
Cast – Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Mik Byskov, Art Hindle, Stephanie Belding, James Millington, Evan Stern, Grace Munro
Release Year – 2017
Reviewed by John of the Dead
The Void is a film I was excited to see, as its trailer left me yearning a modern day film displaying live-action creature effects in what looked like a zany story. Coming from the directors behind Father’s Day and Manborg, you can expect a story that is far from predictable. Much to my surprise, they go for a serious tone here – one that bleeds Lovecraftian horror. Films like The Void give me a headache. This stems from not knowing whether this effort, in all its insanity, is genius or utter garbage. For me, I am leaning towards the positive side, as the level of terror makes up for its faults and gives us an experience that doesn’t follow the usual clichés.
Aaron Poole (The Conspiracy) stars as officer Daniel Carter, whose typical night of boredom in his rural county is interrupted when he finds an injured junkie on the side of the road. He has no choice but to take the man to the same hospital his estranged wife works at, but his problems are only beginning. Soon after arrive he, the staff, and the hospital’s patients find themselves surrounded by hooded cultists. As they try to battle their way out they learn of their role in the cult’s apocalyptic transcendence, birthing horrors not of this world.
Jeremy Gilespie and Steven Kostanskiboth write and direct the film, and I like how they kick things off. The flick begins with a drastic scene that left me wondering what the hell was going on, and they kept me in the dark for what felt like the first 45 minutes of the film. The cloaked figures in white hoods serve as the initial antagonists, yet we know nothing about them. The same goes for the protagonists, and I liked how the filmmakers kept me just as lost and confused as they were. Films like this, where you are left to struggle alongside the main characters, allow me to envelop myself into the experience. We have two sets of characters here. There is officer Carter, his ex wife Allison, Dr. Richard Powell, intern nurse Kim, and the man Carter picked up, James. On the flipside, we have Vincent and Simon – two men hunting down James for unknown reasons. Despite the two groups being at odds, Vincent and Simon are in the know about what is going on with the hooded folks surrounding the hospital. The writers allude that something grand is about to take place, and only these warring folks stuck in a rural hospital have the power to stop it.
The horror here is some of the best I have seen for 2017 thus far. I loved the cultish feel and found the hooded figures to be quite daunting. Things only progress as the story goes on, with the horror getting bloodier and zanier. This manifestation of gore reaches levels I did not see coming. I don’t want to ruin the story and its surprises for you, but let’s just say that things get very Lovecraftian with Cthulhu-eque vibes.
Gillespie and Kostanki’s direction is great, and I applaud them for continuing their reliance on practical effects. The Void brings back that classic 80s feel with gloomy atmosphere, creepy sets, and loads of live-action gore. These are creatures thrown into the mix and I was pleased with their look. These creatures aren’t the only dealers of death, as there are reanimated corpses that also provide some good terror. I cannot say that the duo’s previous films were “scary” – if anything, they were fun gory films. The Void marks their entry into a more serious tone and they excelled at it. Their atmosphere and shadowy sets brought back a look and feel I miss. This atmosphere also allowed the horror to sink in a bit deeper. You won’t find the greatest acting performances here, and it only adds to the film’s charm. These performances aren’t bad by any means, and I was happy to see Aaron Poole back in the genre after a five-year hiatus. I like the direction these two filmmakers are going, and I hope to see them continue giving fans the goods we seek.
Overall, The Void is a solid horror flick heavy in practical effects and a story that’ll throw you for a loop or two. We don’t get too many genre flicks bringing fresh ideas, so I suggest you give this a watch if you are craving an unpredictable cosmic horror film.