“There is a Hell. This is worse.”
The Void is an 80’s throwback cosmic horror film that is heavily inspired by the likes of Barker and Carpenter with some Lovecraftian flair as it just feels like a trip down memory lane. It is gloriously off the rails and makes no bones about it. What makes this movie even more impressive to me is that writers and directors, Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, were able to create their vision from crowdfunding on Indiegogo that raised $82,510. The movie does suffer from a weak script but if we are being honest, that is not really what we are here for now, are we?
The plot seems simple enough with Sheriff Deputy Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) discovering a blood-drenched man on a deserted road, where he rushes him to the local hospital with a bare-bones, night shift staff. As cloaked, cult-like figures surround the building, the patients and staff inside start to turn ravenously insane. Trying to protect the survivors, Carter leads them into the depths of the hospital where they discover something more terrifying than they could ever imagine.
This eerie thrill ride starts off from the opening scene where we see a male and a female frantically running from a farmhouse with one of them being shot by a pair of men and then they calmly burn her alive while she screams in agony. This made me adjust in my seat as if “oh yea, let’s strap in for an uncomfortable ride!” Once Carter arrives at the hospital we meet more of the players: the older doctor, the pregnant teenager (because that ever ends well in these movies) with her grandpa, a couple of nurses and patients. The acting, for the most part, is solid, and the actors do their part to convey the frightening dread of this uncertain predicament they are experiencing. However, as I said about the weak script, there isn’t much character development or emotional connection to these characters to make an impact. Even though they do try to that very thing with a little bit of backstory between Carter and his estranged wife nurse Allison but there is very little time for development because we must get to the good stuff.
The setting of a desolate hospital creates an effective atmosphere by itself alone but once you add in the chaotic nature plus the fact there are knife-wielding cloaked figures surrounding the building and a nurse who all of sudden goes insane murdering a patient while not recognizing her own face, makes for an unsettling and tense watch. There are times where the score kicks in and builds the tension but there are times they just let some of the scenes breathe with minimal to no music which really draws you into those scenes. While drawing you in, take time to appreciate the cinematography and some of the beautifully eerie shots that will imprint on your mind for a time after the movie ends.
My favorite part of The Void, however, is the practical effects and the creatures. Oh, did you not know there are creatures? I told you it’s a hell of a ride. I am a huge fan of practical effects, especially in horror films. I cannot tell you how many movies that just has the entire creepy or menacing factor sucked out of it by CGI blood and creatures. There are tentacles, blood and puss mixtures along with body horror that is all done extremely well especially when you see the budget they were working with.
The Void, like any good Lovecraftian inspired movie, leaves a lot unexplained and other details pretty vague which I enjoy because sometimes my imagination is worse than if they explained it for me. I don’t know about you but with certain movies and in certain instances, leaving things up to the viewer’s imagination just makes it more fun and thought-provoking. This movie is one of my favorite horror movies of the past few years and is just a fun throwback.