The Void arrives with a lot of buzz behind it. Referential and homage-filled films and TV Shows such as Stranger Things and It Follows seem to be in no short supply at the moment and The Void continues this trend with its ‘80s vibe and aesthetic. The creative team behind the hilarious Manborg are in much darker territory here with a siege/cult/monster movie that has more tentacles than a Saturday night in A&E.
Local cop Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) stumbles on the unconscious body of a man just outside the woods during a quiet night on the job. Finding him injured, he takes him to the closest hospital, a hospital with minimum staff, one of them being Allison (Kathleen Munroe) who is also his estranged wife, and in the process of relocation after a fire. However, Carter is unknowingly being pursued by a group of white cloaked cultists and the hospital may not be the safe place that he hoped it would be
Directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie know how to make a good looking film. The Void is great to look at from its shots of cultists bathed in the swooping red and blue light of a police car to the otherworldly landscape shots of Carter’s visions. Their previous work in the art and makeup department, on projects such as Suicide Squad, Crimson Peak and the TV series Hannibal, means that they bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise that they put to good use in The Void. The film is at its best when the characters are beset by the monsters that stalk the hallways of the hospital. The monsters are well designed and created from practical effects. They have a visceral and fibrous feel, all fleshy and dripping masses of limbs and tentacles, lumps and teeth that recalls films like The Thing, Event Horizon, Hellraiser and the little seen In The Mouth of Madness and the Resident Evil games. It’s great to see such wonderful and tactile practical effects instead of the CGI creations that are so numerous. It’s body horror that David Croenenberg would be proud of. The best scene is where three of our characters take a descent into hell and find themselves attacked on all sides by fleshy horrors. It’s a scene straight out a nightmare.
The story and characters aren’t as strong as the visuals. Basing the action in the partially decommissioned hospital makes The Void, Assault on Precinct 13 but with cultists. The story’s twists are a little too convenient, creating coincidences that keep the action confined to the hospital setting. The characters are also a bit flimsy. There are a few clichés and they don’t really have enough going on for them to be memorable. When they die you are more affected by how they die rather than who is dying. This doesn’t hamper things too much, none of them are offensive or particularly annoying, it would just be nice to have a bit more meat to their character to go with the meat in the special effects.
The Void has is problems but is mostly an enjoyable and gruesome watch. Aesthetically nice with some really great practical effects, it shows that Kostanski and Gillespie have the talent and potential for a truly exciting future.
THE VOID / CERT: 18 / DIRECTORS & SCREENPLAY: STEVEN KOSTANSKI, JEREMY GILLESPIE / STARRING: AARON POOLE, KATHLEEN MUNROE, ELLEN WONG / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW