Written and directed by the duo of Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski (the team that gave us Manborg), The Void is a horror movie in the tradition of H. P. Lovecraft and movies sparked from his genius like From Beyond and In The Mouth of Madness. It stars Daniel Carter, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, and Ellen Wong. It is current available to rent on V.O.D. or own digitally from sites like Vudu and Amazon, following a brief-but-successful theatrical run in select cities.
The story is the tale of a cop who after finding a battered and bloodied man stumbling out of the woods, takes him to a local hospital. The hospital recently had a fire on the lower levels thereby leaving only a small emergency room section opened and only a skeleton crew on staff. When one of the staff members brutally attacks and murders a patient, a strange series of events start to unravel including visions of alternate realms and the hospital being surrounded by strange people completely cloaked in white. Why are they at the hospital and what connection does this morbid cult have to the people trapped inside? Well, in the interest of remaining 100% SPOILER FREE you’ll just have to go see this one for yourself.
The Void is a low budget, indie horror with a ton of extra talent behind it where the money would usually go. I want to say that first. If those words scare (“low budget” & “indie,” that is) then honestly… don’t even bother reading the rest if this review.
If, on the other hand, you love 80s low budget horror films that propped their film upon the practical horror and gore they could figure out how to make, keep on reading…
The duo who helped cobble this film together are both actually far better known in the film industry for their work on big-budget Hollywood films in the art or make-up departments. I think this helps add another level of appreciation when watching the film, because these guys could’ve probably just thrown together things they had already done on bigger films into their indie project. Instead, they actually take the time to create a simplistic-but-eerie realm for the film to play. They use, of all things, set designs that are little more than basic geometric shapes to counterbalance the body-dismorphia horrors of the plot. This complex foreground over simple backgrounds imagery presented in the film is really a genius move for such a low budget entry. Most shoe-string budgets would do this purely out of necessity, but there seems to be effort in this film to make it part of the film’s aesthetic. And it absolutely works.
The Void had every opportunity to turn into a jokey, shlock horror movie that just throws pus and gore at the camera. Those movies are fine and fun in moderation (if that’s what you’re into), but The Void strived to rise above that level and reach more for a Hellraiser level of horror where the images disturb you almost more on a psychological level than just a visceral one. In that form it actually succeeds. It isn’t a movie built on jump scares and quick camera cuts. It is a movie that allows the camera and the viewer to often linger on the horror, giving us the mental horror of the characters, trying to recreate the pathos of insanity from the Lovecraft tradition. It is a low budget film, so while it doesn’t succeed 100%, the lack of this is recent films and the strong attempt at this with mostly practical means creates an incredibly enjoyable experience especially for fans of this horror subgenre.
While the cast is full of relative unknown actors, it also keeps from falling into another pitfall of indie films which is bad acting. Everyone does a fine job. There is no stellar standout, but it was a great assembly of actors who seemed to gel well and deliver a performance that helped sell the outlandish and horrific premise.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, The Void is a truly outstanding horror film, especially for having a low budget. It comes across as a cinematic love-letter to the retro classics of John Carpenter and David Cronenberg without being an outright ripoff of either one. I really think fans of 80s horror films like Hellraiser, The Thing, The Fly, and From Beyond will definitely find something enjoyable and reminiscent in tones with this film. Fans of H. P. Lovecraft stories will be right at home inside this plot which easily could’ve been an updated version of one of his tales. And I think fans of the strong resurgence of indie horror films in the past few years like It Follows, The Witch, The Train to Busan, and The Babadook will enjoy this film on the strong intent and delivery of the filmmakers.
If any of these other titles mentioned are things you like, seriously, do yourself a favor and go see this movie. You’ll be very glad you did. – 8.5/10
Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine