Finally! After months of anticipation and a refusal to send me a screener, I finally get to watch The Void. It’s no secret I love all things Lovecraftian, so when I saw the teasers and trailers I was instantly infatuated. Give unto me my cosmic horror! For those who forgot to climb up onto the proverbial bandwagon, The Void is a much anticipated Lovecraftian-styled horror film that clawed its way on to the official selection list for Fantastic Fest, London Film Festival, Abertoir Horror Festival, Stockholm International Film Festival, Mordibo Fest, and Toronto After Dark. It’s one of my most anticipated films of the year, second only (on my personal list) to Alien: Covenant.
When police officer Carter (Aaron Poole) discovers a blood-soaked man limping down a deserted road, he rushes him to a local hospital with a barebones, 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 a gateway to immense evil.
Directors Steve Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie had this to say about the film in a special press release:
With THE VOID we will combine our filmmaking talents and create an unparalleled horror experience filled with terrifying visuals and shocking creature effects. Intended as a contained story, THE VOID takes place in a single location with a small cast. It features a unique array of bloody, visceral practical effects and nightmarish creature design. THE VOID will fuse the body terror of “The Fly” and “The Thing” with the surreal fear of “The Shining” and “The Exorcist”, and will evoke the tone and mood of the works of John Carpenter, and J-Horror films such as “The Grudge”. While we are influenced by these horror classics, THE VOID will not be a deconstruction of old tropes, but an original concept that will make use of the practical creature effects and prosthetic skills that we have been honing since 2005 to tell a completely contemporary story.
So, how did they do? Phenomenally! This was hands down one of the best horror movies I have had the pleasure of viewing. It’s not entirely what I was expecting it to be but it was everything I adore in a good horror flick. The characters were fantastic albeit a little cliched at times; Kostanski and Gillespie went with what works. The score and sound production were excellent but not particularly memorable; I was expecting a creepy instrumental theme or haunting melody which I didn’t get. The special effects were top-notch and the creatures (the Cronenbergs) were absolutely fantastic in the traditional sense of the word. That coupled with the cinematography made for an excellent viewing experience. What I loved was that it mashed a good creature horror with that cosmic horror feel.
It’s very reminiscent of The Thing at the start and then takes a sharp turn back to those 80’s classics like From Beyond or The Omen. Although you can draw many similarities to films with shared characteristics, The Void really manages to stay something quite unique. It’s like discovering a classic you somehow missed years before.
A strong blend of the esoteric and science-fiction is really what defines cosmic-horror. Where most horror writers saw these as mutually exclusive themes, Lovecraft blended them into an unfathomable, incomprehensible evil that was both godlike in nature yet grounded in knowledge millennia beyond our pathetic, meager, human understanding. The Void continues that tradition, pushing the envelope without reaching absurdity, as so many other films do.
Now, what you are not going to get from this movie is what is probably more popular today and that is jump scares. There are, in fact, very few “scary scenes.” There is gore, blood, tension, horror, bodies –This is a horror film after all. However, there are no rapidly increasing tempos and loud bangs that make you leap from your chair. This is how you tell a story of dread and despair; of hopelessness and horror without relying on a quick camera pan and your sound crew to scare your audience.
One of the complaints I’d read about the movie was how it was nothing like the trailer, which is such a laughable criticism considering how much hype those trailers brought and how well the movie was received. I’ve, on occasion, skipped movies altogether due to the fact that the entire plot was played out in the two-and-half-minute summary masquerading as a trailer. This has happened so often that I now tend to avoid trailers and reviews outright in fear of having the whole experienced spoiled for me. In my humble option, The Void did it just right; building intrigue without giving too much away. What’s a cosmic horror without an element of the unknown?
The Void really did well to mix and mesh various elements of what we’ve seen before into something unpredictable and resoundingly entertaining. It’s definitely not something that your average haunted-house-horror-fan is going to appreciate but for us die-hard enthusiasts, it’s an absolute gem of a film. I probably put it at a nine out of ten, but take my rating with a pinch of salt as this movie was pretty much made specifically for my tastes. Check it out. Do it. Pay for it. I want a sequel. Trailer below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.