Friday, June 02, 2017
The Void (2017)
When a police officer comes across a wounded man crawling out of the backwoods on a deserted stretch of road. He quickly rushes the man to the local, unstaffed hospital. The few people that are at the hospital soon discover strange occurrences when a cult doning hooded gowns begin appearing at the hospital with sinister plans for all of the people inside. While trapped inside, they soon discover that not only are these people on the outside evil, an otherworldly evil awaits them inside as well.
Going into The Void, I purposely didn't watch a single clip or trailer for the film. I had heard about the film for months before it's release. I had seen articles on the film but tried to stay clear as the movie was being hyped up to boiling point and I didn't want to ruin anything about the story. I had plans to go into the movie blind and wanted to just experience it. I think this was a smart move on my part as I had no clue of what to expect and came out relatively satisfied.
I will be the first to admit, that I have never read a book or story by H.P. Lovecraft. I had heard a lot of fellow horror fanatics compare The Void to his works. I sadly can't make the same claim as I haven't read his work but if this movie was inspired by his stuff, he must have written some insanely messed up stories that featured gruesome body horror. After watching this film, I got a serious John Carpenter The Thing meets Hellraiser vibe from the film.
I mentioned The Thing and Hellraiser as influences as I think the filmmakers behind this film were highly influenced by these two movies when writing and directing The Void. This is a movie that seems to take a lot of classic horror movie tropes and uses particular ideas from them to create this story. It feels all a bit, Frankenstein. It feels stitched together from other parts to make a familiar beast. This is where the movie loses a point or two with me.
Another problem that I had with The Void is that it doesn't make all that much sense once we come to the end of the film. The plot introduces us to what appears to be a pretty creepy cult. Figures who are wearing white gowns with white hoods with this black triangle on them. They are mysterious and eerie. We never get a reason as to why they are there. We have characters who are holding up in the hospital are never given character development, so we never understand what their motives are or why some just disappear and never get heard from again. This film is pretty flawed when it comes to the script.
What The Void lacks in story and characterisation, it makes up for with its gorgeously done practical make-up effects. I welcome practical makeup effects over poorly done computer-generated blood, gore, and creature effects any day. If you love the work of Rob Bottin and The Thing, you will love the monster effects in this movie. I was just in awe of how creative the alien and monster designs were. I imagine this film is low budget and I think they used every cent they had on the visual effects and practical makeup as it was all excellent.
The Void is extremely gory and violent. We have a few scenes where characters get a pretty silly death by being dragged away off camera, but for the most part here, this is insanely gruesome. I was lapping up every single second of the bloodshed. A lot of scenes see characters being maimed and mutilated by creatures. Skulls are stomped on, and tentacles penetrate pretty much every orifice on the human body. No one is safe. For gorehounds, this won't disappoint.
When it comes to the suspense and scares, the movie starts out really strong. When the story introduces us to the cloaked, hooded white figures. They are menacing and come across as really sinister. I thought they ended up being much scarier than the actual monsters in the film. Once the movie starts to get into the more creature side of the horror, things sort of lose all of their creepiness. For the first thirty minutes, I was really unnerved by the early cult scenes.
Lastly, the acting in this movie is pretty solid. The movie is held together by the lead performance of Aaron Poole. He stars as the small town police officer who must band together with a few of the townsfolk and survive this horrific night. I haven't seen him in anything else, but I thought he played the hero well. The rest of the actors for me were pretty disposable. I will mention that I was happy to see Ellen Wong who I last saw in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in this film.
DEATH TOLL: 14
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A doctor is stabbed in the throat.
- A reanimated corpse smashes it's face on a metal pole.
- Mutilated corpses are shown hanging in a hospital basement.
- A man and mutated monster are set on fire.
- Someone's skull is completely crushed.
- Tentacles penetrate a man's stomach.
- Someone's face is repeatedly smashed into the concrete.
- Someone's throat is slashed.
- A woman is shot and set on fire.
- People pull and cut the skin off their own face.
- An alien baby explodes out of a teenage girls stomach.
- Someone is stabbed in the back with a kitchen knife.
- A woman is killed with an ax.
- Someone shoves a flare into someone's stomach.
- Tentacles are shoved into someone's eyes.
- A mutated monster's head is blown to pieces.
- A pair of scissors are removed slowly from someone's eyes.
- People are shot dead.
- Someone is stabbed in the shoulder.
- A mutated monster is hit repeatedly with an ax.
I will start by saying that The Void has a few problems. The film doesn't make all that much sense in the end. I think had the writers/directors put a little more time into the story and crafting a more cohesive script, we may have had a somewhat masterpiece on our hands. This at times feels very familiar. Like Beyond The Gates, the movie isn't perfect, but this is dripping with nostalgia. The Void is filled with impressive gore and practical effects, I was eating up every second of this movie. This is a hell of a lot of fun, and for such a low budget film, you have to admire these two filmmakers and their ambition.