Hello there fellow denizens of the dark, it’s Thakgore and today I bring you a review of one of the most anticipated horror films of the year, “The Void”. I’ve been following this one since they started their fundraising efforts back in 2013 and couldn’t wait to get my peepers on it. With the promise of an old-school approach to practical effects reminiscent of films like “Hellraiser” and “The Thing”, I sat down with unbelievably high hopes for this one. So let’s stick close together as we find out what lies inside….
“The Void” is brought to life by Astron-6 collaborators Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski who last shared directing duties on 2011’s Father’s Day. It stars Aaron Poole, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong and genre vets Art Hindle and Kenneth Welsh. “The Void” involves several people trapped in a remote hospital that has been mostly abandoned after a fire. They are set upon by robed cultists that prevent them from leaving while simultaneously being preyed upon by something horrible that is trapped inside with them.
First of all let me talk about the effects. This is what got me in the door and made me excited about this particular film. I’m glad to say that they are every bit as good as was promised. The creature effects, in particular, are stellar and there is some truly disturbing stuff rolling around in the minds of writer/directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski. I haven’t seen stuff like this since “The Thing” and they should be proud with the work they’ve done here. If nothing else this film should cement them as some of the most premiere creature effects workers in the genre. I honestly can’t say enough about how great a job they did…which, unfortunately, leads me to my biggest gripe about the film. You can hardly see any of it.
The most glaring weakness in this movie is that while Gillespie and Kostanski might be gifted effects guys they are not gifted directors. They chose to bathe this movie in shades of deep red and black to the point where the amazing work they did on the effects gets lost inside of it. They make cuts when they should hold, things happen without any build up, and important plot points are glossed over or outright happen off camera without any warning. Some scenes are blocked so poorly that I was confused about exactly what was going on, and in a movie that involves as much insanity as this one that is definitely not a good thing. It really takes away from the presentation when they confuse you half the time and then cover up the coolest parts with unnecessary darkness.
Then there is the acting. Now, I’m not sure how much of this can be blamed on the direction or the script, but there is nothing special going on in this department either. Art Hindle and Kenneth Welsh give the best performances with Kathleen Munroe coming in close behind. Aaron Poole, the lead, alongside Ellen Wong, deliver cringe-worthy efforts that really pulled the picture down. I found Poole completely unlikable and since he’s the hero you can see the conundrum. The only person I really enjoyed was Mik Bysov as Simon, who is a mute!
The last thing to talk about is the plot. While I understand that it’s supposed to feel familiar it comes off instead as completely derivative. They wanted so badly to make this film a throwback to the old 80’s classics that they forgot to add anything original to their own movie. There is nothing here that wasn’t done better in “Assault on Precinct 13”, “Hellraiser”, “The Thing” and “Phantasm”. The villain even apes Pinhead so closely that if you closed your eyes while he is monologuing you’d be convinced it was him. I tried to find anything that I could hold onto as far as originality goes and came up with nothing.
In conclusion I can’t say I enjoyed my time with “The Void”. I can honestly say, though, that my gripes did not come from being over-hyped. This film is mediocre in all aspects except for the outstanding effects. I tried to apologize for it in my own head because of how much I wanted to like it but by the time the movie ended I couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm with which to wholly recommend it. As it stands this is a two star movie that I’m going to bump a full point on the strength of the effects alone. 3 out of 5
“The Void” was released today on VOD.