The Void is a supernatural horror movie directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, starring Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers and Kathleen Munroe. Financed mostly through crowd funding, it is another example of 80s nostalgia done right.
The movie takes place inside a ready-to-close hospital, where a police officer (Aaron Poole) has just brought a man that he found lying on the street covered in blood. Whilst there, the hospital gets surrounded by a weird group of hooded knife-wielding people, and there is a strange tentacled creature roaming around the enclosed area. How are the people inside the hospital going to survive?
The strongest influence of the directors is John Carpenter, who in 1982 gave us The Thing, one of the most important sci-fi horror movies of the century. This influence can be found in the excellent use of practical effects for the gore and creatures (that are truly impressive given the low budget) and in the slow-building tension and camera work. Another big influence is also the master of horror H.P. Lovecraft, found in the presence of a cult that invokes ethereal entities and gives birth to tentacle creatures, as well as the themes of insanity and cosmic terror too disturbing for our minds to understand (with some imagery reminiscent of 1997’s Event Horizon.
Unfortunately, these themes that are prevalent in Lovecraft’s work are not explored here, and there is also a surprising amount of ambiguity in the story that leaves too many aspects not necessarily open to interpretation, rather not fully developed. This can also be found in the characters, with some relationships never properly explained (such as our hero cop and his (ex)wife who works as a nurse) and other characters just being there to be slaughtered in creatively violent ways. The actors themselves are hit and miss, with some bordering on annoying and others looking checked out most of the time.
If you are going to watch this movie, you are going to watch it for one thing only: the effects. The use of prosthetics by Sean Sansom (who also worked on the remake of Dawn of the Living Dead and 300) are truly the stuff of nightmares, and the design of the creatures is one of the most impressive in recent memory (especially since this is a independent production). The use of CGI is very scarce (with one green screen moment in the end), and the practical gore is going to leave most gorefest fans satisfied. The scares are also well implemented, getting straight to the good stuff in the beginning and relying mostly on actually disturbing the audience rather than using cheap jumpscares.
The only real downfalls of the movie are some of the cast members and partly disappointing story. Our hero is not particularly interesting, and the same goes for the rest of the people inside the hospital. The exception are the father and son duo played by Daniel Fathers and Mik Byskov: they have an interesting relationship, and there are enough hints at their backstory that keeps things engaging; plus, you are never sure of what side they are on, keeping you tense the whole time because you never know what they are going to do. It is sad that the same level of care was not put in other characters, and the underwhelming ending lacks to pack a strong enough punch to leave you fully satisfied.
Overall, The Void is one of the best examples of the decade in the cosmic horror subgenre, with excellent special effects, an intriguing (albeit underdeveloped) story and a consistently thrilling tone that will keep you glued to the screen for the entire runtime.
Visual Effects: 10
Violence & Gore: 9.5
Sex & Nudity: 5
Drugs & Profanity: 6.5
Intensity & Horror: 8.5