The Void Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Signature Entertainment
Written and Directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski
2017, 90 minutes, Rated 18
DVD released on April 24th, 2017
Aaron Poole as Daniel Carter
Kenneth Walsh as Dr. Richard Powell
Daniel Fathers as The Father
Kathleen Munroe as Allison Fraser
Lock in at the hospital! His dozy evening at the side of the road disrupted by a wounded civilian demanding medical attention, a small-town cop is suddenly trapped at the local hospital when the staff and patients begin turning insane and a mass of masked, murderous cultists descend upon the building. The humans are the least of cop Carter’s worries though, as rumblings from the basement begin to sneak up on him and his fellow survivors; slithering Otherness from a gateway to Hell itself. With all this to contend, the hospital becomes a real dark place. A Darkplace, if you will (gratuitous Garth Marenghi reference).
Not so much wearing its influences on its sleeve as flourishing a whole technicolour dreamcoat of them, Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie’s The Void is so easy to compare to other movies that it almost does their film a disservice to list them. It can smack of hacky film journalism to go around describing films as Thing meets Other Thing, but in this case, it’s unavoidable. Let’s get it out of the way early, then: this busy horror hybrid packs in elements from The Mist, yes, The Thing, Assault on Precinct 13, From Beyond, The Beyond and Hellraiser, to name but a few, a deeply Lovecraftian film heavily indebted to the work of John Carpenter, Lucio Fulci and Stuart Gordon, among many others – and not least the mighty Howard Philips himself.
The good news is that all of these wonderful inspirations are well-implemented in the film itself, rather than simply going through the motions in the name of fan-service or slavish recreation. There’s a fine line between homage and straight-up rip-off, and The Void largely manages to keep on the right side of it, throwing so much at the screen and story that there’s not too much time to register the various unoriginalities Kostanski and Gillespie are undeniably guilty of. Likewise, Lovecraftian horror films (those that aren’t specifically adaptations of the author’s texts) all-too-frequently become bogged down in either pastiche or imitation, but The Void manages to capture the spirit of the author’s work while still retaining a personality of its own.
Fans of 80s cinema will make up The Void’s core audience, and those who appreciate it the most (and the Stranger Things crowd should eat this one up, although it is less obnoxiously Retro than the popular Netflix meme show). Its practical effects are both appreciated and sparingly used, hidden in the mist and the shadows, save for their big The Thing-style set-piece. This is equally true of the white sheet-wearing cultists, who are employed to a similarly fleeting extent. The Void tries to cram so much in that there’s simply no time for any of its threats to overstay their welcome (especially in the case of the cultists, who I would have liked to see much more of).
At the time, I had a lot of fun with The Void, and instantly fell in love with its lurid visuals, outrageous gore and practical effects. It’s essentially just a linear, less arthouse version of Baskin, but I came away convinced that I had just stumbled upon a modern favourite. One week on, however, and I struggle to recall much beyond its sense of atmosphere, a hospital, and enjoying the visuals. Both the characters and story fail to leave much of a mark, leaving something of a vacant feeling inside. Yes, a void.