The Void (2017)
Critic Consensus: The Void offers a nostalgic rush for fans of low-budget 1980s horror -- and legitimate thrills for hardcore genre enthusiasts of all ages.
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Critic Reviews for The Void
"The Void" gets louder, grosser and more stupid the further it progresses, becoming an endurance test in its final sequences.
One of the more action-packed features to come from the current crop of John Carpenter-inspired filmmakers, The Void finds collaborators Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski going much further than many of their peers.
If only writer-directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie had lavished as much love and attention on plot and structure as they clearly did on production and theme, this ickfest might have been more than a nod to the gory glories of '80s horror.
People live, people die, monsters creep out of the shadows, but it's all a little too formulaic, cynical, and ... well, boring.
A lively, layered throwback to the days when splatter auteurs like John Carpenter, George Romero and Lucio Fulci ruled the drive-in.
Audience Reviews for The Void
Where do you even begin with a film such as The Void? This is a legitimate question, like where do you even begin? The film covers so much ground despite being so vague, visually arresting and horror as fuck. I suppose we could begin with a debate on films that are purposely vague and how some people dislike that. The big point of contention on purposely vague films seems to be that it's a way to avoid coming up with an actual ending that makes sense with the narrative you have put forth. But there's a big difference between not coming up with an ending on purpose, because you have no way to logically end your narrative and between a filmmaker who crafts a story/world/etc filled to the brim with little details and symbolism. The latter works hard to tell something that holds you and compels you to want to put all the pieces together, the former doesn't. I saw a film last year, called The Midnight After (a review I just posted on Letterboxd to complement the points I want to make), that was nothing but red herring after red herring after red herring without an actual ending for TWO HOURS. That was, easily, one of the most annoying experiences I've had as a film geek. Because you just sensed that there was little to no effort or thought put into any of what they did. Fruit Chan (director of The Midnight After) purposely made a movie to piss off everyone watching it. That was its entire reason for existing, to piss you off. And it pissed me off so, I guess, mission accomplished. Contrast that experience I had with this film and they aren't even in the same universe. Quite literally in both cases, The Void is as cosmic as horror can possibly be. I know people will be unsatisfied by the vagueness and the unanswered questions, but the film provides with you with enough clues and hints to come up with your own theories. One of the film's big themes is the unknown and the void, whatever it may be, is one of those unknowns. It's very Lovecraftian in that way. I honestly don't know how I go in depth on this movie without really spoiling much of the bigger plot points, so just be warned. If you're on Letterboxd, you'll probably see the warning prior to the review. This movie starts off with quite a bang. This man and woman are running away from from this house (which is spray painted with a black triangle) as this man and his son (this is later revealed) are running after them to kill them. The man and his son manage to catch the woman and they set her on fire. The man manages to escape. Long story short, Carter (the cop) finds the escaping man stumbling out of the forest. This man, named James I believe, has blood all over the face and Carter decides to take him to a nearby hospital. While there, you see that the hospital suffered from a fire earlier and the people there are on the process of ditching this hospital to head to another one. Carter's wife works at the hospital and there's tension between the two as a result of the death of their child. The film wastes absolutely no time in throwing madness at you, as Carter finds that one of the nurses has killed the only other patient by stabbing him in the eye with a pair of scissors. This nurse has also removed parts of skin from her own face. She comes at Carter and he is forced to shoot her. Shortly afterwards, however, Carter is sickened by what he did and he pukes in the bathroom. While there, he starts to see these strange visions of bloodied flesh moving around, a barren wasteland and a looming giant pyramid. I can't really do this without this review taking forever, so let's skip ahead shall we. Essentially, the lead doctor, Powell, is stabbed to death by the man Carter took to the hospital. The man and the son have also arrived at the hospital and they're throwing their weight around. While they're separated, Carter's wife is taken by Powell, who has come back from the dead. This where the film gets a little tricky, as it is revealed that Powell is, in fact, the leader of this robed cult that has been surrounding the hospital since Carter arrived. This cult is attracted to the hospital by the sound of this giant horn, hearkening back to the seven trumpets of the apocalypse. Powell has been performing experiments on people that his cult have killed in order to bridge the gap between life and death. He wants to end death and find a way to bring his daughter back to life. The powers the void has given him allows him to do just that. But the thing is that when he brings people back, or those that are under his influence that die after killing someone for him, they come back as these horrible monsters. Immortality comes with a price, after all. Powell has been performing experiments for a while it seems, as when Carter, the man and his son go to look for Allison (Carter's wife) they find all these abominations have come to life to attack them. This is when the film starts to play with perception of reality as, while they're in his realm, Powell can bend and shape reality as he sees fit. This is where the film is at its best, I think. The visuals themselves are so damn surreal and nightmarish. It's as if you're watching hell come to life right in front of your eyes. The thing about it is that all of these monster effects, they're all completely practical. There's no use of CG, as far as I could tell, and the monster effects are just so fucking great. While I get that this film is a throwback to 80s horror, it wears its Hellraiser influences on its sleeve, this has a certain grotesque aspect that has been missing from horror for who knows how long. The things you see in this movie are just downright gross. Which is the way it should be, really, if you're going for something that's gory and violent. It's not just gore for the sake of it, it's meant to cause a visceral reaction out of you and I think it's gonna achieve that for most people. I liked the approach of Powell trying to control his followers by promising that death will simply not be the answer for them. They will live forever and they will be transformed into something greater than what they are. But, in reality, Powell's game is simply just trying to bring his daughter back by any means necessary, even if she comes back as a horrifying murderous monster. There's some interesting dynamics explored here, in the more surreal sections of the film, where you get to see the father and son's (their names are never revealed) past and what caused them to be so mistrustful of others. They relive that fateful day that caused them to be the way they are with others. They also explore Carter's guilt about the loss of his son. I won't say anything more about Carter's guilt, but it's quite dark indeed. But all of this is, really, just Powell's attempts to lure more followers to his side. If you kill someone while under his influence (he's the one responsible for Carter's visions) and then die, you are able to come back as one of the monsters to rule at his side. I like all the questions that are brought up, particularly with some lines between the father and son, is this 'event' just contained to the hospital. Is it a citywide thing? Or is it a nationwide thing? You don't know, we're as much in the blind as the characters are in this film. And I think that's very exciting to watch play out. Again, one of the film's themes is the unknown. They play with that concept in very interesting ways. It's all quite crazy. I can't even really begin to describe everything that goes on. Let's just say that the film is quite the ride from beginning to end. I mentioned earlier that this is a throwback to 80s horror and I can agree with that, but this is still peppered with its own unique and distinctive touches that it is still able to stand out on its own. Not to mention the fact of how ambitious the entire thing actually. This is a film that embraces symbolism and there's so much to that that they doesn't explicitly point out to you. Yes, the narrative (and ending) was vague, but there's so much to digest here. How can you purposely ignore so much of the movie just because it didn't hold you by the hand from point A to point B? I'm not saying this is a perfect horror movie, because it's not, but it offers so damn much. I loved the grotesque horror, I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the cult, the surreal visuals are great as well. All in all, this is a really damn good horror flick. I'd easily recommend it, I know not everyone will like this, but I think it still deserves to be seen, at least once. This is horror at its most ambitious while also managing to be very entertaining at the same time. Those two don't always go hand in hand, this film somehow manages to bring them together.
An unsuspenseful and bore of a movie.
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