Release Date: April 7th, 2017
Distributor: D Films
Directed by: Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie
Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Walsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Mik Byskov, Grace Munro, Evan Stern, James Millington, Art Hindle, Stephanie Belding, Matt Kennedy
The Void is a fine movie. I say that in the sense of “It wasn’t great, it wasn’t awful… it was fine, I guess.” My biggest issue is that it’s a very busy movie. It’s a creature feature meets cult thriller meets eye-stabbing gory horror movie. We start with two people running from a rural farm house, only to have one gunned down and burned by two men (Daniel Fathers and Mik Byskov) while the other escapes. Officer Dan Carter (Aaron Poole) finds the escapee on the side of the road and brings him to a local hospital where his estranged wife (Kathleen Munroe) is a nurse. We meet Dr. Powell (Kenneth Welsh) and our two villains-who-are-actually-trying-to-stop-the-madness from the farmhouse join the crew along with a short-lived state trooper and a father (grandfather? Baby daddy? All of the above?) with his seemingly unimportant pregnant teen who becomes important later. Carter walks in on a nurse who has skinned her own face, brutally stabbing a patient and shoots/kills her (SPOILER ALERT: She doesn’t stay that way). Now come our robed cultists surrounding the hospital, keeping everyone inside, and things devolve quickly.
We get some good eye stabs, skin removals, assorted creatures devouring our ragtag band of survivors and that’s all just in the first half hour of the movie. The lighting effects and soundtrack keep the tension high and who lives or dies was unexpectedly unpredictable.
As an homage to John Carpenter or George Romero low-budget movies of the 60’s/70’s/80’s or to H.P. Lovecraft stories, The Void knocks it out of the park. Writers/directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie provide some stunning visuals, creepy moments, and terrifying monsters. There’s no over-the-top (or seemingly any at all) CGI effects in the movie at a time when that’s all we seem to get in modern horror. This turns out to be one of the movie’s most redeeming and endearing qualities. It’s a unique story that—had Kostanski and Gillespie picked one genre (or hell, even two) and stuck with it—would’ve been a great flick. That’s where the strong points stop, though.
The Void tries to be too many things. Is it a SOP horror flick? Wait, maybe it’s a sci-fi movie? Oh no, I think we’re delving into a literal abyss/gateway to a hell dimension? Is it a movie about the grief parents who lose a child deal with and the extremes they go to cope? Is this about medical experimentation gone wrong? Are those cultists wearing Klan robes or hazmat suits? Yes, to all these questions. Are you saying “WTF?” because that’s what I asked myself a few times. It’s a well-acted movie, particularly by Poole (whose hair is the breakaway star for never losing its coifed style) but that doesn’t detract from how busy and muddled the story becomes.