The Void 2017
In the middle of a routine patrol, officer Daniel Carter happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road. He rushes the young man to a nearby rural hospital staffed by a skeleton crew, only to discover that patients and personnel are transforming into something inhuman. As the horror intensifies, Carter leads the other survivors on a hellish voyage into the subterranean depths of the hospital in a desperate bid to end the nightmare before it’s too late.
April 7, 2017
Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski
Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski
Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, and Daniel Fathers
Out now on Blu-ray & DVD is The Void, directed Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, a film collectors of classic horror movies should consider a must-own. True the film hasn’t built up a reputation as a bona fide “classic” yet, but it will. Expect to see The Void on many Top 10 Best Horror Movies of 2017 Lists come December (perhaps going toe-to-toe with Get Out for contender of the year), and beyond. The film is destined to be lauded as a paradigm of practical FX; even in an age where CGI rules, The Void will be cited as proof that nothing beats the real thing.
In addition to being a shining example of modern genre filmmaking, The Void is nothing if not a love letter to the practical FX-driven films of horror’s Golden Age (aka The 1980s), exemplified in films like John Carpenter’s The Thing, Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond, David Cronenberg’s The Fly, John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London, and Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. By going back to the basics and improving on old techniques with new technologies, The Void elevates itself into a class of its own. I can only hope that the film will inspire up-and-coming horror practitioners to looks for their monsters in an FX laboratory, and not in a box of software.
Official Synopsis: In the middle of a routine patrol, officer Daniel Carter happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road. He rushes the young man to a nearby rural hospital staffed by a skeleton crew, only to discover that patients and personnel are transforming into something inhuman. As the horror intensifies, Carter leads the other survivors on a hellish voyage into the subterranean depths of the hospital in a desperate bid to end the nightmare before it’s too late.
The Void stars Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, and Daniel Fathers.
The Void shares something else in common with the beautiful grotesquery of movies like The Thing, Hellraiser, and The Fly: It’s scary as Hell (which is actually a place the film descends to). My praise of the FX doesn’t mean The Void’s bag of tricks is limited to eye-candy. Like the best films of our beloved genre, the horror is both real and existential. I’m reminded of the seminal offerings of George A. Romero like Night of the Living Dead where the terror takes place within the larger context of civil rights; like Dawn of the Dead where zombies are no less dangerous than other nihilistic survivors; like Day of the Dead where the fall of civilization becomes secondary to a Hatfields and McCoys-style feud between soldiers and scientist.
The Void would be harrowing if it was only about a medical emergency, a hostage standoff, or a malevolent cult, but all of these subplots play out within the larger context of a legitimate metaphysical crisis, a cosmic event of cataclysmic proportions, a crumbling of the barriers that separated the Ancient Gods from the Judeo-Christian. And yet somehow, this series of extremely unfortunate events can ultimately be seen as the perfect conjunction of a beautiful disaster.
Despite the film’s epic scope, the actors are stunning, keeping the film grounded through the conveyance of genuine human emotion. Ellen Wong is arresting as a medical assistant forced into a situation where she’s completely out of her league. Forced into a room the size of a prison cell, we agonize with her as she faces a life-and-death emergency; we all tremble as she holds the scalpel without an ounce of confidence as someone screams “Cut!” Evan Stern is so convincing as an addled drug addict he gives us the jitters too, adding to The Void’s palpable and pervasive sense of dread. Art Hindle isn’t the ineffectual police officer we so often see, rather the type of hard-ass, perceptive law enforcement official we expect to encounter in an actual standoff. The fact that this no-nonsense credible archetype comes to believe something truly otherworldly is afoot brings the horror of The Void into a stark, crystalized reality.
Amazingly, none of the actors I just mentioned are leads. The Void is anchored by the shattered relationship between deputy Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) and head nurse Alison Fraser (Kathleen Munroe). These characters have gone their separate ways under the most tragic of circumstances, the kind of emotionally devastating event that makes you want to forget everyone and anything even remotely involved. In The Void, fates reunite the fractured pieces of a shattered family unity, forcing them to reconcile their own inner demons before they can face the literal ones in the hospital’s dank, abandoned corridors. They may save the lives of everyone on earth, but first, they must save themselves (literally, spiritually, and cosmically).
Horror’s knee-jerk detractors (mean jerk detractors) will of course find something to fault, most likely the film’s extreme violence and lofty, cerebral climax. But The Void is a triumph of cinema in any genre, a rare, near-perfect piece of art where intricate, almost disparate elements merge into a water-tight singularity—like a Lament Configuration, a puzzle that comes with unimaginable consequences when unraveled. The ending of The Void is exceptional, and yet it opens doorways to entirely new beginnings, inspiring the imagination with new levels of terrifying possibilities. Don’t wait to see this film that juxtaposes tentacles with heart-strings, viscera with metaphysics, and the devastation of eternal loss with the hope of an infinite future.