The Void (2017)
Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital during the graveyard shift, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures
REVIEW: The Void is a little horror movie that came to fruition thanks to online crowdfunding campaigns. The creators of this movie, Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, have worked on many infamous Astron-6 productions in the past (Manborg, Father's Day, and the Bio Cop faux-trailer), and even though Astron-6 did not make this movie, it still feels very much like they could have (which as far as I'm concerned is a great thing, as I love all of Astron-6's productions thus far). These two guys posted up concept art and a basic sales pitch via Twitter and other social media to interest horror fans and then took to crowdfunding in order to get this movie made, and guess how it turned out?
Damn fine. Really damn fine. And I'm not one of these people that will automatically praise up crowdfunded horror movies solely based off just the fact that they're crowdfunded. I've seen many horror movies come about this way that get praised up the wazoo just because of the way it was made, yet I personally don't think they're all that good (Harbinger Down and Rob Zombie's 31 instantly come to mind), however in this case I was totally blown away by how good this movie really is.
The Void is pretty much a horror lover's wet dream, and you can tell it was made by fans of the genre, for fans of the genre. This movie is creepy as all hell, laying on the atmosphere friggin' thick! You'll be hard-pressed to find another horror movie that has come out, at least in the last couple years, that utilizes a creepy, uneasy, tense, atmosphere quite like this one does. Even when there's no action or outright horrific stuff going on there's still always something there to just get under your skin ever so slightly, whether it's lights flickering in the background, an ominous noise down the hall, or a pack of mysterious hooded figures, standing in silence outside the hospital and just staring in.
It seems the creators of this movie followed in the footsteps of some of the Greats when creating said atmosphere, as this movie will constantly be reminding you of Hellraiser and the other works of Clive Barker, John Carpenter's The Thing, the Silent Hill videogames, and especially the grandmaster himself, H. P. Lovecraft. The Lovecraftian influences alone are enough to make me smile ear to ear while watching this, but seeing inspiration from some of my other classic favorites certainly didn't hurt either. Plus, I'm always saying that modern horror needs Lovecraftian influences more often as I just can't get enough of that stuff, and it always seems to be rare to even see it done, much less done right (which this movie most certainly does).
As you might expect from such things, there is no shortage here of characters turning into, or coming under assault by, demonic mutant creatures the likes of which you cannot possibly imagine (except, of course, by those that made the movie), and all of it is brought to live via oldschool practical effects, adding just that one other extra layer of realism to this package. Now again, as per my opinion on Harbinger Down, I'm not one of these people that just blindly applauds practical effects over CGI. I just want GOOD effects, regardless of what type they are. I'll take good CGI over bad practical every day of the week, but I'll also do vice versa - good practical over bad CGI. No matter what style is used, I just want it to be good, and unfortunately I felt the practical effects in Harbinger Down that all the horror fansites creamed their pants for having in there, were downright terrible. I only bring that up so you know where I'm coming from when I say the practical effects for The Void were fan-bloody-tastic! Dead Shadows is a French horror film from 2012 that attempted to do kind of the same sort of stuff with it's effects, however they went the cheap/bad CGI route, and having only just watched that recently, it made it pretty easy for me to compare these two movies' opposite approaches to the same type of concept and I can safely say that this movie's practical effects approach was way better than that movie's CGI approach (still, you should check out Dead Shadows all the same, overall it is a pretty good movie as well). There's one scene in particular here that deals with a room full of tormented disfigured zombie-like creatures in the sub-levels of the hospital, and each one looks different and unique from one another, and with the style of practical effects they went with, it looked amazing, visually interesting, and gross in ways that you just wouldn't be able to pull off believably with CGI.
Unfortunately, there is a few quick moments where there is some CGI used, and I admit it doesn't look as good, but those moments are few and far between, and only very quick. Luckily most, if not all, of the gore shots are also practical, and disgusting as all hell, which is really the only way to do it for a movie as unsettling as this one. One scene in particular, that involves a weird, gross, unnatural pregnancy, where the woman gives birth to a giant 4-legged human zombie/dog hulking creature thing. And I loved it. I can't say enough how much I loved how uneasy this movie kept making me, without crossing into 'going overboard' territory like many low budget movies do. Sure, it's gory as hell, but nothing too outrageous like Cannibal Holocaust or some such that goes so far that it just doesn't make it a enjoyable experience.
I fully admit however, that the middle portion of the movie is definitely a bit slower than the rest of it. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was boring, as I was still interested in everything that was going on, and I still felt really invested and into the movie, however I know some people don't like it when movies change pace like that, so I figured it was worth bringing up. If you are one of those people, please don't let that detract you from watching the movie because it does pick back up again before too long and it just gets batshit insane from there until the end. Keep in mind this movie is very reminiscent of classic 1980s/1970s type movies, so having a few slower moments throughout is pretty normal, and I grew up watching horror movies from those eras most, so much like with Ti West's House of the Devil, it was just nice to sit back and have a new 'old' movie to watch with The Void.
The only real issue that I myself seemed to have with this movie, and it's only a very very minor one, is that some of the video editing during the monster attacks seemed...off. We'd see the characters screaming, then we'd see a monster dragging someone away or smashing their head in, except we'd see them already halfway down the hall. Like, what I'm saying is we don't actually see the monster get close, grab the person, and run off - none of that stuff. Just the monster show up at the end of the hall, close up of people screaming, then the monster running off, already halfway back down the hall dragging one of the characters. It doesn't happen often in the movie, only two quick moments stand out in my memory, but it is admittedly pretty jarring and disjointed when it does happen. Not enough to ruin my enjoyment, but the possibility was there if it had been an issue that kept happening repeatedly.
Creepy, atmospheric, eerie, mysterious, gross, gory, fun - all words that can be used to describe this movie. Throw amazing practical effects and an awesome main location for the setting into the mix and I am one very happy horror and B-Movie fan. The only thing that could have made The Void an even better 80s nostalgia trip for me was if it had included a synth score during the opening and ending of the movie. As the final scene was playing out and the credits soon after began to roll, all I could picture in my head was an imaginary 80s synth score pounding out of my TV's speakers. Seemed like it would have been perfectly fitting.
Still, The Void is one hell of an amazing crowdfunded Lovecraftian horror movie that manages to not just be my favorite B-Movie of the year so far, but my favorite all around movie of the year so far. I know the odds are highly unlikely since I'm still waiting on these boys to make a Manborg 2 and there hasn't even been talks of that at all, but I would one day love to see a sequel to this movie.
10/10 rooms in the Psych Ward