It’s certainly strange to see a movie like The Void make it to any theater in this age of straight to video-on-demand to which most new horror films have become accustomed. The Void is a strange movie beyond its release strategy. The blend of horror staples like Hellraiser, Re-animator, The Thing, and generally anything H.P. Lovecraft, certainly shows. Unfortunately, the common hiccups present in this low budget horror outshines the inspiration.
The opening scene of The Void presents just the right amount of weird. After a young man flees from his homicidal captors, he runs into a small town deputy who takes him to a hospital. Soon, strange cult folks in white hooded robes (it’s hard not to draw the comparison throughout) follow to the hospital. Murders begin to happen, people scream way too often, and the mystery takes off.
In addition to being throwback horror, The Void borrows heavily from the recent video game Bloodborne (which borrowed heavily from the Cthulu Mythos). The amount of inspiration is staggering throughout. Directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie clearly have a great love for the cosmic and body horror subgenres. On its own, the film stands out for its pure creative energy in practical effects and storytelling.
Without giving away too much plot; the dupty, after delivering the patient and escaping the hospital by cultists, has visions. It’s a small and necessary touch that helps flesh out the claustrophobic atmosphere of single setting films. The art on display in his visions is incredible cosmic horror down to a tee. Massive landscapes, floating ships, strange persons; it’s quite wonderful to see such boundless insanity in a small independent horror film.
The Void’s creature designs are a blessing in an age of CGI-infused creations that look more aesthetically horrific than anything. Again, the directors’ inspiration from Cronenberg-type body horror is a decent indication of their grotesquery. Limbs are askew in places limbs ought not to be and tentacles come from places no tentacle should come from. The Void is the kind of horror film that puts a pit of uneasiness in your stomach for 90 minutes. And during that runtime, the film never slows down. This is partially due to the heightened emotions of the characters. The Void benefits from a fast burn through its story.
However, none of this is to say that The Void is going to amount to the quality of the aforementioned horror classics. The acting is the main drawback to the film with every actor using unrealistic emotions to convey the simplest of circumstance. It’s not so much of the horror trope, “Why did they DO that?” but, “Why did they SAY that?”. No one seems to want to work together in these dire straits. The permeating dialogue also diminishes the effect. Had half the exposition been cut out, The Void would have become an atmospheric Lynchian horror film. Instead, almost every scene entails some sort of, “Come on!” or, “Oh no!” spiced throughout. This all hurts an otherwise exemplary piece of indie horror.