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[Review] ‘The Void’ Captures The Essence of Cosmic Horror

Many horror fans lament the apparent absence of Lovecraft-inspired horror movies since the glory days of Stuart Gordon and John Carpenter. Of course, we have seen a few Lovecraftian gems here and there since then, but few of those films manage to achieve that illusive atmosphere that we seem to crave. Luckily, writer-directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski have unexpectedly conjured up a worthy addition to the annals of cosmic horror with their new film, The Void.

Starting off as a deceptively simple siege movie, The Void stars Aaron Poole as Daniel Carter, a small-town cop who gets unwittingly caught up in unfathomably horrific circumstances. When Carter attempts to rescue a wounded stranger by taking him to the nearest hospital, he unleashes a chain of events that results in the hospital’s skeleton crew and patients being attacked by gruesome entities and a mysterious cult. This small group must attempt to survive the night all the while dealing with the supernatural implications of their pursuers.

Although it tackles some original concepts and boasts some truly unique (not to mention nightmarish) visuals, The Void is, at its core, a love-letter to what has become an exceedingly rare form of horror in Hollywood. Equal parts The Thing, From Beyond and some kind of hallucinogenic drug trip, this is retro filmmaking at its finest. While nostalgic looks at older styles of filmmaking can sometimes end up feeling derivative, Gillespie and Kostanski manage to inject enough of their own style to keep things consistently fresh.

Speaking of older styles of filmmaking, the practical effects in this film are some of the best (or worst, if you consider the subject matter) that I’ve seen in horror for a long time, even rivalling the work of masters like Stan Winston and Tom Savini. Even if you don’t quite appreciate the story or characters, these visuals will haunt you long after the credits roll. There is some decent usage of CGI as well, but those elements can’t really compare to the physical monstrosities gracing the screen.

While the cast does a fantastic job at reacting to the inexplicable terror around them, you can’t help but feel that these characters could have been developed a bit more. Poole makes for an extremely compelling protagonist, but he can’t quite carry the film by himself. The vastly underrated Ellen Wong also makes an appearance, which is a plus, but the script still isn’t doing anyone any favors. This is a minor gripe, however, as the film as a whole still manages to be exceptionally entertaining, not to mention terrifying.

Despite its flaws, The Void is ultimately the Lovecraftian horror movie that we’ve been hoping for. The ending might not be entirely satisfying, and the characters could have been improved, but this is still an immensely enjoyable film. The effects work and monster designs are top-notch, and the movie somehow captures that rare feeling of cosmic dread that oh-so-many horror films strive for, but few ever achieve. It may not quite reach the heights of the films that inspired it, but The Void is most definitely worth a watch.

The Void will be getting a limited theatrical release starting April 7th!



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COMMENTS

31 Comments
  • zob rombie

    I wanna see this movie SO FUCKING MUCH!

  • Hack Snyder

    It looks a lot like John Carpenter’s films and I mean that as a compliment. I hope a theater near me plays it.

  • Travis_Bickle

    No rating??

    • Hanno

      Haven’t seen any for a while now, seems to be the new site policy. I asked for this several times now, never got an answer. This is a real bummer. I read the reviews for five years now on a daily basis. But without ratings, it’s not a review any more, just a longer news entry… Seems to be time to move on.

    • sliceanddice

      An old review of this from a movie festival gave it 4 skulls

  • Härra Pärnits

    Im usually cynical about new movies but everything about this looks good.

  • Red Right Return

    You can preorder it on iTunes. I did. 🙂

  • RKM

    Just saw it tonight. I agree with pretty much everything here. Go see it if you get the chance.

  • sliceanddice

    Well fuck. Was beyond excited for this -thought the proof of concept trailer was amazing. just saw it and my god it was crap. totally failed to deliver on its promise. what a let down. what little monsters they had were poorly lit bar the first and final beasts, which looked clunky at best and were introduced in such a way that rendered them without threat or mystery. too little monster action generally speaking too. furthermore, the script was terrible, pacing was all over the place. acting ropey, the whole idea squandered. i cant recall the last time i saw a movie that i was so hyped about then proved to be filled with much squandered potential. sorry – just my 2 cents.

    • Josh_the_Jawa

      Yeah, quite a disappointment for me too. Didn’t like any of the characters, and the monsters were honestly forgettable. I don’t get the love really. I appreciate the effort that was put into it, but I would rather watch The Thing, The Mist, or Silent Hill as they do this concept so much better.

      • sliceanddice

        totally agree!

    • Colonel Ives

      i was let down as well. but I didn’t hate it. certain scenes were amazing. I thought the cop was well acted. the humor worked. but wtf happened with the second half. the screenplay definitely needed to be edited and I wish they would have realized this. BUT, if this was what they were happy with, I’m okay and will keep an eye out for a future release. maybe a stretch but, another film in the same universe with same cult and doctor? I just wanted it to be perfect I guess. 6.5/10

      • sliceanddice

        yes – maybe a sequel or spiritual successor. the film could have done with being a good bit longer too to ease the pacing.

        • Josh_the_Jawa

          It for sure needed more time to breathe to let the cosmic dread sink in, plus more character development would have helped.

          • sliceanddice

            again, this is all true. needed a slower burn. totally agree.

    • Kevin Polk

      I largely agree. I watched literally as soon as it showed up on VOD. it was decent but I was hoping for better. The first half of the movie was fairly slow but it did pick up the pace as it went. The big problem was that the script/plot was kind of a mess. Things happened and characters behaved a certain way and then 2 minutes later it was as if they had never happened. The inconsistencies in the plot and characters and behavior were distracting. I liked Baskin quite a bit more than The Void. Similar idea, characters drawn to and descending into a bewildering Hell-like setting. But in Baskin, you cared about the characters and what happened to them. The Void isn’t terrible, it just doesn’t live up to the hype. Can’t see it ending up on many 2017 Top 10 lists. It reminded me mostly of From Beyond.

      • sliceanddice

        absolutely. baskin was a better movie – thought still not perfect. you’re right on the money here.

    • Jerry

      Totally agree. Pacing and acting. Asian lady was good, and maybe lady from the Patriot series (Munroe?) was ok but the rest it was quality of Syfy or even worse (Welsh was trying but he was 100% off, its not his game or his was miscasted and Hindle was sleepwalkin). You cant have good movie with a lead named Aaron Poole. He look like small town retard at best and i wouldnt mind his looks if he could act a little (he cant). Two sidekicks were little better but still not good enough at the slightest. With better actors it would be modern classic like The Thing even. Baskin compared to this is a masterpiece, cause most of all it had very competent actors.

      • sliceanddice

        good points

    • Agreed. I missed this at the last festival it screened at here, but a couple of people told me it would probably be up my alley since I love Lovecraft/cosmic horror/culty craziness. It was just so hollow. The effects were fun, but it was all over the damn place and I didn’t care about a single character. I definitely found Baskin to be a much more effective telling of this kind of story.

    • Benjamin Landes

      Also terrible editing. A Couple characters magically appeared in new places without segue, and how did they get out of that room with all the “mistakes”? They just appeared safely somewhere else at one point.

  • Jiggleberries

    It is a fantastic horror movie but they pretty much ripped off the plot of Silent Hill, right down to certain trademark features (Staticy Radios, Air Raid Sirens calling evil, alternate “hell” dimensions, etc…

    The cultists, monsters and yes even the slightly awkward acting are all increadibly simular to the Silent Hill games.

    People keep comparing this to Lovecraft and John Carpenter, but more than anything it resembles Silent Hill and its spirit.

    I’ll even say that this is the BEST version of a Silent Hill movie that i’ve seen.

  • Geno1987

    I was surprised just how great this movie looked for such a small budget. Proof Hollywood are overpayed arseholes who cant back up talent with their bucks.

  • Darren Kerr

    Watched this late last night.
    Really impressed with it, and definitely all the better for amazing practical effects.
    Will be passing this on to my like-minded buds.

  • Colin Christian

    Agreed,cosmic horror is rare indeed,and this film manages to grab a piece of its own which really makes a nice change

  • Michael Josef Kappel

    Loved it!

  • Cheshire TrollCat

    Fucking awesome movie. Starts immediately, no down time. Also, check out Dagon for a great shadow over insmouth movie.

  • Jace Junkerman

    wanted to see this tonight but think im getting the flu, feel like cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Gonna see it on the weekend

  • SayTen

    Amazing movie! The last creature is kind of a disappointment, but overall this movie delivers for those of us who love Lovecraftian mythos.
    If you enjoy From Beyond, Hellraiser, and the Thing, then you’ll probably appreciate this. Is it perfect, no… but it’s pretty damn good.

  • Flashjordan

    I went into this movie blind, and was thrilled with what I saw a genuine mash up of carpenter, Gordon and lovecraft, with more than enough in it to see a bright future for the film makers. Well worth parting with £4.50 to see.

  • Hugo Leonardo Arevalo

    Movie is crazy as f*ck. Very good, but it was noticeable the lack of money to develop more the script.

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