Directed by Jeremy Gillespie [Other horror films: Father’s Day (2011)] & Steven Kostanski [Other horror films: Father’s Day (2011), ABCs of Death 2 (2014, segment ‘W is for Wish’), Leprechaun Returns (2018), Psycho Goreman (2020), V/H/S/94 (2021, segment ‘The Veggie Masher‘)]
Generally well-liked by many in the horror community, The Void does a good job of standing out as a different class of film, but at the same time, certain elements are a bit hard to enjoy here.
The story and plot overall are both pretty interesting, in a rather H.P. Lovecraftian way. At the same time, my biggest gripe comes from the fact that much of what actually happens in the film isn’t really explained. Personally, I loved the ending, but I just wanted to understand more of what was going on. The movie certainly keeps the audience engaged, but instead of answering just a few of these questions (where did all of those cult members come from, for instance), we don’t really get much aside from the rambling of a mad man.
One of my favorite things about this film, though, is how suddenly the story picks up. Five minutes into the film, you know you’re in for an exciting ride, and past a certain point, there’s almost no reprieve whatsoever. In some ways, this can sort of make the movie feel as though it’s dragging, but generally, I thought they did well trying to balance out the panicked action with a few ‘taking a breather’ moments.
Of course, the special effects in this film are most of what people talk about. Done with very little CGI, the body horror in this film is pretty high intensity. It’s a bit downplayed in that it’s sometimes difficult, by virtue of lighting, to see exactly what some of these creatures look like, but also keep in mind that in some ways, that could make the situation even worse. Regardless, the body mutations in this movie were appropriately freaky, and certainly the highlight of the film. Also, the costume design of the cultists was simple yet highly effective. I sort of wish they did more in the film than just stand outside the hospital and look menacing, but they had a solid presence all the same.
I’ve seen the movie twice now, and while I do have an appreciation for it, I still don’t love it. If a few more questions were answered, I think I’d have an easier time with the film. Like I said, I thought the ending was pretty decent, not to mention cool, and though the sub-basement sequences at times got a bit much (with multiple hallucinations and the like), I think most people going into this will appreciate the retro feel this sometimes possesses (it sort of reminds me a bit of Prince of Darkness at points). Definitely a movie to give a chance, and certainly a movie that’s above average, but it didn’t utterly blow me away.