I can safely say that the number of horror films that have impressed me in the last 5 years is frighteningly low. I like to think my standards are not incredibly high. I don’t ask much. Films like It Follows, Mama and a few select others have made my list but I wasn’t holding out hope that there would be any more soon. The Void came out of nowhere. I hadn’t even heard of it until a read an article in my beloved Fangoria. The article sang praises of the film, how it was a cross between The Thing, Hellraiser and Event Horizon. That got my attention right away. Those are some of my all-time favorites! Plus, a film described as “Nightmarish” is right up my alley.
The Void is one of those films that lives in that very special space between Sci Fi and Horror. Taking the best elements of both and meshing them into one gory, strange and terrifying ride. I love a horror film that gets you right off the bat and this film grabs you in the first couple minutes and doesn’t let go till the last second. It’s just another boring night for Sheriff Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole), until a wounded man crawls out of the woods and he is forced to rush him to the nearest hospital. Unfortunately, that hospital is manned only by a skeleton crew including his estranged wife, Allison (Kathleen Munroe). I don’t want to give it away, but shit goes downhill really fast and it involves some weirdos with big ass knives standing outside the hospital in creepy white robes with a black triangle over the face. Like I said earlier, this is one of those films that gets you right from the beginning. Sure, I am a fan of the slow burn, if it’s done correctly but that seems to be a rarity these days. The acting is pretty on point. It’s believable, gritty and the emotion and urgency is quite raw. The practical effects in this film are absolutely incredible. I miss the days of good ol corn syrup, zinc oxide and red dye. With the things we can do now with digital effects, makeup effects are almost obsolete. There were scenes in this film that gave me the feeling of when I first saw John Carpenter’s The Thing. The monsters in this movie are pretty damn terrifying and my fiancé can attest to the fact that he would hear me every so often yell “What the fuck!?” or “Oh no no no!!” Those were my genuine reactions. This film doesn’t have to try hard to be scary. All the elements come together to create an absolutely terrifying and disturbing package. When I realized who the directors were I automatically knew what I loved the cinematography and the makeup effects in this film so much. Directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski have extensive backgrounds in art direction and makeup effects working together on such films as Suicide Squad and the new incarnation of Stephen King’s It. I believe this is partially what made this film so great to watch.
Good horror movies are few and far between these days. Even fewer are the ones that manage to use great practical effects. This film made my little gore loving heart skip a beat. Viscera, blood, monsters that look like something out of your worst nightmare. This film delivers. You remember that post I did a few months back about Lovecraftian horror? This film is a prime example of that very topic. This is a film that horror movie directors everywhere could sit down and take a lesson from. The ending leaves a lot of questions. It doesn’t fully explain itself and that makes it so much creepier. I always find the more questions I have at the end of a horror movie, the better and this one left me feeling uncomfortable with the amount of them I had. As humans we naturally crave resolution and when a film leaves us hanging, it makes it so much harder to digest.
The Void was an unexpected surprise. A beacon of hope in the dark ages of horror movies. It comes on full force and is unrelenting until the last second. It is smart, creepy and well made with a throwback vibe that I haven’t seen since It Follows. It is unapologetic with its gore and leaves you feeling empty and uneasy. My only complaint is that there aren’t more films like it. Horror filmmakers, take note, there needs to be more of films like this and less reboots. Think outside the box.