Into ‘The Void’: Corpses, cults and tentacled terrors haunt this tribute to 80’s horror glory

Ioannis Pashakis, Editor-in-Chief

Aaron Poole fends off hellish horrors in a hospital surrounded by enigmatic cult members in “The Void.”

 

 

     Indie horror film “The Void,” a grotesque calling card to 1980’s body horror films, is a blood-pumping and tense flick that keeps the terrifying monsters coming. Just like many films in the genre, the audience isn’t here for the story. They are here for the horrifying hell-beasts.

     Set inside a hospital scheduled to close, the local sheriff Daniel Carter, played by Aaron Poole, brings a bloodied man he’s found on the side of the road to the clinic. The people in the understaffed medical center soon learn that ominous cult members have surrounded the building and something begins to happen to the people who die within the walls of the hospital.

     Fans of 1980’s horror movies will undoubtedly recognize the inspirations that writers and directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski had when making “The Void.” 1980’s horror is still seen as the pinnacle of horror films, and FX artist Rob Bottin and John Carpenter made a huge impact on the genre with “The Thing” in 1982.

     From its many movie posters reminiscent of old horror movie posters outside of your local drive-in, to the practical effects that make the blood, tentacles and organs look real, to the palpable mood in the air. The movie all but drips with nostalgia for movies like “The Thing” and “Alien.” The film even takes a stab at Lovecraftian horror with its stark existential themes and masses of tentacles and grotesque forms.

     While the set pieces and effect work is spot-on with monsters writhing and moaning on the screen looking straight out of a nightmare, the story flops something fierce. This does not mean that horror movie fans shouldn’t see it, but the many on screen deaths and transformations do not hold a lot of gravity when the characters have such minor development.

     On many occasions the movie tries to makes sense out of the relationship of Carter and his wife Allison, played by Kathleen Munroe. But when the movie starts to get really gruesome, the story hasn’t put enough time in to really make you care about her predicament. In fact, even when things get crazy for Allison, the movie glosses over one of the most insane transformation scenes on film in a long time just to show a touching moment between the couple that feels tone-deaf when they hardly shared any moment like that before.

     The movie should have also toyed more with the concept of the cult members outside of the hospital; they offered an interesting aspect to why the people trapped in the hospital could not leave, and were scary in their own right. But the creepy cult members, all dressed in white with black triangles hiding their faces, were never really explained. The movie as a whole could have done with more explanation. While mystery at the end of a movie like this is better than giving time to go into the nonexistent science behind what is happening, the movie opted for an ending that felt completely separated from what had happened throughout the story.

     While “The Void’s” story left for something to be desired and its constant jarring moments trying to make you care about the leading couple fell flat, the horror flick did what it set out to do, and that was to make a film using effects and themes borrowing from famous 1980’s horror classics. The effects and the scares are fantastic in their execution, and any horror movie fan who likes a good monster movie should give it a try. Those looking for a story that delivers a cohesive idea should probably look elsewhere.
 

 

Released on April 7, 2017, “The Void” saw a limited release but unlimited terror across the country.