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Void, The

Void, The (2016) Movie Poster
Canada / USA / UK  •    •  90m  •    •  Directed by: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski.  •  Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Mik Byskov, Art Hindle, Stephanie Belding, James Millington, Evan Stern, Grace Munro, Matthew Kennedy, Trish Rainone.  •  Music by: Blitz//Berlin, Joseph Murray, Menalon Music, Lodewijk Vos.
        In the middle of a routine patrol, officer Daniel Carter happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road. He rushes the young man to a nearby rural hospital staffed by a skeleton crew, only to discover that patients and personnel are transforming into something inhuman. As the horror intensifies, Carter leads the other survivors on a hellish voyage into the subterranean depths of the hospital in a desperate bid to end the nightmare before it's too late.


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Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
Image from: Void, The (2016)
On the effects and style end, The Void is an example to all of those filmmakers who say "fix it in post" and want to only use CGI blood instead of actual syrup mixed with whatever. It's an often grotesque display of what can be done with rubber and latex and some imagination. Is it the most imaginative use of practical effects? Perhaps not, but it's a lot of the time in the designs, and that the lighting is often cued to make us see the creatures and monsters and tentacles so that it's just real enough without becoming fake. And there are some unsettling choices in direction and atmosphere - how we first are introduced to the mind-control aspect involving a nurse with a scalpel and a face as revealed to be pretty much (gulp) torn off is exciting and disgusting. These directors weren't lazy when it came to effects, but unfortunately they became lazy when it came time to do the work of a movie script.

These characters and the plot that are cooked up for The Void are half-baked, and the actors, while not necessarily bad, are not given enough to rise up to a challenge of doing something more than what their one (or simply half) dimensional characters require them to do. The set-up is The Thing with a bit of Night of the Living Dead and then there's I'm sure a butt-load of Lovecraft there too, as a small town cop and a few locals (including the cop's pregnant wife, who we don't find out is so until later on) are trapped in a hospital as strange, white hooded figures (no KKK component with that, by the way, they're more like evil monks one sees in horror with cult scnarios) with some powers that sometimes get sort of explained, and other time (mostly) do not. It's a siege movie where people walk slowly in dark hallways and down to dark cellars, and one of the stakes is that the pregnant girl may give birth at any moment. Plus, there may be a... inter- dimensional portal of some kind?

This is a movie made by people who clearly (nakedly) love their influences (and maybe smoked a good amount of weed possibly before the script writing process, maybe during too), but they didn't put in what has to be done to make us care about the characters. This is a story where people keep acting mean and obnoxious to one another because, well, DANGER! But one of the aspects of a movie like Carpenter's The Thing is that we get to know and like the characters, and while they're types the actors do a lot of good work to help flesh out the characters too. In here, the actors often have one expression planted on their faces, and it stays there whether it's panic or mean consternation or... more panic. And while I mention that the movie has some good atmosphere, it's not directed with a distinguishing vision that would set it as something unique: a lot of hand-held when it has to get intense, a music cue that comes in when a character does a surprise move into a room or reveal in a shot (and music that becomes extremely loud and TELLING YOU THIS IS SCARY TIME-like during some of the more gruesome scenes).

But more than with the characters, I don't think the writersdirectors did a good job selling us on what the mythology is supposed to be. There's a lot of symbolism involving these triangles and shots of dark-ominous clouds rolling in the sky, and, obviously, there is some fantasticalouter-spaceinterdimensional things going on. Although we do eventually get two scenes where separate villainous characters monologue to other characters - one being someone who is curiously strapped down with some scary medical things about to happen, and the reveal is a good troubling sight, while the other fills in only the slightest gaps in logic and this by the climax - I wanted to know more about the rules here.

There's mind-control and there's sometimes scenes where this world of 'The Void' or what have you shows characters some of their dreams and tries to trick them with fulfilling their desires, and yet it's also not clear how they can do this and why it's only done to some of the characters. And moreover, if they could do mind-control, why doesn't the ultimate main Bad-Baddie get the pregnant woman to him sooner for what is ultimately an impregnation-incubus sort of plot? This is a lot of style that can often work though mostly in the use of practical effects, and I must emphasize that whoever did the effects deserves a free bar for a year for the amount of work put in here (though some of that reaction may be like a guy coming in from being in the CGI desert for so long, whether some of that is derivative too I'm not sure right after seeing it), and at the same time it's sizzle-no-steak.

I didn't go with high or low expectations since I didn't know much about the film, but that's usually a good thing I think: show me what you got and try to impress me with a vision that isn't encumbered by a franchise or a major studio breathing down your necks. The Void has its moments, but a lot of it is humorless and without charm (this really could've used, if one is going to go for the 'but its homaging Carpenter and Romero etc' argument like a Ken Foree or Kurt Russell or something, someone who can make me feel some concern for these people), and at worst it may be all too impressed with its own half-baked imagery and context.

Review by MisterWhiplash from the Internet Movie Database.


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