Staffer Reviews: The Void

Johnny Mocny, Entertainment Editor

Recently, I sought out a little-known independent film that made its festival rounds in 2016: The Void. I had heard a lot of buzz, many of whom said it was a return to ‘80s horror, like an adult version of Stranger Things. I heard from some sources that it was the best John Carpenter film he never made. As a die-hard fan of the golden age of horror, I couldn’t help but watch this one via digital download on a laptop in the middle of the night. And boy am I glad I did.

The Void is about a cop who finds a mysterious drunk man and takes him to an understaffed hospital in the middle of the night. Long story short, a robed cult begins to surround the hospital and really strange things start happening inside. Without spoiling anything, wild, absurdly disgusting hijinks ensue.

First off, is it scary? Yes. Hell yes. I tend to be a bit jaded when it comes to horror movies these days but this one really had me on edge, turning on every hallway light just to get from one room to the next. The score is so incredibly retro and unsettling with the really creative way the film is shot. There seems to be an intense clash between reality and fantasy, and it rarely gives you a chance to breathe.

This brings me to the effects. Oh my lord, the effects. The creatures and gore are nearly all practical, harkening back to the good ol’ days of The Thing and Hellraiser. A lot of love and care was put into these haunting images, and they pay off.

This brings me to some caveats. This movie is weird. Like, whatever you’re imagining, it’s weirder. It also decides to answer nearly zero questions. This is a film that requires some reflection, because a lot is left ambiguous. While I don’t require my movies to end with a perfectly tied knot, I couldn’t help but think it was just a tad too open-ended for its own good, and the cerebral aspects really clashed with some of the conventional horror.

Another nitpick is that despite the impressive build-up, The Void doesn’t conclude as satisfyingly as it promises to. It’s a magnificent ride, but the ending leaves something to be wanted.

That being said, this is still an incredible, affectionately made horror film in a time of cynical, jump scare-riddled cash grabs. It’s a breath of fresh air for fans of old-fashioned original filmmaking who wish for a simpler time. I plead to anyone dissatisfied with the current state of cinema as an art form to seek this out, and see what great things the little guys can do sometimes.