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The Void (Movie Review)

The Void (Movie Review)
04.08.2017by: Eric Walkuski
7 10

The Void movie review Steven Kostanski Jeremy Gillespie Aaron Poole

PLOT: Inside of a nearly-deserted hospital, a small group of terrified people must fight off hooded figures and creatures from another dimension.

REVIEW: After working on goofy titles like FATHER'S DAY and MANBORG with their film collective Astron-6, Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie strike out on their own with the more "serious" horror effort THE VOID, a crazed, slimy, gory freakshow that plays like a tribute to John Carpenter, David Cronenberg and Clive Barker. It's a movie that is ambitiously eager to wear its inspirations on its sleeve, but who can complain about such things when the movie is inspired by the kind of body-horror fare we don't see much of these days? Genre fans hungry for a good piece of grotesque 80s-style mayhem will certainly dig what Kostanski and Gillespie are selling here, and while I eventually grew a little weary of the film's "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" approach, I must admit that I spent most of THE VOID enjoying its nasty atmosphere and the bevy of gooey practical effects on display.

The Void movie review Steven Kostanski Jeremy Gillespie Aaron Poole

Think ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 but the villains are faceless cultists and Lovecraftian monsters and you'll have a pretty good idea of what THE VOID has up its sleeve. After stumbling upon a bloodied and terrified man on a lonely stretch of road, small-town cop Dan (Aaron Poole) takes the shivering mess to a local hospital, which has a skeleton crew thanks to its impending closure. There he reunites with ex-wife Allison (Kathleen Monroe), with whom he lost a child years ago and the wounds are still fresh. A handful of nurses and a kindly doctor (veteran character actor Kenneth Welsh) tend to the disturbed man who, unbeknownst to them but shown to the audience in a prologue, just barely escaped being executed by a pair of shotgun and gasoline-wielding men (Daniel Fathers and Mik Byskov). Those two angry customers eventually show up at the hospital, eager to finish what they started, but they're thwarted by the increasingly-concerned bystanders. Then the real trouble starts.

The small band of folks trapped in the hospital learn they've got a literal hell of a problem on their hands when cloaked figures appear outside, blocking them from any escape. Far worse is the fact that one of the nurses has killed a patient, cut off her own face and has proceeded to turn into a nightmarish, tentacled creature that makes Brundlefly look cute and cuddly. Soon enough, time and space start warping, and a handful of the characters are tasked with roaming around a seemingly never-ending basement containing all sorts of ghoulish monstrosities. Ultimately, a portal to another dimension is introduced and a wannabe Pinhead is spouting all kinds of metaphysical rhetoric while a pregnant woman... well, let's just say there's a lot going on here.

The crazier the situation becomes, the more muddled the rules of its world are, but THE VOID certainly isn't shy about laying on an atmosphere of chaotic dread. By the time the third act rolls around, you're certainly as apt to think "I don't know what the f*ck is going on but that's okay" as I was. While it's a clearly low budget affair (most of its funds were accumulated thanks to an Indiegogo campaign), the set design is impressive, especially toward the end, when our characters must navigate a series of darkened and destroyed corridors. Some HELLRAISER-inspired makeup is very well done and there's an awful lot of blood being chucked around, so no worries about missing out on any of the red stuff. The main draw is the plethora of creepy creatures that arrive to ruin the protagonists' night, and they're worth the price of admission for fans of movies like THE THING, THE FLY. and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS. Indeed, it's hard to watch THE VOID without having the titles of so many other films pop into your head, but it's still an engaging horror show when it's going full blown crazy.

In the end, THE VOID might run on a bit too long, even though it's only 90 minutes; one can only take so much ceaseless madness. It's not going to win any awards for freshness or subtlety, and while the acting on hand is all quite naturalistic (Fathers in particular shines), the characters aren't all that memorable. But as an ode to monstrous gore, practical FX, and unnameable things that go bump in the night, it's a ride worth taking.

Extra Tidbit: THE VOID opens in select theaters and on VOD on April 7th.

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