You know how when you’re wanting to go to the movie theater and you look up all the films that are showing and there are alway at least three that you’ve never heard of, let alone have any interest in seeing? Well, good news! I’ve seen those movies. I spend most of my theater experiences in art house theaters watching those movies that you’ve never heard of and then never watch. Yeah, I’m that hipster asshole. My goal with this is to spread information out about these films, that way you can decide one of the following. “That actually sounds pretty cool! I want to see that now!” or “Man, I’m glad I decided to go see the new superhero movie!”. So without further ado, here is my article and review of The Void.
I’ve been meaning to review this film for awhile. In fact, I tried to review this before Filmsplosion 2016, thinking it might make it into the top ten films of the year. That was one reason as to why I was wanting to review it. It was also because it is a very highly rated. But the biggest reason as to why I reviewed this is because The Void, what some are calling one of the best horror films of 2016/2017 depending on how you determine your release calendar, was directed by the same guy who directed Father’s Day. That’s right, the film that has been heavily debated on the podcast and what I think has been called on the podcast as “one of the worst films I have ever seen”, is made by the same guy that made The Void. So let’s get started.
The Void is a horror film centering around the occult and the meaning of life and death. This is my pretentious way of explaining this film. Don’t let the title of my review series distract you from the fact that this film is the least “Art House” film I am pretty sure I have reviewed in this series. This is a very standard independent horror film. I described it to someone as a film that will do really well once it gets to on demand. This is a prime example of something that you will see recommended to you on Netflix at 2 am and think, “what the hell” and just pop it on. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The Void begins with a local sheriff of a small boring town bringing in a druggie to the hospital after finding him bloody on the road. I won’t spoil what happens after this, but understand that it gets disturbing really, REALLY fast. I have seen other critics describe this film as inescapable dread, linking this film to the feeling of no matter what you do, you can not escape misery. And I think that is pretty accurate.
The film is pretty unpredictable. Both in terms of the disturbing content as well as how it is written. I would say that this is one of the better-written horror films I’ve seen in a while. It’s not amazing by any means. But when you have so much garbage horror being made, it is always fun when something like this rises to the top and actually can hold my attention. I think a majority of the characters have a large amount of development and have their motivations very clearly laid out to the audience in a way that isn’t down your throat with exposition but also does tell you the information, in a pretty unique way as well. I wouldn’t say that the plot is overly complex or anything like that, but it does keep you guessing and have you wondering just what exactly is happening the entire film. To the point where at the end, there are a few things that I am still confused about. But at the same time, I feel like that is part of the magic of the film. I left the theater still in the dark, which is kind of what the characters felt at the end. So I guess that is one of those positive/negative things that I run into in this series a lot.
One thing that I would like to mention is how great the special effects of this film are. Almost everything in this film is practical monster effects, which is incredible. Not only is it incredible, it is also completely horrifying. The film has a very similar vibe to it that The Thing has. Not in terms of plot or anything like that, but in the practical effects and the horrifying nature to them. Every monster in this film is terrifying, the final monster in this film is something of nightmares. I would say that the first half of the film is pretty tame, with just members of the occult being the real bad guys and horror, which is pretty calm. But there is a certain point halfway through the film, where everything essentially explodes and the film becomes one of the most unnerving experiences I’ve had in a theater in a long time. And I absolutely loved it.
I would certainly recommend this film. If you are a horror kind of person, I would say check it out in theaters if you get the chance. It’s only showing in one theater in NYC right now, and I’m not sure how far it is going to expand. But like I said earlier, this is a film that will do well and find it’s home on the VOD market. When it comes to Netflix or Amazon Prime or whatever, I would definitely check it out. I don’t know if a hell exists. But if it does, it probably looks a little something like The Void.