When was the last time we had a proper a lovercraftian inspired cosmic horror? Not since the days of Stuart Gordon and John Carpenter. Well, now we have a film that definitely fills a void (sorry) that’s been missing from cinema for many years.
Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) is a local police man, when he finds a bloodied, manicical man in a ditch in the middle of the night, he takes him to the soon to be closing local hospital. Ran by Dr Powell (Kenneth Welsh), your typical well known local doctor who has been in the job for years. Other staff members include, Daniels ex-wife Allison (Kathleen Munroe), Trainee nurse Kim (Ellen Wong) and a young pregnant girl, Maggie (Grace Munro).
Shortly after introductions and rekindling relationships we are interrupted by the mysterious roadside patient who is screaming and fighting something in his room. We get a lovely build up and slow lurching camera movements to the reveal of this obscure and unnatural tentacled monster. The film really kicks into gear at this point with the introduction of the monster and two new characters Vincent and Simon (Daniel Fathers and Mik Byskov) the pair have been tracking the mysterious roadside man who seems to bring death wherever he goes. Added to this we have a cult of mutes marked by white robes with a black triangle covering the face surrounding the hospital, threatening the lives of anyone that tries to leave.
Clearly wearing its influences on its sleeve The Void creates its own style very quickly. Take a pinch of The Thing, a dash of From Beyond, throw in some Re-animator and mix it all up with Phantasm and Assault on Precinct 13. The film draws from many other 80s horror films but forges its own path and makes something deliciously moody.
The story elements at play in each stage of the film all blend together brilliantly and nothing ever feels lost. It’s very strange as I always felt as if I knew exactly what the film was and where it was going but at the same time the sense of doubt and the unknown always sat at the back of my mind. It was a unique feeling which I feel was deliberate by directors Kostanski and Gillespie and lent itself well to the genre.
Let’s talk about the directors, Steve Kostanski is quickly becoming a personal favourite. Primarily known as a make-up artist you can see he clearly knows his craft. I loved his practical effects and direction in Manborg and his dedication to the genre he is directing is impeccable. Co-director Jeremy Gillespie is a fairly new name, mainly known for working in the art department on films. He’s teamed up with Kostanski before on the film Fathers Day and he famously(?) played The Baron in Manborg. The duo also worked together as principal members on the Suicide Squad crew. You can clearly see the talents of these two shining through in The Void, the practical effects and body horror are amazing to look and really freak you out.
The film features a portal into another world, a hospital conspiracy and a sense of ancient foreboding evil on the brink of entering our world and its all handled superbly. I’m a huge fan of the works of H.P Lovecraft and Robert Bloch and it’s great to see directors drawing influences from this world. Audiences have been waiting years for an adaptation into the world of Cthulu, Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath, this film is 100% a step in the right direction. There’s a great balance of horror, the unknown, lore and gore. This feels like the start of a bigger story in a world where the unimaginable is real.
The Void produces some mind bending cut-away’s as Daniels mind delves deeper into madness, that leave you with a foreboding, cerebral feeling and the image of the black triangle becomes embedded in the brain. You actively know this shape means more but you can’t put your finger on the exact meaning of it and that’s always a mainstay in cosmic horror. The feeling of hopelessness and an eternal struggle that can’t be won.
It may not be elegant or classy but you’ll find yourself craving more once the film is done and to be honest it’s hard to recommend something to scratch that itch. You’d probably have to go back to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead or re-visit some classic Carpenter.
I watched the film through Amazon VOD and it was worth every bit of my money. So I can only say that if you want a sci-fi, cosmic horror with lashing of 80’s influence then get involved with The Void.
Also some of the best film posters I’ve seen in years! where can I buy those?