Night #4: The Void (2016)

void

Directed By: Steve Kostanski & Jeremy Gillespie

You’d be surprised at the things you find when you go looking…

There’s a unique kind of dissapointment you get when you watch a movie that seems made for you but you end up struggling to recommend it. Your brain goes between thinking up reasons why you should’ve liked it while trying to reconcile with the fact that it’s simply not very good. You’d think homages to John Carpenter, Clive Barker and with a dash of Lovecraft (Not too much though, the big ole racist) and with all practical effects would be right up my street. On paper it was and still is. But just ticking off boxes on the ‘What Would James Like?’ spreadsheet isn’t enough. I didn’t expect a deep or well-written script by any means, but I knew I was in trouble when there was a particularly egregious piece of soap-opera writing early on. You know the type, it’s when there’s some tension between two characters and then someone blurts out exactly what this issue is. In this case it’s a husband and wife who seem uneasy with one another, until another character steps in to just mention to one of the involved party that things haven’t been the same since they lost their newborn child a year ago. As though they don’t know it. It’s such an unnatural and ungraceful way to create drama.

So what’s this all about? Well we start with a farmhouse where a young man bolts it out of the door running, followed by a woman who is chased by two men and then set on fire. Waiting in a lane nearby is beat cop Daniel who finds the young man crawling on the road and takes him to the nearby hospital. Waiting there is a pregnant girl and her father, a patient in one of the rooms, a skeleton crew of nursing staff and a doctor. It doesn’t take long for things to go south when one of the nurses stabs the patient in the eye and starts cutting the skin off her face. If nothing else, The Void is pretty gnarly.

From there on out things get weirder and weirder, including robed cult figures who have surrounded the hospital and the two men from the opening who have now shown up at the hospital to finish off their business.

It’s easy to see the influences here. There’s a bit of Assault On Precinct 13 and Prince Of Darkness. There’s a touch of Hellraiser finished off with a garnish of Event Horizon. None of this is much of an issue if the rest holds up, but sadly it doesn’t. First of all though I just want to praise it for the all-practical effects on display. It’s so refreshing to see something that’s not a mess of CGI for once and when the movie gets gruesome it gets suitably gruesome.

Sadly it’s hampered by the aforementioned script that feels like a first draft. There’s the intriguing idea that everyone in the hospital has lost someone close to them and are binded by their grief but it feels so haphazard in the way that it’s put together that it feels more like coincidence than a theme and none of this is helped when every character talks in conflicts. I appreciate that the movie zips along to the next setpiece, but despite most of these characters being familiars they all feel like strangers who just want to shout at eachother.

Those effects I mentioned earlier do stay impressive throughout, but they’re spoiled by the back half of the movie which largely takes place in total blackness if the version I watched was anything to go by. It got to the point where I honestly considered cranking the brightness on my TV just so I could see who was running from what. By the end of it I’m sorry to say that I lost interest and even the monster effects had a feeling of repitition about them. There’s one monster that the movie builds up to showing but it bared such a resemblence to one that you see in the first twenty minutes that I figured they just reused the same puppet.

So it’s pretty obvious I don’t have too much to say about this one beyond creature effects good, everything else not so much and…yeah you’d be right. If there was more to sink my teeth into then it would be great, or even if it had some of that slasher movie weirdness to it then that would be great too (Oh what I wouldn’t give to have some shitty rock band show up and perform just to break things up a bit). Ah well, it’s a shame but what can you do about it. They get credit for trying that’s for sure and here’s hoping that whatever they do next fixes the issues found here.

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