It seems like just another quiet night on patrol for Police Officer Carter. Until a man covered in blood lurches out of the woods and collapses in front of his cruiser. Carter transports the wounded man to a local hospital on the eve of being shut down, manned by a skeleton crew of staff and patients. Only to find himself and the rest trapped as they become surrounded by a mob of strange robed cultists! But the true terror might be hiding in plain sight… in THE VOID.
THE VOID is a fantastic phantasmagorical movie with FX as astounding as the horror it creates. But before going into the actual raw, bloody meat of the film, let’s take a look back into the history of the production. The brainchild of veteran Astron-6 (Father’s Day, Manborg) collective members Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie. Veteran filmmakers, designers, and FX artists wanted to bring back some of the good old fashioned practical creature FX horror that they, and so many like us, grew up with. Making a proof of concept trailer, they set about running a successful Indiegogo campaign, raising well over their base goal. And with good reason!
If that was just the proof of concept, I was on pins and needles waiting to see the final product and simply had to contribute. Citing influences like The Blob ’88, Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, The Keep, and From Beyond, among others including the more modern Beyond The Black Rainbow. They were invoking that golden age when monsters and visual FX were a thing of beauty as much as fear inducing. While the inspirations are easy to see in some places, THE VOID is completely its own beast. Never outright shouting out to influences, but featuring the right aesthetics. The mood lighting. The grit and gore. All blend together to create a tangible horror along with the spiritual terror. While not exactly striking new ground in terms of plot, the fear itself is unique enough to keep audiences compelled.
While I’ll be keeping this review spoiler free, I will say they delivered what they promised. A cornucopia of creature carnage and a veritable ocean of blood and gore to back it up are let loose. All with a classical Lovecraft-bent along with the above cited 80’s era of bloody horror monster movies. Unlike previous works with Astron-6, this story is all but bone dry in terms of humor. There’s also a focus oncharacter development amongst the endangered cast, especially in a few unexpected sources. Carter himself has several skeletons in his closet that come out to get at him throughout. There’s a claustrophobic sense of fear in the derelict hospital as it is surrounded by deranged cultists that evolves into one of nihilistic and existential dread as the true depravity pushing the monsters made flesh escalates on Carter and his allies. The poster’s memorable tagline “There is a Hell. This is worse.” sets up the bizarre terrors to come as nightmarish abominations come into play.
I had the good fortune of seeing THE VOID at BeyondFest (Along with other great movies) and while it is currently on the festival circuit, I cannot wait to hear when it will be fully unleashed on the unsuspecting populace. There have been a number of movies that have promised to “bring back” practical FX and creature FX, and THE VOID truly is a sinister slice of horror that can.