Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski are the brains behind The Void, both taking on writing and directing duties, in their Carpenter meets Lovecraft-inspired throwback that’s heavy on the effects and light on everything else. In it, shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures.
Gillespie and Kostanski’s feature has all the makings of a great horror film—its faithfulness to the practical effect-driven monstrosities that came out of the genre’s glory days is second to none, delivering a madhouse of heinous creatures and doomed characters. It’s a love letter to the greats like Carpenter’s arctic creature feature The Thing or Cronenberg’s gooey masterpiece The Fly; there’s even shades of Hellraiser and Event Horizon thrown in there, too. In other words, The Void is exactly what Gillespie and Kostanski were selling all along—an old school monster movie loaded with practical effects. So went wrong?
There’s a fine line between paying homage to something and being unimaginative, which is why The Void struggles to find a voice of its own. It’s so much like other movies that it never feels like its own thing—at the end of the day it’s just not that interesting. There’s certainly some though-provoking ideas here, and I can kind of see the direction Gillespie and Kostanski were heading, but as soon as the narrative starts to open up (in the last 15 minutes or so), the movie is over and you’re wondering what the fuck just happened. I hate to say it, but The Void is exactly that… empty.
It’s hard to believe that a movie filled with nightmarish creatures that murder people by crawling out of them can be so dull, yet here we are. Which brings me to my biggest issue with the film in general—some of its monsters were so incoherently thrown together that it was hard to tell what I was even looking at. At one point, there’s a monster chasing someone through the halls of the hospital and it just looks like a giant mess of flailing meat. That’s The Void in a nutshell, I guess.
If you’re looking for a one-off splatter fest then you’ll probably enjoy The Void’s 90-minutes of casual mayhem, because outside of its passion for practical effects, there isn’t much holding Gillespie and Kostanski’s ambitious feature together. I really wanted to love this movie and I’m a sucker for slimy practical effects, but this is one is mostly disappointing.