Practical effects, a murderous cult, and a beacon into another world. That’s right this week are talking about Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gilespie’s The Void!
The Void is a passion project first started by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gilespie. Two Hollywood FX veterans who have worked on such films as Pacific Rim and the Robocop reboot.
Upset with the current reliance on CGI, Kostanski and Gilespie wished to pursue creating an original film that drew inspiration from movies such as The Thing, Alien, and The Fly. To make their dream a reality, the pair took to Indiegogo.
On Indiegogo Kostanski and Gilespie pitched the idea of a routine officer who happens upon a blood soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road. After rushing the man to a local hospital, it is soon discovered that the patients and staff are all part of a sinister project.
The campaign was a success becoming 185% funded reaching just over $82,000.
I first heard of the Void when it was playing here as a special showing in Kansas City. The story information was kept to a minimum and the posters kept talking about the practical effects. I wasn’t able to make it to the show, but I really wish I had. I recently found it on Netflix and gave it a shot based on the great local marketing campaign here.
To say I was surprised is an understatement. While there were things about the movie I knew I would like, I didn’t expect such a great homage to the classics of the 70s and 80s.
The cult following our heroes throughout the movie genuinely terrified me and reminded me of the movie the crazies and some of Romero’s zombie work from Night of the Living Dead. This was definitely on purpose as they even have Night of the Living Dead playing on the television at the beginning of the movie.
This isn’t the only tie to George A Romero either as Kenneth Welsh and Kathleen Munroe were both in Survival of the Dead. George A Romero’s last film before his passing this year.
The characters in the movie are a little hit or miss with me. I’m drawn to the battles that the Deputy Carter, Dr. Powell, and Nurse Fraser who are all facing the loss of a child. Yet, I don’t find myself becoming fully invested in some of the supporting characters like the nurse in training Kim or the pregnant teen Maggie.
I don’t credit this to bad acting or lack of story development. Quite the opposite actually. I personally feel like this movie is so fast paced that not everyone receives the same chance at developing their character. In this movie that isn’t a bad thing either. We’re given enough knowledge of each person to know their motivations and progress through the film.
What I liked most about this film was how unpredictable it was. This was an intense roller coaster ride where you keep questioning “did that really just happen”. The longer the movie goes the stranger it becomes. When we get to the end logic really starts to go off the rails. For some audience members it may lose them, but I loved it.
The Void went on to premiere at Fantastic Fest 2016 in Austin, Texas. It was soon picked up for distribution by XYZ Films (most notable for The Raid movies) and premiered this last April in limited screenings (most likely where I saw the initial advertising).
At the time of this review the Void holds a 74% based on 58 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The Audience score currently holds a 47%. Most positive reviews mention the action, pacing, and honor to the films before it, while more critical perceptions talk about the logic of the plot and being an ickfest.
For my own personal review. This movie is fun and if you’re a fan 70s and 80s practical horror films. This is a must see. You really have no excuse as it is currently on Netflix. For some reason if it isn’t on there, I would still recommend renting it on VOD.
The Void is a Lovecraftian horror film that isn’t the standard for today. That is what truly makes it unique to me and a must watch.