The Void

***

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

The Void
"Gillespie and Kostanski's real talents become visible when it comes to the special effects work, and here the film excels."

It begins with an injured man at the side of the road, unable to communicate. Police officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) gets him to a hospital, but something is wrong there too. This is a small town. Everybody knows each other. So why has a woman he has known for years brutally murdered another patient - and why is she looking at him like that?

We've all seen scenarios like this before. It's night time and the hospital is getting by with (ahem) a skeleton staff, so we quickly get to know them, and quickly see them dispatched, either because bloodthirsty mutants have appeared of because they've succumbed to some kind of infectious madness themselves. But this isn't just another zombie flick. surrounding the hospital are sinister figures in white hooded robes, with black triangles over their faces. They're no attacking the hospital, just making sure nobody can leave. What is going on?

Copy picture

Gillespie and Kostanski, whose art and make-up work has appeared in a number of similarly confused films, make a reasonable stab at direction but have produced a script that meanders in all directions. They made this on a very low budget and one wonders if they just ran out of shooting time and had to drop some scenes, because there are clearly pieces of story missing. That said, the acting is comfortably above average for this type of film and the occasional bit of clumsy exposition is easier to overlook given the chemistry between those who come to the fore. Kenneth Welsh is the standout as a charismatic doctor who may know a little more than he;s letting on.

Notably better shot than most of it ilk, The Void has a look that is distinctive today and will excite younger audiences, whilst older ones will find it affectionately referential. There are notable borrowings from the more stylised parts of Hellraiser (with superior cinematography from Samy Inayeh) and from the final scenes of Luigi Cozzi's Contamination. It might be a slightly more literal Neon Demon. There are Lovecraft references but these are largely a distraction as it never achieves the presence of the best entries in that particular subgenre.

Gillespie and Kostanski's real talents become visible when it comes to the special effects work, and here the film excels. In a world where audiences have learned to content themselves with bland CGI, the puppetry on display here makes quite an impression, harking back to the best work of the Seventies and Eighties. It's both well designed and well animated, and genre fans will love it. Though The Void doesn't hit all its targets, it really succeeds in this area, and it's pleasingly ambitious all round.

Reviewed on: 03 Apr 2017
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An officer helps a blood-soaked figure on the road but the trip to the hospital turns into a nightmare.

Director: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski

Writer: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski

Starring: Ellen Wong, Kathleen Munroe, Kenneth Welsh, Stephanie Belding, Aaron Poole, Art Hindle, Daniel Fathers, Amy Groening, Trish Rainone, Evan Stern, Grace Munro, James Millington, Mik Byskov, Jason Detheridge, David Scott

Year: 2016

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Canada


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