Even casual viewers will often be able to tell that the new horror film The Void was made on a budget and without the most talented performers and screenwriting team.
The atmosphere, creature designs and terror-inducing editing that emerges from this humble base, however, are nearly impressive enough to forgive writers/directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski any amateurish transgressions and grant them carte blanche going forward.
The rather thin set-up of a local police officer (Aaron Poole) who happens across an injured man (Evan Stern) stumbling from the woods and brings him to the closest hospital is merely an excuse to bring a small number of unsuspecting characters to an enclosed, vulnerable space and let the filmmakers pay homage to their hero John Carpenter.
The hospital’s subsequent surrounding by figures in white cloaks with equilateral black triangles on their hidden faces who violently refuse to let the building’s inhabitants leave echoes the overmatched invasion of Assault on Precinct 13 while the disturbing, handmade creature effects of monsters that soon appear within the halls are straight out of The Thing.
Though these references and others to genre influencers are clear, none feel derivative. Instead, The Void quickly becomes its own beast, pushing the limits of audacity and delivering a steady string of chills that are all the more laudable for the modest means by which they were conceived.
Grade: B. Not rated, but with strong language, disturbing imagery and mature themes. Now playing at Grail Moviehouse
(Photo: Screen Media Films)