“The Void”: Awesomely effective horror flick

Grade: A

Verdict: “The Void” doesn’t need to make sense to be crazy, stupid good. It’s fun and scary and great. See it.

“The Void” is crazy, beautiful, nail-bitingly effective nonsense. As such, I love it and you should love it too. Or…well, if you love the idea of a bajillion B horror tropes smashed together into one movie and don’t mind not exactly “following” along with everything happening after thirty minutes—then you will love this movie.

Local cop, Daniel, finds James injured on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Daniel takes him to the closest hospital, which is operating on next to nothing because of a recent fire (spooky burned down hospital = stupidly awesome horror setting).

Then a lot of stuff starts happening, which I will quickly summarize: a nurse stabs a patient and then turns into a Cronenbergian tentacle monster, two guys show up trying to shoot James and people get stabbed, pregnant teen Maggie starts having contractions, and a bunch of mystical cult members wearing white robes and carrying big knives surround the place so nobody can leave. And that’s the set up.

I have to say, “The Void” was one of the best theater experiences this year. I was giddy the whole time and it’s probably mostly because this movie is so whacked out that I was shocked and delighted by every choice it made. Going in, I couldn’t decide if the trailer was suggesting a movie about a cult about demons or a cult made up of demons. Neither of those actually sum up all the weirdness in this movie. So every single crazy, monstrous turn of events blew my mind. It seems directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie couldn’t decide which of their favorite 80s horror movies to riff on, so they picked out tropes at random and created a mashup that works incredibly well, and defies prediction.

It also helps that the film totally understands its stakes and creates mad people-oriented tension in its first act. It sets up these wonderful, tense power struggles in the beginning that make the film move gloriously and, importantly, give you a reason to stay invested during the insane latter half. After the first tentacle monster we get slapped with a James vs. the two mystery guys with shotguns vs. James with a scalpel pointed at pregnant Maggie’s neck, and the film isn’t afraid to blow this up to epic proportions. It’s super great and uber effective.

None of this is meant to imply that the last half is non-functioning. It’s focused on the people vs. the monsters, and the sheer number of types of monsters gets sticky if you think about it too hard. (I wasted away my finals week trying to come up with a theory about how all these monster bodies work together in tandem to create, like, a point, so I can tell you for sure: “The Void” simply likes monsters, and it has a lot of them).

For all you good folk who are nonetheless picky about spoilers, I’ll just say there’s a weird mix of body horror and cosmic horror (horror of the unknowable afterlife) coming into play that don’t necessarily fit together, despite the film’s generous desire to take us to the brink of its titular void.
But that sure as heck doesn’t make it any less fun and scary, which is really all that matters. So to “The Void” I say: great job, great flick! What a blast.

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