the void | jeremy gillespie | steven kostanski | aaron poole | kenneth welsh | daniel fathers | mystery | sci-fi | sci fi | united states | united kingdom | canada | monster | monsters | cult | kathleen munroe | ellen wong | mik byskov | art hindle | grace munro
Film: The Void
Director: Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski
Writer: Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski
Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh and Daniel Fathers
This was one of the first films I watched when I got into podcasts. It was one of my first on the recommended list that has grown to pages worth of titles. I didn’t know a lot about it before coming in, but what I did intrigued me. This was one that sparked me to do top ten lists as well. I’ve now seen it three times, with the most recent in the theater at the Gateway Film Center for their Mammoth Monday series.
Synopsis: 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.
We begin inside of a farmhouse. James (Evan Stern) flees from it. It is night and he goes into the woods. We hear a woman screaming and odd sounds. She comes out as well. She is followed by a father, Daniel Fathers, and son, Mik Byskov. They shoot her in the back with a shotgun and then burn her alive. They chase after the man. As they go, we see a man in a white hood and robe, with a black triangle where the face should be.
It then shifts to Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) who is a deputy sheriff. He is sleeping out on a dark road and his shift is almost over for the night. James comes out of the woods and Daniel goes to check on him. Realizing he is hurt and not drunk, he speeds to the nearest hospital. The problem is that it is closing due to a fire, but it is still open for emergencies.
Daniel told dispatch to call ahead and warn them that they were coming, but it didn’t seem to happen. Two nurses greet him at the door. One is Allison Fraser (Kathleen Munroe) and the other is Beverly (Stephanie Belding). Allison is Daniel’s ex-wife. They take the man in to be checked out by the doctor, Richard Powell (Kenneth Welsh). It is noticed that he is a drug addict from the markings on his arm. Daniel goes to clean the blood from his shirt, worrying he might catch something. It is during this we see the relationship between Daniel and Allison is strained but civil.
Also in this hospital is a trainee named Kim (Ellen Wong). When we first meet her, she is sitting in a room with Cliff Robertson (Matthew Kennedy). She tries to show him gross things from a textbook and he is ignoring her, trying to watch Night of the Living Dead. There is also a pregnant girl there, Maggie (Grace Munro) and her grandfather Ben (James Millington).
Daniel hears something weird in a room and goes in to find Beverly pulling a pair of scissors from Cliff’s eye. She is then cutting her face off and comes at Daniel. He shoots her and flees the room. He is met by Allison and Dr. Powell who check on the woman. Daniel states he is going to go call in what happened and he passes out. We see that he has visions of clouds and other odd things before he is woke up by the two. Poole is informed that Mitchell (Art Hindle) is there, a State Trooper.
He scolds Daniel and takes over the situation. Daniel goes out to his car to call in what happened, but that’s when he’s attacked by a hooded figure we saw earlier. There are more of them outside, but they’re not advancing. There’s also something monstrous inside of the hospital as well. Not everything is as it seems and it takes these people into a nightmare they’ve never forget.
Like I said earlier, I’m quite glad I heard about this movie and checked it out. This is one that I showed my now wife when we were dating. I thought it might be one that would intrigue her with how things play out. What I will say is that this film is surreal. I came in knowing minimal about it at first and I think that helped me enjoy this. This film is heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft as well. Some of the creatures have that look of Cthulhu. There is also reference to entities that are older than God as well as the name itself, the void, which references the abyss.
What I also like about is that we are never fully explained things above, because no one themselves know. The setting is great as they are in a building that has a skeleton crew due to the fire. It explains why there are so few people in this hospital. They’re trapped by the cult members outside. They don’t advance, but there to keep them inside so its claustrophobia. There are multiple entrances so it doesn’t ever feel safe. The cult that stands outside of the building makes it even scarier as they never speak a word. I liked the ending as well. I thought it fit the feel of the film.
Where I want to go next is an issue that I hear people have this one. It does borrow concepts from a few different movies and meshes them together. Some of the creatures in this movie look like they could be in The Thing. Having our characters trapped in this hospital can be see as a variation on that as well. There is a bit of Hellraiser and its first sequel here with where it goes in the third act. I could see a bit of Silent Hill with a darker side to where they’re trapped. There are also heavy vibes of The Beyond as well. I don’t mind all of these being incorporated personally, but I’ve heard this gripe about wanting to watch these better movies.
Moving from the story, I’ll go to the acting which to me was solid. Poole is our main character and he worked in this role. I like that he’s trying to keep things together and things just get worse. What he did great though was give a believable performance. Welsh was solid as the doctor and I love how his character arch plays out. I didn’t see it coming that first go and it worked for me. Fathers was solid in his role as well as Munroe, Wong and the rest of the cast. I also want to give a shout-out to Byskov, who had a tough role to play in that his throat was damaged and couldn’t speak. I’m not sure if this is something he really can’t do or just something the film decided, but I liked it. He does more with his facial expressions. I also wanted to give a shout-out to Hindle. He was in The Brood as the hero of that film. I liked his cameo in this one.
I’ll then take this to the filmmaking aspects. I need to commend using practical effects. Things look real which makes it that much scarier. I’ve brought up that this is pays homage to The Thing with how some of the monsters looked. Most of the effects were practical from what I read which makes sense. The only CGI I know of is some of the cult members. That worked very well so no issue there and the cinematography was solid too. I’d also say that the editing well done. They would splice in scenes of other things at times to build the story as well as to make things feel creepier. It makes even more sense with multiple viewings and knowing how it ties in. I also like when people think a room is one thing, but then we see what the truth is. This all worked for me.
Now with that said, I would recommend seeing this film. If you are into surreal horror films that bend reality, I think you’ll enjoy this one. It has cults, monsters and things to this effect. It does very well at making it feel real and the nods to H.P. Lovecraft and cosmic horror as well. The acting I felt was good enough as what is happening around them is the true star. The effects in the film are great. I think this is a good movie. I wouldn’t say that it is for everyone though. If the above things are what you’re into, then give this a viewing. Each time I’ve seen this, my rating seems to hover around the same number. The consistency is there for me.
My Rating: 8 out of 10