MovieBob Reviews: THE VOID (2017) -

Few things are more likely to make me feel apprehensive as the combination of the words “indie retro horror.”

There’s a lot of well-intentioned material with that self-applied categorical description floating around the fringes of the genre world these days, and almost without fail they wind up being movies that I want to like (and feel like they’re bending over backward to appeal to my sensibilities). But most wind up leaving me wishing they were more than the sum of their parts and that I came away having gained some insight into the filmmakers’ mindset other than what older movies from the same genre they also liked.

Fortunately, despite the fact that it comes from the ASTRON-6 cats (the guys behind Manborg, which I did enjoy even as it’s pretty much the apotheosis of exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about), The Void turns out to actually be mostly interested in doing its own thing. It draws much more from broader cultural and thematic points of reference rather than just other, similar movies. That’s not to say it’s a great film, but it’s original and, well… pretty solid as what is essentially the filmmakers first real stab at a feature that’s meant to be taken seriously.

The premise finds a motley crew of people trapped in a small dilapidated rural hospital in the middle of nowhere that’s become surrounded on the outside by a growing number of robed, knife-wielding cult members of indeterminate origin and purpose. The ostensible good guys inside include a pair of vigilantes fleeing a crime scene, a pregnant girl, an estranged couple, some medical staff and a spaced-out drug addict. Many of whom are immediately distrustful of the others and/or ill-equipped to be dealing with a situation that grows increasingly dire: it becomes clear that the attackers are being drawn to some other, a more sinister force that’s already inside the hospital, to begin with.

To say more plotwise would be both unnecessarily spoiler-ish and oddly beside the point, since all of the atmospheric strainings for Lovecraftian cosmic dread is a pretty good clue that in terms of horror we’re pointed in a decidedly Beyond The Black/Rainbow/Prince of Darkness/Possession/Altered States kind of direction. A direction where abstractions between supernatural and sci-fi concepts are used to keep us off guard about what’s really going on to the point where “what’s going on” is kind of beside the point. Though, like I said, the best news is that The Void is very much reminiscent of such films without trying to simply go down a checklist of borrowed elements.

Also, while “making a lot of sense” isn’t exactly on the film’s narrative agenda, the characters are all well drawn enough that we can empathize with their reactions to what’s going on even though what’s going on never becomes explicitly clear. And despite that kind of high-mindedness being at play the film doesn’t intend to skimp on the bloody kills, inventive gore, nasty surgeries and the eventual presence of big, lumbering, otherworldly monsters and goopy flailing tentacles.

On the downside, even at 90 minutes it feels like the film runs a little on the long side to not arrive at much more of a point than “well, that was certainly a strange series of events, huh?,” even though we do get satisfying character-closure for the folks who become the emotional center of the story. That tends to happen with genuinely abstract narrative films no matter what, But The Void ultimately delivers where it counts, and I’m genuinely curious to see where the filmmakers go next.

The Void is now available on home video.

MovieBob Reviews: THE VOID (2017) -

MovieBob Reviews: THE VOID (2017) –


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