It’s summer, and it’s time to catch up on movies that passed us by over the last few years. First out in this Summer of Catch-up™: The Void
Steven Kostanski’s PG: Psycho Goreman is a strong contender for my (non-existent) movie-of-the-year award, so it would go amiss if I didn’t take a look at his previous work, The Void. This partially crowdfunded Lovecraftian yarn is from PG in many ways different, yet also recognizable. The effects and creatures, for example, are not CGI but rather done practically, giving the film the more vintage look of PG.
Likewise, the plot is appropriately simple: Officer Carter picks up a battered man during patrol and brings him to a hospital staffed by a skeleton crew. Upon arrival, one of the nurses inexplicably turns into something out of a H.P. Lovecraft story, forcing Carter to shoot and kill her/it. Outside, a large band of robed cultists gather, preventing the trapped group from escaping. And when Carter’s ex disappears inside the hospital, Carter must delve into a mystery of creatures, aliens, triangles, and his own past to end the group’s living nightmare.
It’s not a groundbreaking story, but it’s a well-executed one nonetheless. I don’t know what The Void’s final budget looked like, but $82,000 was pulled in from Indiegogo to create the film’s monsters. They look impressive, as does the whole movie. The creatures are shot through a cool, green-tinted lens that manages to give the film a more distinct look than most of its ilk. This might partly be because of the hospital’s claustrophobic corridors, which grow increasingly otherworldly as the group descents down underground. As far as world-building goes, The Void feels like its own little microcosm, and suitably so.
And let me re-emphasize: The creatures look amazing, more so than anything seen in a Marvel blockbuster. I am dead serious about that. Those CGI characters might look good in still photos, but their animations are of video-game quality. Here, the practical-effect-driven monsters move naturally and, thanks to proper lighting, look real. No offense to CGI, but I’ll take the intimacy of practical effects any day over larger-than-life, unnatural set-pieces.
As far as the story goes, the interpretation of what’s going on is entirely up to the viewer. What the cult is and what happens during the ending can be read any which way, perfectly befitting a Lovecraftian story. The Void might be simple at its surface, but add your own spin to it, and you’ll find a rewatch or two to be worth your time.
Because The Void should be worth anyone’s time. It’s a fun, tense story with great visuals and sound. The score is right up there with the best of them.
The Void might not quite reach the lofty heights of the crazy PG, but if you’ve watched one, you certainly want to watch the other.
Letterboxd summary: In the middle of a routine patrol, officer Daniel Carter happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road. He rushes the young man to a nearby rural hospital staffed by a skeleton crew, only to discover that patients and personnel are transforming into something inhuman. As the horror intensifies, Carter leads the other survivors on a hellish voyage into the subterranean depths of the hospital in a desperate bid to end the nightmare before it's too late.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||4/6|