On this episode of The Nightly Chill, we look at Lovecraft-inspired monster movie, The Void.
After transporting a scared, injured man to a remote hospital in some rural corner of the United States, a police officer and the hospital’s staff are left to face off against a mysterious cult and an ancient evil in the Lovecraft-inspired horror film, The Void.
VOID OF INTEREST
Nothing in The Void works. It’s not scary or tense. It’s not well-acted in any measurable way. Nearly every shot is framed like nobody was looking at a monitor or through the camera lens. Its characters are little more than tokens moved around a board and forced to spout off one vague, insipid line after the next. And its structuring is so ill-conceived that if it were a building it’d be condemned upon its first inspection.
And on top of it all, no one involved with this production knows how to use or make stage blood. It never looks like a viscous fluid but red-colored water. It seems to magically appear and vanish from one shot to the next. And despite the extent of the on-screen violence that occurs in this movie, it’s surprisingly lacking most of the time.
The only thing that may be remotely enjoyable in The Void is the creature design that pops up a few times throughout the movie.
Y U DO DIS?
But the most frustrating thing about The Void isn’t how bad it is–and it is most certainly bad. But there is clear evidence in the movie itself that it all could have worked.
The motivation of the movie’s antagonist, the head of this human-sacrificing cult, is well-conceived. But he’s reduced to a bit player until it’s time to reveal his true identity and purpose, something that doesn’t happen until well past the halfway point.
Had he been placed front and center–had the movie been centered around his plight and efforts that are only hinted at in brief fits of exposition and flashing images–the movie would have a coherent, logical plot. It would have a gripping story that would resonate with not only horror fans but a general audience. This could have been 2017’s big horror hit.
Instead, we’re left with bland, uninteresting characters who just say and do things of no importance until it’s time for a lackluster attempt at a scare. We’re left with a movie that desperately wants to be some small-budget bit of Lovecraftian genius that is nothing more than a brain-dead, b-film monster movie that fails at every single turn.
INEXPERIENCE IS AS INEXPERIENCE DOES
And none of this should come as a surprise seeing as how both Gillespie and Kostanski are largely inexperienced in writing and directing. Their credits are, primarily, limited to the Art and Makeup Department on bigger movies and TV series.
Unfortunately, unlike some of the movie’s I’ve reviewed on this show that were helmed by inexperienced directors with other credits to their name, it doesn’t seem as if Gillespie and Kostanksi actually learned much about filmmaking while on the various sets they’ve worked on.
The Void‘s only legitimate contribution to filmmaking as a whole is as an in-depth lesson in How to Not Make a Movie. Context, world-building, framing, character development, dialog, plot structure, using audio and visuals to develop a sense of tension and dread. All of this is done wrong time and again, and to a degree that a single writer or director would struggle to manage.
YES, BUT FOR WHO?
The Void is a horror movie that has its share of fans, that much I do know and accept. But this seems to be a case where fans are more in love with the idea the movie presents rather than the actual content presented in it.
Horror fans would be left disappointed by what is not just a lack of scares but an active avoidance of such things. General audiences would be confused by what’s happening due to the incoherent visual storytelling and unmotivated characters simply popping in and out without rhyme or reason. And movie fans would be left absolutely livid by the total disregard for basic filmmaking conceits.
I can tell you exactly the audience this film was intended for. I can list off a number of movies that fans of such things might enjoy. But for the life of me, I have absolutely no clue what sort of person would be left entertained by the cinematic mess that is The Void.
This one is a NO CHILL.