The Void (Jeremy Gillespie/Steven Kostanski, 2016, Canada)

The Void is a 2016 crowdfunded Canadian horror film directed by the pair of Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski. The film is a noteworthy shift from the directing teams' more comedic earlier efforts. The Void is pure Lovecraftian horror, evoking most notably John Carpenter's The Thing (even the "Carpenter font" is used here). The Void has gained notoriety in recent years for being an example of practical creature effects in an era in which practical effects have been all but lost. And it is true - the film is an excellent exercise in practical creature effects. For this alone, it is worth watching The Void.

The plot involves several characters being trapped in a hospital by a bunch of hooded cultists, while at the same time being hunted down by mysterious creatures. The film opens with a bang, and the first 30 or so minutes are very strong filmmaking. Regrettably, after the 30-minute mark, the film loses some momentum and the various characters begin blending into one another. It also becomes harder to discern what is going on in terms of the plot of the film. While the plot becomes gradually more incoherent, the film nevertheless maintains a sense of dread throughout.

The Void is perhaps the classic instance of style over substance, though it is a well-crafted piece of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. As a short film, the film may have worked better. One wishes that the directors had taken more time to harness the great talent of the staff and had more time to hone in on their particular vision at the level of the script. Nevertheless, The Void is worthwhile viewing for fans of body and cosmic horror. The directors seem to have continued their success in the horror genre with the release of Psycho Goreman a few years ago.



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