Screener-Review: The Void

The Void
USA 2016
Written by Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski
Directed by Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski
Watched on 03.04.2017

In recent years, we saw a rise in nostalgic entertainment, mostly when it comes to the 80s. “The Void” is yet another entry on that list, and in its case, the obviousness of its sources of inspiration (to name but a few: The works of H.P. Lovecraft, the chestbuster-scene from “Alien”, and especially the movies of John Carpenter, most notably “Prince of Darkness” and “The Thing”) are as much a curse as they are a blessing. A blessing because it gives the movie a certain nostalgic charm. A curse because it constantly reminds you of other and, most of all, more original films.

Still, “The Void” has a couple of things going for it. First and foremost: The practical SFX are very nice. Yes, the design of the monsters is heavily inspired by “The Thing”, but still, advocates for practical effects will love the respective work that was put into the making of this movie. Also, visually “The Void” was quite nice. Cinematographer Samy Inayeh does a great job and gives us a couple of stunning images and beautiful shots: The vibrant colors in the basement of the hospital, the cult members (whose robes – intentionally? – reminded me of the Ku-Klux-Klan) getting illuminated by the lights on top of the police car, or the finale with the glowing triangle. The directors also manage to build up a nice atmosphere here and there, and their story takes a couple of nice twists and turns, some of which I didn’t expect. I wouldn’t exactly call it totally unpredictable, but at least, there were a couple of nice surprises along the way. However, the acting is a little bit of a mixed bag. While I was rather taken with Ellen Wong (especially in her very first scene), and Kenneth Welsh chews up the scenery quite nicely, the rest was mostly “only” decent, and Aaron Poole wasn’t quite the charismatic lead the movie would have needed. Also, some of the exposition was a little hokey. The cultists never really worked as a threat for me. The story leaves a couple of things unresolved. Some of the dialogue was a little poor. And there’s hardly any real tension. The latter might be due to the movie’s biggest weakness: The characters are extremely clichéd and not really engaging. Thus, I didn’t really care about what happened to any of them. So while I watched the film with sufficient interest, it never really managed to grip me.

Overall, I’m not exactly sure whom “The Void” is made for. Because even though it tickles that certain nostalgic nerve, fans of said era, and the works of John Carpenter in particular, will spend most of its running time thinking about other, older – and arguably better – movies. Still, if you crave for more entertainment that harkens back to the films of the 80s, this is decent and entertaining enough to fill said void.


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