The Void Film Review

Try as you might, it was near impossible to go into this without any preconceived notion or high expecations that this was as good an 80's throwback to classic Carpenter as we would ever get. At least, that's what nearly every single review, buzz and positive word of mouth were saying when this hit the festival circuit on into it's release on demand just this past Friday. I don't remember when the last time was that a film came out and tried so hard to steer you in this particular direction. Yea there have been attempts with varying degrees of success with It Follows comes to mind as a highlight. With that being said, it was near impossible to not go in and expect to be wowed. Did it work? Let's dig in.

No, it did not. I saw this with a group of 4 and we all went into this pretty pumped as we're all horror fans. The fact that they kept touting this as a throwback to classic John Carpenter films (among other horror directors like Lucio Fulci) was even more exciting. So it pains me to say this but when it was all over, none of us really enjoyed it. And personally speaking, I don't know where all the "throwback" talk was coming from. Outside of the fact that a lot of practical effects work was utilized, and rather well for that matter, nothing about this film screamed homage or throwback in the slightest. Not even in the one area that really would have sold it, and that would be the score, just one of many area's The Void failed to deliver.

As a film, and not being referenced to anything else, it's just alright. I kind of got the same feeling when we saw 2015's Baskin, which was constantly referred to as a darker, gorier, scarier version of Hellraiser. With both Baskin and The Void, the trailers make them look incredible, but the films themselves leave a lot to be desired. And that's really the big thing we all felt walking away from this. All the right ingredients are there; i.e. the talent in area's like the effects work and design, and you can tell they had somewhat of a decent budget to work with (and if they didn't, they did a helluva job in convincing us they did), but none of it is put to good use or utilized well at all. It's a bit frustrating because it really could have been a solid film.

And that gets me to another issue. Even if they had worked harder, or better, at the visual aspect, which they don't, and even if they had offered a truly synth inspired score to really give it that 80's retro vibe, which they don't, there are still a number of issues plaguing this film, most importantly it's pacing and structure. One of the things we struggled with for most of the film was that we just didn't care about what was happening at all. Add to that the fact that none of the characters come off as likable, and some just plain annoying, we found it difficult to connect with anyone in the film, let alone care about them. And then there's just the film itself, which just doesn't flow. Moments of pure boredom are only interrupted occasionally with a cool scene of some practical monster effects stuff that still gets muddled in the shaky-cam darkness of how these guys choose to shoot this film. Again, another missed opportunity to really make the effects work shine, the only good thing this film has going for it, and it's done in such a way that makes it hard to ever make out what's happening because of A) Shaky-cam, B) darkly lit, and C) quick edits. It's just another example of how their specific way of making this film, in essence, only sabotages it.

A bunch of unlikable characters we care nothing about

When the big reveal comes into play, and you figure out who's responsible for what's happening, it's again treated with little sizzle, resulting in a reveal that leaves little impact. In fact, I had to ask several in the group who they were referring to because it just wasn't made very clear. It's just another example of how poorly things were handled in a film that's ultimately a muddled mess.

It's not a total loss though. I will say the marketing and poster art has been pretty great. It's the kind of talent and inspiration in this area that you wish would have been implored in all other area's of this film. The effects work is also commendable in a time when most films like this stick strictly to CGI because it's cheaper and easier. The final act, as bizarre as it is, is definitely the highlight of the film and reminded me more of a trippy version of Hellraiser more than anything.

Overall it could have been great. A number of creative decisions really hampers the experience, mainly in that the filmmakers chose to shoot it like any other new horror film, rather than going for the full-on throwback vibe, which it very easily could have done with some minor changes and would have been all the better for it. I think the marketing really went above and beyond to sell the shit out of The Void when the film is nowhere near as good as the posters and festival buzz leads you to believe. I liked the idea as a whole though, but it just wasn't executed well. Had it been, it could have been a totally different and better film.

No comments:

Post a Comment