In continuing with my "late-to-the-party" film reviews regarding films that I would like to discuss...I wanted to talk about a film that came out in limited release this past spring. A film that was a bit "over-hyped" by the horror community and heralded as the next new classic. Let's talk about...The Void.
A couple of years ago...I noticed this kickstarter/indiegogo thing going around for a new project that some of the boys from Astron 6 were trying to get off the ground. Naturally, given their past efforts...I clicked on the link and read the description for their new film project. It blew my mind and I meant to donate something to it in which to receive that one perk regarding the film prop and Blu-ray combo. However...apparently, something came up...and I never got the chance to donate to this project. Super bummed. Then...because of my super short attention span...I guess I forgot about it. Until...I noticed the trailer pop up on my Facebook feed.
Oh my dark overlord...what an amazing trailer! It showed everything...without showing you anything! It was the kind of trailer that got you pumped for something dark and wild. Something...not like anything else. Then, I found out that the film was playing at a nearby theater for like...two nights only! TWO FUCKING NIGHTS! The first night was already sold out...so, I took a few friends to the second screening. (This right here...is called tension building)
Before we get into my thoughts on the film (tension diffusion)...I wanted to talk about some of the particulars. In 2007, Adam Brooks and Jeremy Gillespie founded a company called Astron 6. They started with these super peculiar short films that were equal parts bizarre, hilarious and awesome. Always using genre elements as a means to showcase their talents. As time went on...Astron 6 expanded with Matt Kennedy, Conor Sweeney and Steven Kostanski...and expanded to feature films...including stuff like Manborg (2011), Father's Day (2011) and The Editor (2014). I will say that if you have never seen the short film Insanophenia from 2007...you need to rectify that shit like post haste. Anyway...I mention all of this stuff...as evidence that whenever I hear that Astron 6 is putting out something new...I'm fucking there for it...EVERY GODDAMN TIME. Of the Astron 6 collective, Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski are the two mainly responsible for The Void.
And...so here we are...back to The Void.
The film begins with the cold opening of two individuals trying to flee their farmhouse. However, one of them is shot and set on fire by a couple of individuals who seem to know something more about these two individuals. Then...opening credits. The one that does manage to run off into the dark woods is found crawling in the middle of the road by a police officer who almost decides to pack it in for the night before he notices this strange individual, who seems to need some medical care. So, the officer puts him in his backseat and speeds off to the nearest hospital. I won't say anymore for fear of spoiling any of the experience because the film pretty much builds from there...incorporating sinister cultists who enjoy stabbing people, beautifully strange creatures lurking in the shadows and a totally bonkers finale that echoes some of your favorite moments from past films.
That last sentence is what a lot of viewers are taking issue with. The fact that this film feels more like an old mix tape with some of your favorite hits from the 80's blasting through your vintage speakers. That shouldn't matter, tho...because The Void is so much more than that. It reaches for places that other films of its ilk are afraid to go. Think about it for a moment. All these bigger budget genre films that come out every year. Ok...now take out the remakes...and reboots...and sequels. Ok...now think of these films for a sec. Kind of bland and unmemorable for the most part...right? Now...when you consider this film to be steeped in its inspirations...while delivering something original and striking...and not afraid to show you its goods. It seriously shows its viewer all of its amazing imagery without being bashful or braggadocios about those amazing images. Is it really so bad that the film is not shy about its influences? I suppose that might be left to one's own taste...especially considering the weird notion about this film being "over-hyped"...even tho it was only in theaters for like 2 days. But...oh my Jesus...the practical FX in this film! I'm calling it right now...it's the absolute best in years! YEARS, I say! It's that good. Gillespie and Kostanski certainly spend most of the money in the visuals and FX...because...goddamn!
Anyway...every year...there's a new genre film that gets all the hype and crowned a "must see" for all fans. I think this year that particular film is Get Out. However...The Void speaks more to my particular taste in subject matter and delivery. I cannot crown it "the horror film of the year" quite yet...like I'm seeing many individuals do. However...I will say that the film is still in my head...and growing more and more as I think deeper about it. There's so much Prince of Darkness and The Beyond stuff in it that is unraveling in my thoughts...and I love that about it. I am going to have to see it again to really delve into its scope and atmosphere...but, I already know that the more that I think about it...the more I know that I'm loving this film. I'm not going to declare it anything more than a "must-see" for fans of the kind of convoluted otherworldly themes of religion and death and metaphysical wonder that filmmakers like Fulci and Carpenter explored in interesting ways in the early 80's. And...god...the practical FX this film boasts is worth the admission, alone. I think the film could have benefited from a more memorable cast of characters...but, the imagery The Void employs are strong enough to carry the film into something that audiences will talk about for decades. It's that kind of film. It's like if Session 9 was hanging out with Prince of Darkness and The Beyond crashed the party while Lovecraft and Barker were serving drinks. See it for yourself...and lemme know what you think.
|Seriously wish that these guys were in the film much more. I could watch a whole film about a day in the life of these cultists.|
Thanks for reading,