The Void (2016) Directed by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie. Starring Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh and Daniel Fathers. After a grieving father seeks alternative methods to retrieve his deceased child from the grasp of Death, he spawns a nightmare of Lovecraftian terror that forces a small town cop, a plucky nurse and others to battle hooded cultists and slimy creatures from worlds beyond during a hellish night at a remote hospital.
“The Void” is a slime-splattered love letter to the decade where Pinhead and the Cenobites first stripped the skin from victims, Seth Brundle first emerged a changed man from his trip through the telepods and helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady dealt with a powerful alien organism in the chill of Antarctica.
Mild spoilers follow.
“The Void” begins with a terrified drug addict named James and a female companion bursting through the front door of an isolated farmhouse. She is shot down by armed pursuers, but he escapes into the nearby forest.
As the pursuers Vincent and Simon burn the fallen girl to death, police officer Daniel Carter encounters the injured male escapee James and rushes him to Marsh County Hospital. This particular House of Healing is on the verge of closing, and is populated by a handful of patients and a skeleton crew staff that includes Carter’s wife, Allison.
Shortly after James is admitted, a nurse at the hospital goes mad, forcing Daniel to intervene. While calling it in at his squad car, Carter is attacked by a mysterious group of robed cultists armed with knives.
The cop is tracked to the medical center by Vincent and Simon, a father and son driven to destroy the otherworldly evil. Eventually, Carter and the armed duo team up against sinister forces and awesome practical effects.
Daniel’s estranged wife, Nurse Allison Fraser, is mostly concerned about a young pregnant woman named Maggie. She’s scheduled to give birth at any time, and may conceal the darkest secret of all.
The heroes are pitted against the aforementioned army of cultists in white and their leader, an evil Doctor with a plan to reshape mankind. After the death of his beloved daughter, he wasn’t content to simply grieve and move on. He began researching the supernatural and the arcane, discovering unspeakable methods of bringing the dead back to life at great cost. The hospital basement is now filled with his early attempts at resurrection: gruesome creatures filled with hatred over their own elongated existence.
The fight against evil eventually leads down there, where eldritch symbols and fleshy pulsating horrors await. Daniel, James, Vincent and Simon locate the Doctor’s workshop and his discarded human experiments.
Down in the dark, nothing stays dead forever.
“The Void” is the latest offering from Astron-6, the Canadian film studio that brought us the futuristic hilarity of “Manborg,” the warped serial killer silliness of “Father’s Day,” the incredible faux trailer “Bio-Cop,” the brilliant giallo homage “The Editor” and the W segment of “ABC’s Of Death 2.” For the most part, these guys are comedic, although “The Void” is dead serious and truly frightening. It’s a distinct step away from the humorous outings of the past as Daniel and the Doctor face off beneath the hospital.
“What do you see, Daniel?”
“I see a monster who thinks he’s God.”
“The Void” is rife with fantastic midnight movie imagery:
- After removing her face, a woman inserts a pair of surgical scissors into a man’s eye.
- A corpse reanimates as a spider walking nightmare.
- A body vomits up a grotesque, fluttering parasite.
- A huge tentacled creature comes out of a nurse and attacks the group in the hospital corridors.
- An undead atrocity pounds its eyeless face onto a steel rebar, hoping to die.
- The phantom cultists cut eerie, unsettling and stabby figures.
- A woman is turned into a repulsive monster breeding chamber, which reminded me of Maryam D’abo’s horrible fate in the 1980’s classic “XTRO.”
- A creature of absolute madness bursts from the body of a screaming woman.
It’s like John Carpenter and H.P. Lovecraft solved the Lament Configuration from “Hellraiser,” had lunch with David Cronenberg and then made a movie about it.
One of the villains takes on a very skinless Hellraiser-esque look and preaching posture towards the end. The truly bizarre creatures are on the level of technical sophistication and nightmare inducing freakishness of Carpenter’s legendary horrors from “The Thing,” with their greedy tentacles and hideous physiology. Great makeup design in terms of the violent humanoid basement monsters, wonderful lighting and mood, a fast pace and blood flow aplenty. “The Void” doesn’t skimp on the elements of the cosmic that its title refers to. If it’s alternate dimensions, triangular portals to the depths of some bleak netherworld you’re seeking, you’ll find them here.
Like poor heavily pregnant Maggie giving birth on the floor of the terrifying basement, “The Void” gives new life to old things. It delivers.