The Void: Throwback Carpenter-inspired Horror

This Carpenter inspired horror movie debuts this weekend, finally. Anyone going to see it?

The downside of my new town is that it’s not very big, and movies like this are unlikely to make it my way. It’s apparently available on Vudu, but I don’t know anything about that service.

It’s also on iTunes!

It’s a bit of a mess in the end, but there’s a whole lotta 80s nastiness in it. And it’s not the least bit tongue in cheek. Obviously a labor of love, especially for how it completely eschews CG. Which is an admirable approach, but once you start trying to do Silent Hill, well, maybe so much latex isn’t the best way to go? Still, it’s a real delight for the filmmakers’ obvious affection for Carpenter style horror over the trappings of modern horror: no good-looking teens, no cheap jump scares, no exposition, no found footage. Just a fast brutal trip with a diverse cast of characters, a solid sense of place and time, and a whole lotta latex.


This is exactly what I wanted to here. I think I’ll check it out this weekend on iTunes then. Although this reminds me what utter fucking garbage iTunes is.

Ok, that was pretty weird but very good. It’s not on the level of It Follows or The Witch but this is a B+/A- at worst. I would definitely recommend this to the gang. Spoilers to follow, Chick style (no blurring, no tags, no frills, no retreat, no surrender).

If I was going to argue for something to change around the climax, I think cutting a significant portion of Richard’s (Dwight from the Freshman! What a trip) dialog would probably have been better for the overall atmosphere and weirder aspects of the film. I don’t mind “witness our apotheosis” or talking about reaching into the abyss to get his daughter, but maybe less talk about how the stars look, or taking time to ramble about what you’re reading on twitter. which is what half his dialog felt like. The movie slides between “these innocent people trapped in what the fuck” and “no seriously holy fuck the what” and I like the way that these tow things sort of clash a little bit. But in the end we’re in full on latter mode and less dialog is more at that point IMO. That’s all I would argue for tweaking/changing. The directors had a vision; . if that vision doesn’t always work well - the very last bit with the cop and his wife in ??? didn’t seem to fit into anything to me - it works very well overall.

I would have loved to see this on the big screen. One day. The effects overall were very good but yeah felt a bit strained when it got down to all the twisty contorty bodies running around in the sub basement.

I want to take a moment to discuss the power of a director who chooses to focus on his characters rather than trying to fake out the audience with jump scares, noise queues, etc. Actually a couple of moments. A well executed jump scare is certainly evocative and tense. But it’s such a fleeting thing. It only works great the first time you see it (although occasionally this is a truly iconic experience - Exorcist III e.g.). Whereas the focus here on certain characters dealing with the impossibility of what they are seeing is so much more lasting. I’m thinking in particular about the state trooper who just stood staring dumbstruck at the thing rising up from the nurse’s corpse in the room with the tweaker handcuffed to the bed. This is a much more lasting, and IMO effective, way to go about building dread in a viewer.

Is there a name for this? Where a character seemingly reacts to a musical/sound queue, only for you to discover “nope, he did in fact here that!”. I’m thinking of the weird blarrrr horn thing the cop reacted to (I think it was the second such horn in the movie, but it may have been the first; there were 2 or 3 overall?). Which at the time I thought was odd but later when the dad/“hunter” guy showed up he mentioned “those horns can be heard for miles, it’s drawing them all to this place” I thought it was a really cool touch. I feel like I’ve seen something like that before but can’t place where.

I liked it so much that I forgot I was super pissed at iTunes for awhile.

It’s also available on Amazon streaming. Apparently it’s in limited release that’s so limited that it consists of one (1) theater, the City Cinemas Village East in NYC.

Same in the Bay Area. There’s only one theater showing it in SF and I’m not going all the way out there. I wanted to see it in a theater, but I guess I’m probably stuck with Amazon.

I was pretty disappointed by this. Once the vigilante dudes bust into the hospital, everything grinds to a screeching halt while people endlessly shout at each other while pointlessly withholding motivations. The entire middle felt like pointless wheel-spinning. A pity, because it’s a solid setup, I love the gruesome practical effects, and the ending has some cool, nasty stuff.