One of my favorite things to do on the Internet is to watch trailers for horror movies. I mean, I rarely actually watch the movies, but very often, the advertisements for even the crappiest movies are well done enough to keep me entertained for a couple of minutes.
And then there was the trailer to The Void, which io9 linked to about a year and a half ago:
Done as a bit of a throwback to 1980s creature flicks like John Carpenter’s The Thing, The Void begins in the middle of … something. A drug addict named James flees a house and a woman tries to follow but she is killed by two men, whom we later learn are Vincent (Daniel Fathers) and his son Simon (Mik Byskov). James is picked up by a local cop, Daniel (Aaron Poole), who takes him to the local hospital, which is half-abandoned due to a fire some time ago and has a skeleton crew of a staff that includes Daniel’s estranged wife Allison (Kathleen Munroe), a med student named Kim (Ellen Wong), a nurse named Beverly (Stephanie Belding), and an attending physician named Dr. Powell (Kenneth Welsh). Including Daniel and James, a young girl named Maggie (Grace Munro), who is very pregnant; and her grandfather, Ben (James Millington) are also there.
It’s hard to write a review for this without giving too much away, so I’ll offer up enough to make you consider looking at the entire film. There are some very strange things going on at this hospital. People cut their own skin off and are reborn as creatures. Members of a strange cult whose symbol is a black triangle are surrounding the hospital and attack anyone who tries to leave. In other words, something otherworldly is going on and whatever it is, it looks to claim the lives of everyone inside.
So what you have is the conceit for what could be a million low-budget horror flicks going all the way back to Night of the Living Dead, and much like that Romero classic, that particular plot contrivance works for The Void. The directors, Steven Kotsanksi and Jeremy Gillespie, put all of their major characters in the same place so that they can simply concentrate on building tension between them and build the tension surrounding them.
The former comes in the form of the strained relationship between Daniel and Allison, which came about after she lost their baby, which is played straightforward and with the right amount of emotion from the actors–they spend a lot of time trying to avoid one another even though he is also determined to protect her. And the theme of loss and coping with loss, especially that of a child, is a major one in The Void and the reason it is more than just a gory monster movie. Kotsanski and Gillespie put some serious work into practical monster effects and combining that with performances that are all-around solid despite from scenery chewing from time to time, this is well-crafted. You’re not subjected to shaky-cam or found footage, and everything is not explained to you at every turn. While the reveal of the movie’s villain makes clear what is going on ad why, they still trust their audience enough to make us fill in the blanks where it’s necessary.
At the time I watched this, it was available on Netflix, so if it is still there, watch it. If you have to rent it, go ahead. I think that if you’re a fan of 1980s horror films that deal with more supernatural/cosmic elements and monsters (instead of slashers and dead teenagers), you’ll find The Void a worthwhile viewing this or any Shocktober.