(Warning: This article contains major spoilers for The Void.)
Have you ever watched a horror movie and thought to yourself that: "That is the stuff of my nightmares" or "I hope this never happens in real life". The last time I was physically disgusted whilst watching a body horror was Alien. The sickly, human cocoons and slimy eggs was the closest I've come to being squeamish during a movie. Promising to become a future cult classic, The Void comes close to reminding me of that feeling.
The movie begins with a boy and a girl, escaping a shoddy shack while being chased by two men with shotguns. The boy manages to escape and meets up with Deputy Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole). After seeing the traumatized state of the boy, he rushes him to the nearest Emergency Hospital. As soon as he is admitted into the hospital, things start to go downhill and a group of hooded cult-following figures start to appear around the hospital - and there's no way to escape.
Being an indie movie, I think The Void has done an exemplary job of creating something that is surrealist and visceral. We have lauded the practical effects of Alien and The Thing, and The Void gives some strong competition to the classics. So let's see why this particular horror might achieve cult-classic status.
The Void Features Impactful Performances That You'll Want to Revisit
One thing that I usually don't expect from out-and-out body horror movies are compelling performances, even though that is what makes the crux of the movie. A good performance by the leads and the side-characters makes us feel something for the people who are in peril. Before this movie, the only body horror movie with memorable performances was Evil Dead (the remake).
The Void, just like any body horror movie, has a small cast of 11 people and other extras. The movie doesn't linger much on the inter-personal dynamics but focuses on the individual performances.
Right from the get-go, it was established that Daniel Carter and Vincent (Daniel Fathers) were going to be the heart and soul of the movie. They both had traumatic pasts and as the movie pushes them more and more into the darkness, these men of valor begin to show their vulnerable side and that, in a way, made the situation more believable.
Daniel's wife, the intern and Dr. Richard Powell had significant roles, but there wasn't much to work on. That's why when the movie concentrated on them, it did begin to falter - but not for long. The movie had a quick pace and Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanki knew very well where the movie's strength lied i.e. Daniel Carter and Vincent.
The Practical Effects Will Give You Terrible, Long-lasting Nightmares
A personal note of thanks to Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanki for using practical effects. As the financial aspect of this movie hasn't been released yet, I am pretty sure it'll make its worth on the basis of those nightmarish prosthetics alone. For years cine-goers have lauded the practical effects of The Fly, Alien, The Thing and Scanners. I honestly think that this should also be added to that list.
If you don't have a strong tenacity for gore, then stay away from this movie. If you're grossed out by the trailer, you'll be puking rivers by the end of this movie. That is a huge compliment to the directors and every single person who was in charge of making these amazing practical effects.
There are two things that I love in movies: stop-motion animation and practical effects in horror movies. CGI animation has become a bit too smooth to give that sense of reality, but with practical horror, the imperfection provides the feeling of existence. The Void didn't only use it for the small stabbing or cutting scenes. They went all out on this one, from stabbing to dismemberment. On top of that, the camera never cut away from those scenes.
- Fancy A Descent Through Hell Itself? 'The Void' Is Waiting For You
- 10 Iconic Practical Effects In Horror Movies
- 7 Recent Genre-Defining Horror Movies
The Void's Editing And Cinematography Stands Out From the Crowd
If this is what Cam McLauchlin (editor) and Samy Inayeh (cinematographer) can do in a small-budget movie, you have to wonder what they'll do with a bigger budget.
As the movie takes place at night and inside the hospital, all the sequences are lit by tube-lights, neon lights and flares. That made for some suspenseful, intense sequences that will keep you glued to your seats. Before panning onto the alien or the monster, the movie usually focuses on the reactions of the characters first and then the horror.
Could There Possibly Be A Sequel In The Works?
The detailed but mysterious history of the cult and the alternate dimension wasn't touched upon and a sequel or a prequel can expand upon those theories. The movie is interesting enough to incite that amount of intrigue about what is going on behind the shadows and the jarring imagery.
Does It Have The Potential Of Gaining A Cult Status?
Coming to the main question of this article: Will this gain a cult-classic status or not? Usually a movie is declared as a cult-classic after managing to hold its own over a decade or so. Earlier, movies didn't used to get widespread releases and that's why some of the gems, that we know now as classics, used to be found after a long time, leading to their fame and cult following. Nowadays the scenario is a bit different, as almost every movie gets a average to big release or is watched worldwide over the internet. So, what is the second criteria for a movie being a cult-classic?
Well, a cult-classic might not be something Oscar-worthy. It can be something that is campy, self-aware but have notably rounded characters with a understandable plot. It doesn't usually have to be a really good movie, but it should evoke an emotion that reflects upon the societal issues of that time.
It is obvious that the movie touches on the concept of religion and the extent of the universe. As these two things are the most debated topics in the 21st Century, I think The Void fulfills one criteria. Even though there aren't many memorable characters, one of them you'll certainly feel connected to is Carter.
I think this is one of the best gore-filled horror movies I've seen in recent times. The small-scale environment is bound to entice you and the masterful editing and imagery will certainly scare the hell out of you. I firmly agree with the subtitle of the film because it really felt like we were in Hell.
I cannot praise the make-up and animatronics department enough. The fact that they made me look away from the screen is a testament to their dedication to the craft of physical and practical horror effects. The Void is a must watch for horror fans and especially for those who grew up watching classic body horror movies.
It is really early to say whether this movie will achieve a cult following but I am pretty optimistic about it. The Void is a very competently made movie with a unique take on cult-followers and alien invasion. Even though the movie incites many questions but provides very little answers, the mysticism of The Void is bound to pull you in for a second viewing.
Have you watched The Void? What did you think of it? What other body horror movies are among your favourites? Comment below.