The Void (2016)
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The Void (2016)

It is relatively easy to understand how the Internet has impacted movies. An increasing number of people routinely watch films online, either on any one of several streaming video services such as Hulu, Netflix Amazon Prime. A significant amount of people are now replacing the standard way of watching films, cable television and Internet access to those channels rather than dependence on the cable company. What is less obvious is how the Internet has altered the fundamental paradigms of how movies become approved for production and the method used to secure the funding to cover the production costs. The films under consideration here, ‘The Void (2016)’ raise the money necessary for the production budget crowdfunding. Those not familiar with the term refers to a method of distributing the cost of an expensive project over a substantial number of fans rather than trying to get large backers to donate the funds. Suffice it to say this correctly indicate that the movie was made on a shoestring budget, and the amount of money insufficient to cover coffee and donuts on a major, special effects laden blockbuster. The Void is a basic genre including horror, science fiction, and mystery. All too often will make endeavors to tackle such a hybrid categorization in the project typically attempts to satisfy the defining tenets of the each of the components low losing sight of the whole. In this instance, the two men, who served as directors and screenwriters, Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski were skillfully able to not only successfully merge them to do so in a synergistic fashion. Far too warm Paul was considered the go-to genre the burgeoning independent filmmakers. This is a special effect intended only to close out the audience a relatively cheap and audience expectations have been conditioned to be satisfied with some an endless stream of zombie apocalypse movies or alien invasion This film lives up toward marketing tagline, ‘a new dimension in evil.' There’s an independent movie that concentrates mostly on the psychological terror and instilling viewers while not forgetting to use a substantial number of really scary moments into the story.

The audience is not subjected to an overly long wait for the death toll to start accumulating. James (Evan Stern), betrayed by his appearance to be someone deeply addicted to drugs, attempting to flee as rapidly as possible from the area. His escape, challenged by a woman who appeared from the house determined to stop him, screaming at the top of her lungs. The screams change in tone from anger to excruciating pain as she is set on fire by Vincent (Daniel Fathers) and his son Simon (Mik Byskov). Down the road, James is discovered barely alive by Deputy Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole), who takes them immediately to the nearest hospital. Then James is confronted by his estranged wife, Alison Fraser (Kathleen Munroe), who said that as a nurse in the facility. It’s not a large hospital only a few members of the staff on duty at the time. They include Dr. Richard Powell (Kenneth Welsh), Nurse Beverly (Stephanie Belding), and Kim (Ellen Wong). One of the patients is Maggie (Grace Munro), a pregnant young woman accompanied by her grandfather, Ben (James Millington). Once again the pacing proves to be impeccable as introducing the players in the story the audience is hit with the next viscerally disturbing moment. Nurse Beverly appears to be some form of fugue state made far worse by the fact that the skin of her face has been removed. Beverly turned her attention to Daniel and begins to launch towards him he shoots the, killing her instantly. Overwhelmed by everything Daniel collapses having a seizure. During that period of consciousness he has a strange vision. Just then Mitchell (Art Hindle), a state trooper is just come from the farmhouse after missing the horrible aftermath of the carnage. Daniel goes outside in order to call in Beverly’s death to the authorities. The situation takes on a surreal twist as the deputy is surrounded by people dressed in some form of ceremonial robes, it is apparent by their garb and demeanor that they are part of some form of a cult.

The robed figures attack Daniel and in the process wounded Daniel. He barely makes it back inside the hospital just as the members around the building. Without screaming is emanating from James’s room so Daniel and Mitchell run to investigate. They could not have expected what they found severely shocked by the site of Barbara’s corpse turned into monster with writhing tentacles. The two men managed to grab James and pulled him out of the room to relative safely locking the creature that once was Barbara in the room. By this juncture you you’re completely drawn into the story, fully emotionally vested in what is happening to these people. The reason for this is why this film is so different from the usual independent horror flick. As previously mentioned modus operandi for nascent masters of horror is to obtain some form of script pertaining to some variation of the classic creature feature story. As a special effects person mixes up a few gallons of stage blood out of corn syrup and food coloring waters assisted obtains from a local butcher several pounds of entrails, the majority of the requisite props are ready principal photography. It is just a matter of testing additions at a nearby community college drama program or community theater. Just to ensure an incentive for the target demographic of teenage boys and young college men, the director has to obtain the services of at least one attractive young woman lacking a sense of modesty and willing eschew costumes during the pivotal scenes.

Fortunately, the co-screenwriters/co-directors all pair of young men with a keen sense of professionalism as well as the artistic integrity to be properly Ruby of being called independent filmmakers. Mr. Gillespie and Mr. Kostanski have been a successfully working team for a number of years mostly connected to the art department. Recently they have guided the visual impact of such things as the Fargo television series and the SyFy original program, ‘The Expense ‘. Most recently they have directed the art department for the much anticipated reimagining of the Steven King horror masterpiece, ‘It’. An example of their collaboration cinematic work they were crucial to the look and feel of recent offering of the DC film franchise, ‘The Suicide Squad’. While many critics and fans felt the movie fell short on expectations most would agree that imagery of the movie were among the film’s best, most redeeming quality. Each of the above listed projects had been singled out for their distinctive deployment of set design, costuming and overall impact of the visual tone of the show or movie. Over the course of many years I have noticed that the fields producing the best directors are those responsible for the art department. These men augmented that expertise with experience in the sound department and editing. This translates to a depth of understanding regarding the intricacies of crafting a film and more importantly, the nuances necessary to distinguish their film from the myriad of less successful endeavors.

I was pleasantly surprised when I placed the screener into by DVD player and began my initial viewing, I had expected just another ill-fated attempt at a creature feature but realized this film was a supernatural mystery at heart and it contained level of substance superior to low budget, indie scary movies. There was substance here, character development and a steady forward movement of the themes and plot points. The success of a horror story is often predicated on the methodology used to isolate the principle protagonist from any feasible source of assistance. A hospital surrounded by fanatical cult members juxtaposed with the internal threat of a lethal, unreasoning creature creates a fertile ground for the terror to multiply. Do not be deterred by any preconceived notions regarding the movie. Add it to your library and enjoy the experience it amply provides.

Posted 05/09/2017

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