What I'm Watching: The Void
When The Void first started to spread word of its existence, it's no wonder that it caught my attention. The trailer alone looks like a wonderful mashup of Carpenter and Lovecraft. And the movie delivers upon that promise fairly well.
The plot is simple; a guy escapes from a cult, ends up at a hospital, and they come looking for him. As things unfold, we learn about a deep conspiracy running through the entire town, and some other tragedies that have shaped the residents just trying to survive the night.
The cult is naturally trying to raise something just the wrong side of Nyarlahotep by way of "The Beyond", and their methods bring with it some solid body horror and gore.
I really enjoyed the style of the movie. It has nods to the 80s movies its inspired by, but by no means is it bound by them. You get the feel of it, but there's very few direct lifts of scenes that try to ride on nostalgia by making you go, "I remember that scene!" Save for the very final moments, which seem to be taken directly from a particular movie. The director says he hadn't seen the movie at the time he made the movie, so I'll take his word on it for now. Mostly, the final moment is frustrating because it promises more story I think the movie could have used. It's the ending of a chapter, not the story. The movie has a LOT of lore I feel we've missed out on, and would love to know more about this world's mythology.
I do wish they had lit things a little better though. There's a fine line between being atmospherically dark, wanting to hide some of your effects with low lighting and quick editing, and just being so damned dark I can't see anything. If you're gonna draw me in with Carpenteresque practical effects, let me see them! Still, I do really like what we do see, which is a plus.
I am admittedly a sucker for stories about small rural towns with deep, dark secrets. Hello, Stephen King fan, here. And also I live in one...hopefully without the world-ending otherworldy god conspiracies, but some days I'm not so sure... I think the conspiracy gets a little too complex with too many players, for some of the characters to NOT know about it, but that's one of those things you kinda have to just go along with.
It has a few good twists along the way, although less so if you're a fan of these particular kinds of movies. They're still handled well enough though, and while they're not so much surprising, they do build and expand the story in a solid way. It also melds some personal tragedy with the supernatural cultish goings on, which help to give some much needed weight to the proceedings and flesh out the characters, but are also important to the plot.
Ultimately, the movie is bloody, gory fun though, even past its flaws. It's far from a great movie, and doesn't quite reach the heights it reaches for from its cinematic inspirations, but it does build upon them well enough, while being fairly entertaining. If you're a fan of Lovecraft and Carpenter, it's definitely worth checking out.