Sometimes you watch a movie not knowing what to expect and it turns out to be something amazing. Sometimes you watch a movie not knowing what to expect and it turns out to be utter garbage. The Void falls somewhere in between. Watching trailers for this movie I was very interested but I didn't know exactly what to expect. It looks gory, scary, and above all, interesting. It had a lot of interesting ideas that could have gone somewhere amazing, but unfortunately the movie gets so caught up in providing cool ideas that it doesn't really follow through with any of them. But before I go on that tangent let me throw out the spoiler warning - there will be spoilers. If you want to see the movie before reading my review then stop now.
Written and directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, The Void was touted as a callback to low-budget 80's horror. It also seems to be a divisive movie, getting a 74% certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, but a 53% Rotten score from audiences. The Void has zero star power and it shows. The acting all around isn't great. In a way, I can appreciate that as a callback to the 80's horror flicks, but in the same breath we aren't in the 80's anymore and even a love letter can only get you far. It isn't like the action/comedy callbacks that bring the camp and are entirely self-aware about it. The Void takes itself very seriously, and I think that is where the inherent flaw lies.
The movie focuses on a small group of people trapped inside a hospital by what appears to be some kind of cult. So far so good. Then we find out that there are monsters in the hospital. Not sure how the monsters relate to the cult, but okay. Then there appears to be some kind of portal in the basement of the hospital that goes to...somewhere? It all feels very Lovecraftian and that's awesome, but it's just another thing that the movie brings up that doesn't go anywhere. And this is the main flaw with the movie. I like all of the stories it starts to tell, but it doesn't finish any of them and it's frustrating. The cult worships some kind of ancient being that has something to do with the portal and the monsters but none of it is ever explained. I feel like if The Void could have picked just one of these ideas and actually told a good story it would have been fantastic.
Admittedly, some of the effects looked really good. The monsters were all done practically, and you don't really get to see them a whole lot so when you do it's scary and effective. There's a decent amount of gore, but it doesn't go so overboard with it that it becomes too much. The pacing for the first two acts of the movie I was totally on board with. There was a good amount of tension with the people trapped inside and the cult outside preventing them from escaping, and then the monsters start showing up inside the hospital, but once they go into the basement and the third act starts The Void goes in so many different directions so quickly it becomes almost impossible to follow. I found myself asking "What?" out loud multiple times during the last 25 minutes of the movie, which is not good.
I honestly don't really know what else I can say about it. I can't speak on the story because I still don't exactly know what the story was supposed to be. The Void just feels like a series of cool ideas and the directors couldn't decide on which one they wanted so they tried to fit them all in and it just doesn't work. Sorry for the shorter review on this one, it's just too confusing and I feel like if I tried to break it down I would end up talking in circles. If I were to sum it up in two words it would be "wasted potential."