The Void Review

No, this isn’t a review of Enter the Void. That may come someday.

Have you ever seen a concept that seems incredible? I know I have. This one sounds pretty cool. A throwback horror film with a reliance on practical effects that are convincing despite the low budget, reminiscent of classics like The Thing? We don’t really see movies like that anymore, and I hadn’t really seen many movies in that style, so I thought, “sign me up!” I never should have signed up.

To say that this movie is a letdown would be an understatement, but it depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something that resembles what a movie would look like if H. P. Lovecraft decided to make a movie, you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve come to admire fantastic cinematography, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for gory, disgustingly realistic practical effects, then you certainly have certainly come to the right place. Something I love about practical effects is that, in addition to the creature physically being there, if they’re done well, they can lead to some truly terrifying visuals. Practical creatures add a whole new dimension of horror because now your audience can feasibly perceive this creature existing in the real world. This isn’t to say that CG is inferior, they are equally capable of achieving the same effect, and both of them have their faults. It’s certainly a case-by-case basis, and in this case, the practical effects are outstanding, and the CG truly sucks. The CG is minimal, however it is in the single worst moment of the movie, so its’ inferiority hurts even more.

Let’s talk further about that hurts the film (and me, consequently.) The ending (the single worst moment in the movie) is god-awful. I won’t go into details, but all you need to know is that it, quite confusingly, switches to an abhorrently done green screen effect that rivals The Room in terms of execution. The characters are horribly written, and the acting is mediocre at best. Half of what we know about the characters is delivered through a character I dubbed “Dr. Exposition.” Partly because I cannot remember his name, and partly because most of his dialogue was used to explain other character’s backstories. The main character, much like the rest of the cast, is about as one-dimensional and flat as you can get. He’s the cop who just wants to keep the peace, his wife is… a nurse, I guess, Knives from Scott Pilgrim is a clueless idiot, the pregnant lady is just terrible, her dad(?) barely speaks, not because he’s mute, but because they give him nothing to do, and the two lunatics that arrive twenty minutes in are violent monsters. None of these characters have anything beyond what I just told you. They aren’t deep, they aren’t interesting, and most damning, they are frustratingly stupid. It doesn’t help that the plot isn’t compelling and throws too much at the audience (in terms of lore) to process. Either that, or it’s so focused on getting to the next gory scene that it forgets to be consistently engaging. What further damages the film is the overpowering music that often ruins any tension it carried by simply being too loud.

I’ve heard some people say that the main problems I have with this movie are intentional, and that it’s meant to create nostalgia for a style of film that doesn’t really exist anymore. My response is, why should I care? One, I’m not entirely familiar with said style to begin with, and two, if the film is going to be an homage to a past era, or any era in general, whether as a parody or loving callback, it should still be good if you don’t have a previous knowledge of how these films work. Hot Fuzz is a parody of cop movies, but it’s still fantastic to people who aren’t accustomed to them. Why? Because it doesn’t use those cliches, references, or jokes as a crutch. The film can exist without cop movies ever even being thought of and I would still consider it one of the greatest films ever. It transcends parody and becomes a fantastic work because it goes above and beyond what’s expected for any movie. Period. Heck, if you want another example based on another movie I love even more than that, take La La Land. I freaking LOVE La La Land. I’m even listening to the soundtrack as I write this. It’s a love letter to classic films such as Singin’ In the Rain, but it doesn’t rely on the viewer having already seen a plethora of Hollywood musicals to be enjoyed. It’s a movie first, homage second. The Void is not. The Void is far too concerned with impressing audiences by way of grossing them out like the good old days, forgetting that the films it’s trying so hard to imitate weren’t concerned with trying to create nostalgia for an era long past.


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