The Void (2016)

(On Cable TV, October 2017) Hype is a terrible thing but consider that even if The Void fails to measure up to the hype I heard about it, the hype did get me to watch it. For a low-budget Canadian horror film, that’s no insignificant achievement. As often happens with high-concept horror, The Void is better during its first mysterious half, then progressively more disappointing as it rushes to a conclusion without quite making sense of what came before. The basic nuts and bolts of the premise are not without interest: A policeman rushing to a hospital on the verge of closing down, a siege from crazed cultists, sombre horrors from the basement, mysterious characters acting in nonsensical ways… Add to that the strong Carpenter influences, the Lovecraftian tropes, the very gory practical effects and there’s enough there to please horror fans. This isn’t writers/Directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie first horror movie, and they are getting better at it. The Void slides from eerie thriller to full-blown creature horror more quickly than I expected, which presents its own challenges: it’s hard to keep up the pressure once everything goes crazy, and The Void increasingly stumbles in trying to tie everything back up in a single story. When all is said and done, there simply isn’t all that much to the final result, and even less that can be considered interesting. The ending feels like a mash-up of three or four very conventional movies, and isn’t necessarily well supported by everything that has come before. Still, I can’t help but go soft of a low-budget film that actually delivers a mildly entertaining experience even as it fails to reach its potential. The Void does measure up to the current standards of Canadian horror movies and that’s saying enough when there are almost always half a dozen worse choices available on specialized Canadian Cable TV channels.

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