Film: The Void

The Void (2016) is one of those modest, creative little independent movies you want to see succeed—and on some levels, it does. But this atmospheric Canadian horror tale, while well produced, ultimately doesn’t reward viewer patience.

When police officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) happens across a mysteriously injured man, he delivers him to a sleepy country hospital, where a skeleton crew minds the emergency room—the only wing still open, as the fire-damaged hospital in the process of being relocated. There, Carter encounters his ex, nurse Allison (Katherine Munroe), but their relationship troubles are nothing compared to the horrors they’re about to experience, including senseless murders, a menacing cult, and a mad scientist (Kenneth Welsh) whose gruesome experiments start picking off the besieged hospital staff one by one.

The Void opens promisingly, with a quietly threatening build-up that raises creepy questions and presents a sympathetic roster of characters forced to work together to make sense of the otherworldly horrors in their midst. There’s an artistry to its early menace, and an able cast—especially Poole, Munroe, Ellen Wong, Daniel Fathers, and Evan Stern— provide convincing bravery, bafflement, and hysterics as they confront this inexplicable, terrifying situation. Unfortunately, as is often the case in this kind of horror-mystery, the intrigue ultimately needs to pay off, and as The Void goes about answering its core questions, it gradually demystifies itself, descending into gory, violent horror. Consequently, it only held my interest for the first act or so before starting to feel like over-familiar genre fare. An earnest effort, but ultimately one that didn’t do much for me.

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