“The Void” is a horror film that goes off the rails — not by accident, but on purpose.
And not just a little. It’s gloriously off the rails, unhinged, absolutely bonkers. If you’re a fan of a certain type of horror film, that’s a good thing. If you’re not, there’s certainly nothing in Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski’s film that’s going to change your mind. It’s reminiscent of old-school 1980s horror, right down to the gore, the gross-out monsters and iffy acting.
What’s not to like?
Well, some third-act lunacy, maybe, but other than that. …
The film starts with a bizarre crime that leaves a man scrambling through the woods in the dark. Danny (Aaron Poole), a sleepy cop in a sleepy town, sees him and thinks he is drunk. When Danny sees blood, he realizes something else is going on. He takes the man to a hospital, conveniently in the middle of nowhere and all but deserted; a recent fire has forced a relocation.
Danny’s estranged wife, Allison (Kathleen Munroe), is on duty, along with Dr. Powell (Kenneth Walsh). The only other patient is a pregnant teenager accompanied by her grandfather. The barebones staff has a hard time settling the man down — and then people begin acting strangely. Violently so.
Things aren’t getting weird just in the hospital. Outside a crowd of people wearing white hooded capes with black triangles is gathering. They don’t speak and, once they’re in place, they don’t really move. It dawns on someone: They’re not trying to get inside. They’re trying to keep everyone inside from getting out.
So far, so good. The addition of a trigger-happy psycho and his friend or son (character development is not a point of emphasis) adds to the creepy build-up. Just what is going on here, and how will it play out?
I wish I could tell you more, but I can’t. Not because I don’t want to spoil what happens; more because things get so crazy I’m not sure I exactly know. Demons and other realms and a basement to hell play a part, along with a critical misinterpretation of the Hippocratic Oath. It all leads to a truly spaced-out finale.
Movies like this don’t stand up to particularly rigorous inspection. They exist to make you feel a certain way — creeped out and scared, and if they throw in a little mumbo-jumbo about moving beyond death or whatever in-between the slime and goo and gore, so be it.
You’ll swear it’s the ’80s again.
Your enjoyment of “The Void” depends almost entirely on whether that’s a return trip you want to make.
Bill Goodykoontz, USA TODAY Network
Screen Media Films presents a film written and directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostansk. No MPAA rating. Running time: 90 minutes. Screens at 11:59 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Music Box Theatre.