Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, the team behind 2017’s weirdest horror film so far, The Void, threw a bit of everything into the mix. Between the oozing monsters covered in gag-inducing tentacles, the knife-wielding, white-robed cult members, the human experiments, and the reanimation of dead children in the form of tortured creatures, things are a bit exhausted by the time the titular Void reveals itself.
Audiences either loved or hated the film when it premiered in limited release on April 7, with very few opinions falling somewhere in the middle with a blasé shrug. And, now, this fabulous, controversial clusterfuck is available to stream on Netflix.
Gillespie and Kostanski, whose joint experience in visual effects and various art departments aptly prepared them for the creative challenges of a low-budget horror project, first conceived the idea for The Void in 2011 after the premiere of their film Manborg. Taking inspiration from Guillermo del Toro and a host of dark images of mysterious pyramids and plagued monsters, Gillespie and Kostanski went to work. What resulted was an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink psychological and body horror film set in a small-town hospital.
Without giving too much away: The Void opens when a police officer, Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole), delivers an injured man to the local hospital and its remaining resident doctor, Richard Powell (Kenneth Welsh). The hospital is under construction after a devastating fire and isn’t operating at full capacity, but there’s some weird shit going down.
White-robed figures surround the building and won’t allow anyone to leave; the people inside start killing each other without an initial explanation; a tentacled monster bursts from one of the murdered residents; and a teenager goes into early labor. And that’s all within the first 15 minutes of the movie.
In the end, The Void will most likely leave you staring at a black screen with your mouth a little agape as you think, “What in the hell did I just watch?” And it’s great.
The underlying plots that go beyond wriggling tentacles and humans with their bodies torn apart and sewn back together are underdeveloped, and you’ll probably miss the “point” of the film if you don’t pay attention to what’s mostly context clues. But the plot doesn’t really matter, to be perfectly honest. It doesn’t matter what the Void is, and it doesn’t matter what anyone’s goal is; the only thing that matters is that the film itself is a bit of a practical effects masterpiece.
On a shoestring budget, Gillespie and Kostanski utilized their team’s creative ingenuity, sketchy lighting, and quick camera work to create a ride that really doesn’t make much sense but is definitely worth the risk.
The Void is now available to stream on Netflix.