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  Void, The Hell Is The Infinite
Year: 2016
Director: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski
Stars: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Mik Byskov, Art Hindle, Stephanie Belding, James Millington, Eva Stern, Grace Munro, Matthew Kennedy, Trish Rainone, David Scott, Mackenzie Sawyer, Jason Detheridge, Chris Nash
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It should have been a quiet night in this rural area around the hospital, but nearby, there had been a shooting where one of the wounded victims had been set on fire and though one of them managed to escape he was nevertheless injured and ended up crawling along the roadside through the forest. That was where he was noticed by Officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) who was sitting in his patrol car not expecting much from the evening, but he leapt into action and helped the incoherent man inside and sped off to the hospital for treatment. Once there, he had to contend with his doctor ex-girlfriend Allison (Kathleen Munroe), but it quickly became apparent there was something more important going on - something world-changing.

The Void was a project directed by two of Canada's Astron-6 team, that group of exploitation movie fans who had a tendency to pack as much of their influences and admirations into their work as possible, often at the expense of any good taste whatsoever. They seemed to have grown up, or at least calmed down, with this item, as their previous work had a feverish quality reminiscent of creatives who felt they had one last try to put across absolutely everything they had ever wanted to put in a film, so every idea, down to the smallest notion, would be stuffed into efforts like Father's Day and The Editor, regardless of what the final effect would be. Here there was a strong degree of discipline on show.

That said, there remained that sense of seizing the opportunity to make their project as cool as they possibly could throughout The Void, in a manner that suggested another lower budget but comparatively higher imagination horror Beyond the Black Rainbow from the previous decade - the influences came across clearly as very similar. Those being a Lovecraftian plot seen through the lens of eighties horror videos that the underage fright fan had gotten away with renting from their local emporium, and that feeling of seeing something they really shouldn't, the lure of the arcane and forbidden, was very much a part of Astron-6's generation of filmmaking. Not every one of their peers embraced it quite to the degree they did, however.

It was a power from some other dimension that was the chief threat to the characters in the hospital, making for a siege shocker in the grand tradition of George A. Romero's gamechanging Night of the Living Dead, with the setting of something like Halloween 2 or perhaps, considering this lot were Canadian, its contemporary Visiting Hours. Art Hindle, a leading man used by David Cronenberg, made an appearance, albeit a brief one, all contributing to the respect the writer-directors were keen to convey, though that did have the effect of rendering what they had conjured up themselves rather second-hand, as you could envisage Stuart Gordon doing something very similar with the material back in his heyday. Still, for nostalgists this was well worth investigating for precisely those reasons.

The Void itself was a netherworld of vast, uncanny and unknowable entities that, in true Lovecraft Elder Gods fashion, wished to find a way through to our world, and it grows apparent that there is a robed and masked cult in the region who are very close to making that a reality (or an unreality, would perhaps be a more accurate description). Daniel the cop finds himself at the forefront of keeping this unimaginable evil back when he realises who has been behind this, and how he can help despite being inflicted with wounds that would have stopped the average man not merely in his tracks but stone dead also. Also on board was Kenneth Welsh of Twin Peaks fame as the head doctor who knows more than he initially lets on, and Ellen Wong of Scott Pilgrim as a student nurse reluctant to do anything to help, a decision that might just save her life while all around are losing theirs. You were never more than five minutes away from a rubbery special effect thanks to the directors' reluctance to use CGI gore and monsters, a refreshing development that illustrated how satisfying such tangible techniques could be. It was derivative, but managed a neat scale.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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