While this might not be what I refer to as a “foreign” film, it’s still not made in the States, so I’m going to count it, especially because this is the third movie I’ve tried.
The Void might sound familiar to those of you that have been here a while because I reviewed a horror anthology of the same name a while back. This is “the other” Void movie I referenced when I reviewed that one. It seems our paths have crossed yet again, so I have no choice but to review what looks like Alien and Last Shift smushed together. It seems like an alien movie based on the thumbnail and has a very “Strangers” vibe as well, I guess we’ll just have to see what this movie makes off of those inspirations!
Synopsis: In a world in which all important characters are men and the only thing women are good for is cowering in corners and being pregnant, aliens ravage one hospital and not the entire world. Sorry, one alien guy that’s some kind of elemental and hell-bent on making monsters on earth and a bunch of tentacle alien babies.
Year Released/ Director: It was made in 2016, written and directed by Jeremy Gillespie (who has actually done a lot of other cool things like The Shape of Water as an art director and a few different things for the show Hannibal) and Steven Kostanski (who is a makeup artist that’s worked on Suicide Squad and the new It movie)
These guys are experienced and it really shows with some of the scenes they included in this movie.
Rating: Not Terrible
Favorite Death: A few people died in this movie and most of them were either exploded by aliens, stabbed in the face, or came back to life. Two people stayed dead and were promptly forgotten. I didn’t really have a favorite, but at one point, a woman was exploded by an alien baby that was definitely bigger than she was and that therefore made no sense. At another, the old guy that came with that pregnant chick was killed by her and a mustache of fake blood sprayed across the clueless nurse’s face. That was pretty funny.
Funniest Part: While it didn’t make me laugh out loud so much as scream at my TV, there was a part where Daniel was stabbed in the chest by one of the weird cult member people. It was very slow and very weird when it happened. When he woke up, from shock or something, there was little to no blood on his shirt and he went about the rest of the movie like nothing had happened. I don’t understand why, if you’re going to weaken the main character, you’d ignore the fact that he was hurt in the first place.
What they did right: The gore was exceptional. It was really well done, well lit, made me sick to my stomach, really really great. On top of that, the aliens were very creepy and grossed me out a lot.
It also has a follow-able story. This guy reaches out to some aliens to get his daughter back and in the process, he tries all kinds of reincarnation tests that fail miserably. He also goes mad with power and tries to impregnate every woman he comes into contact with to bring his daughter back. Why it takes him this long to do that to the nurse he’s been working with for who knows how long is besides the point.
Thoughts from Interviews: I found one incredibly awkward Q&A session on YouTube with the director/writers. They asked questions like “what do you think happens when you die?” and “did you approach your horror movie with the same strategies you used to direct your comedy/satire movies?”
One question was actually interesting though, someone asked where the inspiration for the story came from and they essentially said the mythology of HP Lovecraft as well as the early Silent Hill games. I, unfortunately am not familiar with either of those (yes, yes, scoff away at the fact that I’m not a “real” horror fan if I haven’t read Lovecraft). But I have a feeling, based on the reactions the fans at the Q&A had, they came through in the film.
Trivia: A few bits of trivia I found interesting, first of all, this was a crowdfunded project. I think that’s really cool, but there’s no more info than that presented on the page. Another bit is that the hospital they used to film in was actually an old abandoned high school.
I’m not going to destroy this movie, I actually really liked it. However, I’m not a fan of sci-fi, so maybe it’ll come off as more negative than I mean for it to. Either way this was a weird movie. It’s got some more-than-the-plot issues as well so that’s why I only gave it a “Not Terrible.” Like I said, though, I did like it. I just…also didn’t sometimes.
Alright, so the movie starts with a scene that gives us the tail end of the first incident we see some alien hunters (that we meet later) being a part of. According to this scene, there’s this father/son duo that have been following these aliens for a while and know a little bit about them. They know where to kill the beasts that come out of their host bodies and the fact that these things just come back to life and all. It’s never really explained how these guys know what’s happening, but they just do. We really never find out how they know all of this, and even the small bit of backstory we get about their wife/mother dying alongside their unborn child/sibling. It’s not mentioned whether or not the doctor somehow impregnated her with an alien baby or it was just your typical vigilante origin story.
Skip ahead a bit, a guy that escaped from the house in the first scene ends up bloodied, tired, and on the road. He’s soon discovered by the town sheriff, Daniel. He’s essentially Rick Grimes if he was 10 years younger so use that image how you will. Okay, so Daniel takes this guy to the nearest hospital because he’s covered in blood. We eventually find out the blood is not his, but we’ll get to that later.
By some crazy random happenstance, the hospital they go to is also the one at which Daniel’s ex (wife or girlfriend we never find out) works. She is accompanied by a nurse in training that likes to look at the pictures in her textbooks, but not actually be a nurse. In the hospital there is also an old man and his granddaughter who happens to be pregnant. Finishing off this cast of characters, we meet Dr. Powell, he becomes important later.
There are no other nurses, patients, characters, or doctors besides these people. The hospital itself, at least from the outside, warrants, at the very least, three doctors and a LOT more nurses, but anyway…
Daniel brings in this bloody boy and soon realizes the hospital is surrounded by these people in white sheets with black triangles on their hoods. They’re pretty creepy but mostly just stand there aside from when the one stabs Daniel in the scene I’ve already talked about. Now, these people in white sheets are a little too close to looking like Klansmen for my comfort. I don’t exactly know what the representation here is, but their costumes are definitely intentional. Maybe the directors were just trying to make people feel uncomfortable. They did the right thing not putting black people in this movie, but also, was that the right thing? Is this a cover up for something more sinister? We may never know. With a few quick google searches it seems no one has asked or explored that aspect of this movie despite the excitement horror fans had for it leading up to its release.
I don’t want to slander these guys or make something out of this that isn’t there, but it’s definitely a weird coincidence.
Another thing I noticed, aside from the main plot of this movie, is that all but one woman in this film is, at one point, pregnant. I get that this symbolizes motherhood and all that, but you’re an alien, couldn’t you use something besides a human that is clearly the wrong size for your children? Don’t you have the technology to clone and gestate those things in plants or pods or something on your giant triangular spaceship? This, to me, comes across a bit sexist. The men in this movie have all of the lines, they do all of the action sequences, and, even when she had the chance, the nursing student couldn’t follow through with the emergency C-section that other girl needed. Lord knows if she hadn’t wussed out, that girl’s grandfather would still be alive and the alien baby that tore her apart wouldn’t have ever happened. Needless to say, that was one thing I didn’t like about this movie. Also, each woman that gives birth dies because of it. Now there is some much deeper shit I’m not going to touch because that’s all in the writing.
So this bloody dude is brought in, the weirdo cult members are hanging out around the outside and the alien hunters show up. Pretty soon after the action starts, one of the other nurses in the hospital kills a patient seemingly under some kind of possession. We’re unsure whether or not the possession is by an alien, a demon, or what, but after she stabs the patient through the eye, and rips off her own face, she becomes a host for a very frightening monster alien thing. In this portion of the movie, we see the alien beast take over a human body like it’s some kind of host. However, later on in the film we see the alien baby that’s supposed to be Dr. Powell’s daughter as a completely different monster. We’re never told what the significance of this is or whether or not it’s something we need to pay attention to. Are there multiple aliens taking over this understaffed hospital? Should we expect to see something else?
Another thing to note here is that most of the special effects of this movie are actual puppets and real things. Why then, I asked as I watched, did they cover it up with strobe lighting? There’s this epic scene in the hallway of the hospital shortly after the woman becomes this…thing, and she’s eating someone or tentacle-izing their face and it’s creepy and horrifying, but it’s completely ruined by this awful strobe lighting. You just want to focus on it to see how gross the thing is but the camera won’t let you.
Side note; this movie contains quite a few scenes with strobe lighting so, if this review makes you want to go watch it, keep that in mind.
The movie really gets going when Daniel’s ex Allison is stolen by the undead doctor. Oh yeah, did I not mention that the doctor from the beginning dies at one point and then comes back to life to impregnate Allison with a tentacle alien monster baby? Sorry.
But yeah, that happens and that’s kinda the entire movie. In reality there is a secret lair underneath the hospital that the doctor used to keep all his failed reincarnation experiments in. You see, his daughter died when she was really young so in an effort to bring her back, he called on some aliens or demons or something (it’s left purposely vague to conjure something in the imagination of the viewer according to the writer/directors) to get her back. What happened was, something like an elemental reached back out to him and gave him all these powers to control alien tentacle monsters and convince people they don’t need faces.
In the end, after fighting off the failed reincarnated beasts made by the doctor, Daniel gets sucked into a void to be on a deserted planet in space with inexplicably breathable oxygen and a giant floating black triangle spaceship.
This movie is a mangle of all kinds of movies, Last Shift, Alien, apparently some references to Lovecraft, Mars Attacks, it’s all here. What I find most interesting, in this case, is that the story was SO basic. It was about a father doing what he could to bring his daughter back, even if by the time she came back she was a giant alien monster. The focus was the gore, the horror, the reincarnated creeps in the basement of a hospital that was hiding a dark secret. It was well done, I think, aside from some strange plot choices. Overall not terrible but not my new favorite movie.
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