The Void (2017) [Midnight Movie]

A man and a woman come racing out of a farmhouse, running for their lives. The woman is disabled by a shot to the back and the man disappears into the treeline. The shooters can finish the woman off with a clean blow to the head. Instead, they dig a can of gasoline out of the trunk of their car and set the woman on fire. The reason for their cruelty will become apparent later in the movie… sort of.

Sometime later, the deputy spots the man stumbling out of the woods. After getting the man to the local hospital, the building is surrounded, Assault on Precinct 13 style, by masked cultists, each brandishing a giant hunting knife. The shooters from the beginning of the movie show up, further complicating matters, though not as much as the Thing-like monsters lurking in the shadows.

Lord of Illusions, one of my favorite horror movies of the 90s, has this fantastic scene in which the villain grabs another character’s head and sinks his fingers into his brain with supernatural ease. That’s kinda what the cosmic entities in The Void do: they don’t just deal in body horror, of which you’ll see plenty, but they also get into your head and rattle around in there, seriously fucking up your day. This is a dizzying, disorienting, and not fully coherent movie about people going truly insane.

The reason it works is because these characters start out entirely sane, sincerely likable, and down-to-earth. Too many horror movies concoct stupid excuses for their characters doing stupid things. I’ve seen other fans of the genre reason that people do stupid things in stressful situations. Maybe. But it gets boring… hell, it’s been boring for decades.

The Void thinks so, too. The main character doesn’t want to use his gun, but he’s not afraid to use it, either. Other characters have a tendency to keep their cool, that is until the living nightmare escalates to epic levels of mind-fuckery. The vaguely explained plot, which turns out to hinge on some pretty major coincidences, makes less and less sense the more you poke at it, but the ride is too thrilling to notice the holes until it’s over.

I really liked this movie. However, whereas I think I might appreciate Split more on additional viewings, I think I might like this one a little less in the future. I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong and an additional viewing will actually answer a lot of the questions I have.

The first viewing, however, is a great ride any which way you slice it. These characters aren’t stupid, the acting is good, and you’ll see some seriously messed up shit.

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