The Void (2016)

Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, who also worked on Manborg, created this ode to all that is wonderful and slimy and bloody and gross about 80’s horror. Seriously, this film feels like a spiritual cousin to Prince of Darkness by way of Halloween 2, with an army of cultists surrounding an understaffed hospital which becomes a gateway to another dimension.

A drug fiend flees a farmhouse, followed by a woman who is shot and killed by Vincent and his son, Simon. The running man is found crawling away and brought to a hospital by Deputy Carter, who is worried about running into his ex-wife Allison, who works there as a nurse.

They aren’t there for long before another nurse tears her face off and kills a patient, only to be shot dead by Carter, who collapses and has visions. He is told by state trooper Mitchell to leave the scene, but once he walks to his patrol car, he’s attacked by robed cultists who have surrounded the building.

Meanwhile, Beverly’s dead body has transformed into a tentacled otherworldly beast straight out of Carpenter’s The Thing. Just then, the father and so from the beginning arrive and a standoff occurs — they want to kill James. At the last moment, Beverly’s monstrous form kills the state policeman before being killed.

One of the patients is pregnant, so some of the staff go to find supplies while the attending physician, Dr. Powell, reveals that he is the leader of the cult. He begins tormenting Daniel, telling him that he knows all about the visions that he had while unconscious.

Powell appears to Allison and explains how he has learned to defy death after losing his daughter, then he removes his face. He then claims that she has something growing inside of her. Meanwhile, deformed corpses in the basement come to life and attack.

As the patient is about to give birth, she reveals that she was carrying Dr. Powell’s child. And Allison also gives birth to a tentacles creature that is still inside her body, killing her. Daniel attacks her remains with an axe, then walks into a room with a glowing triangle on the wall. There, Powell claims he can give him his child back (he and Allison had lost a baby, which led to their separation) if he dies first.

The pregnant woman reappears and stabs Daniel and kneels before a skinless Powell, who recites a ritual that causes her to explode and be reborn as his daughter. The father and son return to save the day, setting everything on fire, but Powell has begun his ascension and is asking Daniel to join him. Simon, the son, escapes with Kim, one of the nurses while Daniel tackles the doctor and sends them back into the void.

As the movie closes, we see Daniel and Allison holding hands, somewhere in a netherworld — an ending that is very similar to Fulci’s The Beyond.

The Void is the first modern horror film to excite me in some time. I’ve been disappointed by overhyped projects in the past, so I was pleased to discover that this film has its practical effects heart in the bloodiest of places. Several have complained that the film makes no sense, but I see it as the spiritual successor to absolute films such as Inferno and the aforementioned The Beyond and The Prince of Darkness. And it’s robed cultists, who silently wait for the command to kill, are the most artistically arresting horror villains in decades.

The Void has my highest possible recommendation.

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