The Void (3 stars)

The Void

Some truly special effects are the main selling point of this old-school creature feature

After working on effects and make-up for films including Suicide Squad and Pacific Rim, and collaborating with other filmmakers on revenge thriller Father's Day, writing-directing duo Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski (the latter also helmed 2011's Manborg) bring that experience to bear on a film that makes up in gory fun what it lacks in narrative nuance.

The story, such as it is, is set almost entirely within the confines of a deserted hospital in backwater USA. Inside, a disparate group of strangers – including local police officer Carter (Aaron Poole) and gun-toting father and son vigilantes Vincent (Daniel Fathers) and Simon (Mik Byskov) – find themselves under siege, both from the malevolent cloaked figures surrounding the building and the increasingly bizarre things happening under its roof.

Human survival against extreme odds is the backbone of the horror genre, but here it is merely the canvas on which Gillespie and Kostanski can showcase their superior effects skills. Indeed, while the cast may be decent – and do their best with a screenplay that is missing most of its flesh, not least in terms of the damp squib ending – they are well and truly outshone by the practical magic on display. As fluids ooze, skin pops and blood flows, the film takes body horror to audacious, nightmarish extremes.

Alongside their FX skills, the filmmakers' love of the genre is splattered across every scene and, in referencing everything from Assault on Precinct 13 and The Thing to Hellraiser and The Faculty, The Void plays like an affectionate homage to the great and the good of chiller cinema. While this old-school creature feature may not win over non-horror fans, genre aficionados will undoubtedly find much to enjoy.

Limited release from Fri 31 Mar.

The Void

  • 3 stars
  • 2017
  • Canada
  • 1h 30min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Jeremy Gillespie / Steven Kostanski
  • Cast: Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Kenneth Welsh, Aaron Poole

In a deserted hospital in backwater USA, our heroes find themselves under siege from cloaked figures outside the building and bizarre creatures inside. The cast does decently enough with a bare-bones screenplay but the special effects are the real star, with some nightmarish body horror. Fans of the genre will have fun.