RogerBW's Blog

The Void 09 April 2019

2016 minimal-budget horror, dir. Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, Aaron Poole: IMDb / allmovie. Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Carter wasn't having a great day, but he's going to have an even worse night.

This is essentially what Doctor Who fans would call a base-under-siege story: Carter arrives at a hospital with an injured man he's found on the road, and then things start to go wrong, with staff going mad and monsters popping up, while outside mysterious white-robed people are gradually closing in…

The budget does show in places, in particular the small number of staff in this hospital; it's explained that they've just had a major fire, but even so it's pretty minimal. The "hospital" itself was an abandoned high school scheduled for demolition, but all institutional buildings end up looking much the same, and it's well-dressed with administrative and occasional medical paraphernalia. It helps make the atmosphere effectively tawdry, as does the acting from Aaron Poole: his deputy may not be much of a hero, but he's the hero we're going to get.

All right, the standard male filmmakers' terror of pregnancy and related subjects as the root of the body horror aspect of the story is rather trite, but apart from that this is a surprisingly thoughtful script. There are certainly an awful lot of unanswered questions, but the plot holds together, and there's sensible escalation not in physical threat but in what might happen if that threat isn't surmounted. Effects are entirely practical rather than CGI, and as usual this provides a welcome physicality that outweighs the potential flashiness.

This film looks like generic horror, and some of the tropes are there, but it does a whole lot better than that would lead one to expect.

Recommended by MaryAnn Johanson.

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