TADFF 2016: The Void

the-void

Astron-6 has been a fixture in the festival circuit for many years now, starting with the over-the-top Father’s Day and Manborg to the giallo inspired horror comedy The Editor. Always full of laughs and outrageous comedy, two of the Astron-6 team, Steve Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie venture into a more traditional horror vein with the highly anticipated The Void.

Police officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) comes across a bloodied and beaten man in the middle of the night. He brings him to the local hospital where there are a handful of patients and staff in the wee hours. Things get tense right away as the beaten man refuses to calm down and a nurse’s alarming behaviour becomes the catalyst for chaos and panic. Add menacing robed figures and isolation, and things go horribly wrong as Carter realize that forces he doesn’t understand are in control.

The Void was one of the films I had heard about from it’s concept phase to it’s debut this year. I was excited because there was an emphasis on practical effects and the concept trailer was full of menace. With an Indiegogo campaign that raised funds to execute the desired effects and monsters, this seemed to be a labour of love from both the fans and the filmmakers. The end result is a spiraling story of madness and mayhem with a lot left to speculate.

Effects-wise, there is certainly a lot of praise to be given. Gory creatures lurked around every corner, with lots of blood and weirdness afoot, partially hidden by the purposely dark atmosphere. At the Q & A after the screening, directors Kostanski and Gillespie mentioned that they wanted to obscure the creature effects to create mystery, and applied that mystery aspect to the plot and story as well. They drew on Lovecraft, Japanese horror and films like The Keep that didn’t explain too much of the mythologies involved. Although this was intentional, I still wanted something a bit more from the story, and seeing the hard work of the effects team instead of glimpses would have been nice too.

The performances were solid, however. Aaron Poole was a good fit for officer Carter with his dry delivery and everyman good looks. Ellen Wong was refreshing as the sarcastic nursing student Kim, and appearances by veterans Kenneth Welsh and Art Hindle makes the film a truly Canadian horror affair.

If you’re looking for answers and a linear plotline, then The Void isn’t for you. Go see it for the ominous feel, mysterious characters and the creature effects. And hope for a sequel…