John Carpenter is my director of all time. Not even just my favorite horror director–my favorite director. The three biggest influences on my writing are Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft and John Carpenter, and it’s my love for Carpenter that is most easily seen in every story I write.
So as a lifelong fan of Carpenter’s work, I can truly appreciate what a love letter The Void is to three Carpenter films in particular–Prince of Darkness, The Thing and Assault on Precinct 13. And while the movie does not execute on everything it sets out to do, it’s a solid horror film that is definitely worth your time.
The Void begins with Deputy Daniel Carter finding encountering a wounded man who seemingly escaped from a the scene of some kind of home invasion. He takes the man to the hospital, and things start to get very weird after that, because the next time he goes outside, there’s a large group of cultists who seem to have the place surrounded.
I’m not going to spoil anything else, because as I said, it’s totally worth a watch. But I do want to touch on those Carpenter movies I mentioned earlier, and how they influence The Void.
Assault on Precinct 13 took place primarily in a police precinct that has been decommissioned and it about to be closed. The Void takes place in an old hospital that recently experienced a fire, and is about to be closed. In both movies, an outside group is threatening the small group of both “good” and “bad” people inside, who must band together to help one another.
The Thing featured an alien life form that could take on the appearance of any living creature it came into contact with. It also has a very Lovecraftian design. Without spoiling too much, I’ll just say The Void has some clear parallels, both in the design department and in the “don’t trust the person next to you” department. The Void adds its own twist that I think works well however, and is more of a nod to Lovecraft.
By far the biggest influence on The Void–at least in my opinion–is Prince of Darkness, which is one of my absolute favorite Carpenter films. The themes of rebirth, the prophet and followers aspect, and a particular plot point that is a direct nod to Prince of Darkness had me smiling throughout the movie.
I know I’m being cryptic, but I really do want you to check out the movie. As I said, it has it’s flaws. There are some pacing issues, some under-cooked characters, and some missed opportunities in terms of the story. And the most glaring issue is the poor lighting, which makes it almost impossible to see at certain times. But none of those things should keep you from watching this movie. The practical effects work alone make it worth seeing. And in addition to Carpenter, there are plenty of other classics that The Void gives a nod to (Hellraiser being a very notable one).
So go check out The Void. As I said, it’s a love letter to John Carpenter, and it made me want to revisit all three of those films for the billionth time.