Fantastic Fest Review: The Void

Horror film is a relentless funhouse of gore

If there’s one thing The Void isn’t short on, it’s blood. In the Q&A following the film, directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski (Father’s Day, Manborg) revealed that the film features over 80 gallons of fake blood, and while every scene drips with viscous gore, one particularly stands out.

The setting of the scene is a subterranean basement of a rural hospital that’s both haunted by monstrous undead patients and under siege by robed cultists. In the midst of a frenetic slasher scene, a head explodes into a rush of blood and entrails that looks like one of those wacky inflatable-tube men hovering above used-car dealerships. The moment hits a half-dozen horror pleasure centers all at once, and it’s just one of many such nightmare scenes splattered with maximalist practical effects and a grab bag of horror tropes.

For fans of full-throttle gore, The Void delivers, but for better or worse, it doesn’t really stop along the way to explain itself. The plot begins with a sheriff discovering a mysterious, bloodied-up man on a country road. Their arrival at a hospital triggers a gauntlet of violence that has something to do with a surgeon playing God, the sheriff’s dead child, and a triangular hole to another dimension.

It doesn’t add up neatly, but thankfully the film’s pace zooms so fast that there’s not enough time to worry about connecting the dots because another person is already getting stabbed in the neck with a scalpel, pulling off pieces of their own face, or hallucinating Tree of Life–esque spacescapes. It’s a relentless film whose volume is permanently stuck at 11 – those that prefer their horror piercingly loud will love it, but milder ears may want to bring plugs.


The Void screens again Monday, Sept. 26, 8pm.

Fantastic Fest 2016 runs Sept. 22-29 at the Alamo South Lamar. Tickets and info at www.fantasticfest.com, and follow our ongoing coverage at austinchronicle.com/fantastic-fest.

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Fantastic Fest 2016, Fantastic Fest, The Void

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