I was looking forward to this movie with mingled hope and fear. Two kinds of fear in fact, the fear that it wouldn't live up to the hype, and the fear that it would. For if The Void lived up to the hype, it would be terrifying.
Nowadays, movies are hyped up so much that disappointment is almost inevitable. The wise punter allows for this, and consequently, won't be too let down by the reality.
The reality is, this is a good movie. It has flaws, but so does everything, including some of My favourite movies. It kept me watching right through to the end, which is a plus in itself. I was even motivated to watch it a second time, and found it had improved on second viewing. The first time I watched it I was in a bit of a strop about how long it took me to get it to play. I watched it on Amazon Instant Video and it took forever to get sorted. Bloody Silverlight! Anyway. Because of said strop, I was unable to concentrate on the first half of the movie, and I missed a few things that helped the movie make sense. I cannot tell you what, as this is a spoiler-free review.
I was not helped by the fact that the movie dragged in places in the first half. The characters have to be introduced, their backstories have to be filled in a little, the scene has to be set. Sadly for me the characters were totally uninteresting. I really didn't engage with any of them except a nursing trainee: Kim, played by Ellen Wong. Even when two rednecks broke into the hospital with violence on their minds I wasn't engaged. Unpleasant men with violence on their minds are ten a penny in horror movies. However, the special effects that were rationed out to us in the first half were enough to keep me watching. Monsters. With tentacles!
The second half is where this film really picks up, there are monsters galore, mutilated humans, mutated humans, mutilated and mutated humans, and in time, The Void begins to open. There are some inspired moments that drew the breath from my body. Some of the lines given to the main villain are wonderful, memorable. When enough people have seen the movie, I expect to see them quoted with the same frequncy as "We'll tear your soul apart!" and "Your suffering will be legendary, even in hell!"
There is a reason why Hellraiser comes to mind, and you'll see it yourself when you watch The Void. It is derivative, very derivative. You will be reminded of Hellraiser a lot; also of Baskin, The Thing, Prince of Darkness and possibly a little of Fulci's The Beyond.
Of course it's derivative, all movies are. Plots don't materialise out of thin air, even when the screenwriter writes from scratch. Even if the writer is not deliberately referencing any movie or book that has gone before, they won't be able to avoid using familiar tropes and scenarios. This doesn't make it a bad movie, but it does commit the error of reminding the viewer of better movies than the one they are watching.
In spite of it's flaws, I enjoyed this movie, and will certainly watch it again. It is not a great film, but I think it is a memorable one. Some images will stay with you, possibly forever. But I doubt the names of any of the protagonists will. The best thing about this movie? No CGI! It should get a gold star for that alone.