How The Void Blended Horror Tropes To Create An Epic Indie Horror Film
The Void contains a strong mix of tropes, including an alien invasion, grotesque creatures and more, that create some very underrated indie horror.
The horror movie of 2016 The void is now streaming on First video and features a group of people from a small town who find themselves trapped in a hospital overnight. Disturbing events begin to unfold and the unsuspecting townspeople fight for their safety. The void received positive reviews from critics and has been compared to popular horror films of the 1980s. Although it didn’t do as well with audiences upon release, it deserves a reappraisal. The film combined a variety of horror tropes that created a truly compelling indie experience, including an alien invasion, creepy creatures, otherworldly rituals and more.
The first trope to appear in The void is the introduction of the Nameless Cult. The film’s opening scene involves a character named James, who is captured by a cop named Daniel after fleeing a murder scene. Daniel brings him to the hospital for treatment with the intention of transferring him to prison afterwards. When a seemingly mentally distressed patient murders someone, Daniel attempts to call crime from his police car before being ambushed by a group of people wearing white hooded robes with black triangles in the center. The numbers don’t speak for themselves, but the body count grows exponentially and surrounds the hospital, effectively trapping everyone inside.
The next trope The void introduced is only impressive when done well. A large, ominous creature appears and attacks other civilians as Daniel and his ex-wife Allison (a nurse) struggle to regain control of the situation. The practical effects are amazing and could be compared to the iconic 1980s movie The thing. The creature is grotesque, with tentacles that wrap around its victims as it ingests them in terrifying fashion. The execution of this trope was done well and continues throughout the film.
In addition to the cult element mentioned above, the plot begins to unfold as the protagonists discover that many of the night’s events were actually planned by the doctor at the hospital. He is the leader of the cult and has the power to “make people do things”, according to James. Powell (the doctor) explains that he started his journey when he was looking for a way to defy death. He had lost his daughter and had become obsessed with serving an entity that could fulfill his desires. The trope mirrors that of Satanic rituals often seen in movies, but the twist here is the source of power, which can only be described as alien.
One of the most exciting developments through the various twists of The void this is when Powell’s power source is revealed. In a room at the back of the hospital, there is a glowing triangle of light that serves as a gateway to the afterlife. Powell undresses and worships the light that communicates with him. He guarantees eternal life if they are willing to die first, and Daniel fights with him about it before they both fall into an alternate planet’s light source.
The final moment of the film serves as confirmation that the beings are entirely from another world. A usual pink-hued sky turns into one filled with dark, ominous clouds. Daniel and Allison (the last of whom was killed earlier) stand beneath a giant black pyramid as they are surrounded by huge monuments rising from the surrounding ground. The scene mirrors that of a post-apocalyptic wasteland where the couple are doomed to live out their days the way these extraterrestrial beings allow them.
The void holds 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a consensus that the film “offers a nostalgic rush for fans of low-budget 1980s horror”. The film contains some legitimately gruesome moments while blending various tropes to create an epic indie horror experience. The production used crowdfunding to produce the physical effects, which were much more powerful and appreciated than the recent CGI reliance in modern films. The film is an exciting roller coaster ride to watch.