On April 22 at 11 PM, your weekly late-night cinephile infusion, Weird Elephant at the Grand Cinema, brings you The Void. 2016 was hailed by many as a return to form for the horror genre - films like Hush, The Invitation, and The Witch brought smart and tightly scripted 
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horror back to the forefront for indie horror fans. The Void says one thing to 2016: eat your 
heart out. Set in an understaffed hospital, the film follows a stunning descent into eldritch chaos. Violence and horror begin to invade the lives of those trapped inside, unable to leave as they’re surrounded by mysterious hooded figures while also having to face a threat from within the doors of the hospital itself. The story centers on police officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) whose world swiftly unravels when he finds a wounded man stumbling out of the woods in an unnamed rural corner of the country.

If you’re worried that his character sounds like the familiar do-gooder policeman trope, don’t be. Poole plays Daniel with depth as he struggles to survive the sanity-blasting horror around him. Daniel’s father’s legacy haunts him much like the spectres in the film, a nice character note.

This film feels like a love letter to the glory days of 1980s horror, filled with excellent practical effects and a production filled with creeping atmosphere that never feels cheap. The Void builds tension from start to finish - its initial creeping and dreadful atmosphere builds quickly into a relentless series of events that culminate in that rarest 
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of commodities - a film that creates real fear in the audience. I found myself unconsciously clutching the seat arm during more frightening parts of the movie. 

Refreshingly, the characters feel real - their actions in the face of eldritch insanity feel plausible, and never make unrealistic mistakes written to advance the plot artificially. Instead, every decision carries weight.

This film proves that a lean budget can often lead to ingenuity and creative filmmaking with solid effects, character and score all culminating in a fine work of fright. The score is dread-inducing and hits all the right notes as the film hurtles towards its stunning conclusion. Every scene is given the right horrific punctuation. As the trap tightens, the audience feels the same sinking feeling as the characters when doom appears to become inevitable.
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“Don’t worry, everything is about to change” is the audience is told as the film builds to its climax. The change the characters go through may shock and horrify more sensitive audiences. The film also offers unexpected poignancy as we discover the fates of the group of survivors. The most terrifying horror films (and I count The Void as one of them) expose deeper truths than what blood and bone look like, and cause us to question our understanding of reality itself. Although cinephiles will note direct nods to legendary films like Fort Apache: The Bronx, The Thing, and Hellraiser, The Void pays homage without lifting, and joins those films as one that should remembered well into the future. Let’s only hope our real future is not as cosmically bleak as that portrayed in the film.

The Void screens Saturday, April 22 at 11 PM. As always there will be hosted film trivia and beer available for purchase at the screening. You might know that the hosts create a cool atmosphere of shenanigans and pranks from time to time, so don’t be surprised if something unusual happens late that night. You won’t want to miss this one - I have a feeling you’ll be hearing about it.

4.5 Tentacled Elephants

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