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Film / The Void

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The Void is a 2016 Cosmic Horror film starring Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Ellen Wong, and Art Hindle.

Officer Daniel Carter (Poole) is sitting in his cruiser on a desolate road one night, when he finds a man (Evan Stern) covered in blood. He brings the man to a hospital, where one of the nurses murders a patient and mutilates herself. Shortly after, he finds the hospital surrounded by a group of mysterious hooded figures, and something far more horrific inside the hospital itself.

The Void contains examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: The monsters created by Powell want to die, but he won't let them. This is horribly demonstrated by a zombie trying to kill himself by repeatedly ramming his head into a pike, but it doesn't do any good.
  • Anthropic Principle:
    • Carter's gun gets confiscated by Mitchell. This leads to a lengthy subplot in which the remaining characters try to get a shotgun from the police cruiser and are constantly underarmed.
    • The cultists not storming the hospital, even if they could easily overpower everyone inside. Someone eventually reasons that their goal is to keep everyone corralled inside, not to attack them.
  • Anti-Hero: Carter is a perfectly willing to let Vincent and Simon smash James' hands with a hammer, but overall, he's a decent guy who wants to protect Allison from harm.
  • Anti-Villain: Dr. Richard Powell is a father whose worldview has been twisted over the loss of his daughter, and now he wants to bring her back from the abyss and "help" everyone. The catcher? He needs to do so by placing the spirits of the dead inside human hosts, transforming them into grotesque abominations that want to die but can't.
  • Arc Symbol: Triangles and pyramids are the sign of the Void.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: Neither gasoline nor isopropyl alcohol burn in bright, yellow light. And they don't have similar flame either. Whatever was used on set, it had sodium mixed in, giving a very bright and very characteristic yellow flame.
  • Asshole Victim: Maggie was a part of Powell's cult all along and killed her own grandfather for no good reason. She ends up dying giving birth to the mutated Sarah.
  • Bait-and-Switch Character Intro: The movie opens with two men shooting their way through a house, murdering a young woman and burning her body, then giving chase to her boyfriend. They're actually the good guys (for a certain value of "good", admittedly), and the woman was an evil cultist.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Vincent soaks himself in lighter fluid while Transformed!Sarah impales him with her tentacles, then orders Simon to throw a flare at him. Doubles as Taking You with Me, although that doesn't work out.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Richard Powell leads the cult tormenting the hospital.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Almost everybody in the hospital is dead, except for Simon and Kim, who are undoubtedly shaken up by the horrors they witnessed, and Daniel is reunited with Allison ... in the Void. On the other hand, thanks to Daniel, Vincent, and Simon, Powell and his monsters are defeated and the world is saved for the time being.
  • Black Speech: The rite in front of the gateway is performed using unspecified, harsh-sounding language.
  • Blasphemous Boast: "I refuse to let death be the end. I defy God."
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Powell seriously believes that he's helping people by turning them into monsters from the Void.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Daniel and Allison are both trapped in the Void staring at an Eldritch Abomination floating high above them, but we don't see what happens next.
  • Body Horror: Many, many examples abound. The creatures are horribly malformed versions of their human hosts to the point where they're practically unrecognizable.
  • Break the Haughty: Upon seeing a vision of his wife and nearly killing Simon — who turns the gun on him — Vincent breaks down sobbing and apologizes.
  • Break Them by Talking: Villainous example. Richard manages to successfully tempt Daniel into giving up and joining in. Subverted at the last minute when Daniel throws Richard and himself into the Void.
  • Butt-Monkey: James, by far. First, he's kidnapped by a cult, drugged, forced to participate in sadistic sex rituals, and to watch them murder people. Then, he barely escapes death, only to be taken to a hospital where he's sedated by the same man who kidnapped him, wakes up to being attacked by the Beverly-creature, and is knocked unconscious and handcuffed to a rail for rightfully killing the Big Bad. And when he tells everyone what happened to him, they don't believe him, assume he's part of the cult that tortured him, and drag him against his will into the basement where he is promptly murdered, mercifully quick, by a monster.
  • Came Back Wrong: What else would you expect when you try to bring people back from a place called the Void?
  • The Cavalry: In the last moment Vincent and Simon show up to mess with the ceremony for long enough to eventually defeat the cult, albeit both Daniel and Vincent end up dead in the process.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The whole bag full of isopropyl alcohol.
    • The emergency flares and more than once.
    • Subverted with the retrieved pistol, which is never fired again.
  • Chest Burster: Two women are impregnated with extradimensional monsters that later come violently bursting out of their stomachs.
  • Cold Opening: It opens with Vincent and Simon chasing a young woman from a house and burning her alive, then letting James get away so they can chase him down.
  • Cooldown Hug: Kim and Simon have a platonic version of this after the night is over due to the trauma both have experienced.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The movie falls somewhere between this and Lovecraft Lite. On one hand, the only afterlife is a barren landscape ruled over by an Eldritch Abomination, and unless the tagline is meant to be taken literally, then that's where you go when you die. It's never made clear what said entity's intentions are, but they're definitely not good. On the other hand, the monsters are fightable, and in the end, the heroes triumph over the bad guys.
  • Creepy Basement: The characters descend into the basement of the hospital to rescue someone when an entire sub-level just appears before them, filled with monsters and leading to a portal to another dimension. This basement level itself is not even "real" exactly, and disappears at the end.
  • Cult: The Disciples outside the hospital, lead by Dr. Richard Powell.
  • Damsel in Distress: Maggie is in the final weeks of her pregnancy. Allison gets kidnapped by a resurrected Richard and most of the film is spent on attempted rescue.
  • Dark Messiah: Powell, who refers to his followers as his "disciples" and promises to "save" everyone in the hospital. Of course, his idea of saving them entails placing the warped souls of the deceased inside their bodies, turning them into horrific monsters that want to die but can't.
  • Darkest Hour: The cultists have taken over the hospital. Daniel is dying, with a knife in his back. The abomination born from Maggie kills her and is ready to finish Daniel, while Richard is triumphant in the background.... Cue Vincent and Simon crashing in, shotgun-blazing.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In his first scene, Carter tells another officer that he's in the middle of a high-speed chase. And his lines just get better from there.
    Powell: There are things much older. Older than time. And they blessed me.
    Daniel: Well, congratulations.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • Vincent, while being ripped into shreds and mauled, still douses himself and the newborn abomination with isopropyl alcohol and lets Simon light them on fire.
    • When given a chance, Daniel axes Richard. While it doesn't work and he's at the mercy of the insane doctor, he still ends up tackling him into the Void, all while having a knife in his back.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Discussed by Powell. Some amoral entity from the other side gave him the means to bring people back from the dead, though certainly not the way they wanted. While the tentacled monsters summoned from the Void are quite creepy, the actual godlike Eldritch Abomination is revealed at the end to be a giant floating pyramid (the symbol of the cult), or at least that's the form that Daniel and Allison perceive it as.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The Void itself. It's an apparently endless barren wasteland covered with alien architecture and strange creatures floating among the stars.
    • Apparently there is a whole sub-basement in the hospital, which doesn't really exist and is some sort of pocket dimension instead. It's also impossible to navigate inside of it and it almost looks like it's generating more rooms only when anyone enters it, leading where it wants to lead. Yes, a conscious place - it's that sort of story.
      Vincent: It's a rat maze.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: During the trek to the cruiser to retrieve supplies - and most importantly a shotgun - one of the cultists rises behind Simon out of nowhere. Daniel mows him down with a single shot.
  • Enfant Terrible: The... thing coming out of Maggie. It's roughly two times bigger than her, isn't even humanoid and while vicious, still makes baby weeping sounds.
  • Evil All Along:
    • Dr. Richard Powell is the leader of those mysterious cultists and the Big Bad of the story.
    • Maggie, although it's unclear if she was being influenced by the Void, and she is horrified when she sees the fruits of her labor.
  • Eye Scream: After Bev goes insane, she's seen pulling a pair of scissors out of an unlucky patient's eye socket, who's thankfully already dead at this point.
  • The Faceless: The Disciples wear white hoods with a black triangle painted over them, and their real faces are never shown.
  • Fetus Terrible: Both the thing growing inside Allison and, for a brief moment, Maggie's baby. When it's finally born, it upgrades to Enfant Terrible.
  • Fingore: Subverted. While interrogating James, Simon swings the back end of a hammer at his fingers ... and then deliberately misses. This doesn't stop James from screaming, though.
  • Foil: Carter, to Powell. Both of them lost children, although Carter's child was stillborn, whereas Powell's daughter was a little older when she died. Furthermore, whereas Powell is grief-stricken over the loss of his daughter, Carter is accused by Powell of being relieved at said stillbirth, and Powell is always polite and soft-spoken as opposed to the crass and stubborn Carter.
  • Foreshadowing: "Statistically, you're more likely to die in a hospital than anywhere else." Subtle.
  • Genre Throwback: To eighties horror, especially the work of John Carpenter. It essentially starts out as Assault On Precinct 13 and later becomes The Thing mixed with Prince of Darkness.
  • Gorn: YES.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The beings "older than time" mentioned by Powell. They're never seen, but nothing in the movie would have happened were it not for their existence.
  • Hallucinations: The characters start seeing things that aren't really there. And it only goes from there when they venture into the basement of the building. Which is actually the entrance to an Eldritch Location.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Dr. Powell is really fond of the sound of his voice.
  • The Hero Dies: Carter throws himself into the Void to kill Powell.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Daniel ultimately defeats Powell by tackling him in front of the portal so that they'll both be trapped in the Void.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Powell. For whatever reason, he's the only person to come back from the Void and retain his human form, albeit with a lot less skin, though this is purely self-inflicted.
  • It Gets Easier: After Daniel shoots Bev, he has a PTSD attack and suffers a breakdown. By the third act he has absolutely no qualms about killing Allison, whom he was trying to rescue for the past hour.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Mitchell is impaled by several of a mutated Beverly's tentacles.
  • In Medias Res: The film opens with what looks like the murder of a random young woman and then the plot picks up from there. While the context is eventually provided, none of the events prior to that scene are shown and they are only alluded to or sparsely discussed.
  • In the Back: Maggie kills her grandfather and Daniel this way, taking them both by complete surprise.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Vincent is introduced as an abrasive, ruthless Knight Templar, and retains this attitude over the course of the movie. He tries to attack Allison and refers to Maggie as "the teenage fucking slut". Also, he strongly considers burning down what's left of the hospital with everyone still in it. However, he eventually starts to cool down slightly, and it's clear that he loves Simon and only wants to avenge their family.
  • Jerkass: Mitchell is rather smug and patronizes Daniel.
  • Jump Scare: Subverted — or at least downplayed — when Kim hides in the vent. There's a lingering shot of the corridor in front of her, but a disciple just casually walks in, with a slight Scare Chord.
  • Karmic Death: Maggie dies giving birth to Powell's child, after killing her own grandpa, revealing herself to be a member of Powell's cult, and sticking a knife in Daniel's back.
  • Kill It with Fire: Vincent and Simon set on fire anyone or anything that they've killed. Or just wounded. It doesn't work with Transformed!Sarah, as it survives even being put ablaze.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: When Daniel finally finds Allison in the bowels of the hospital's basement, she's long past the point of rescue, leaving him no choice but to give her a Mercy Kill by fire axe.
  • Knight Templar: Vincent is hellbent on wiping out the cult, and will harm, kill, or hold hostage anyone who stands in his way. As well as the cult itself.
  • Leader Wannabe: Mitchell attempts to take charge after arriving at the hospital, because he views Daniel as unfit for the position.
  • Left the Background Music On: Inverted. Turns out all those Drones Of Dread are also heard in-universe.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Completely unintentionally, but no counter-measure is taken when it happens. When Daniel, Vincent, Simon and James are in the sub-basement, Vincent starts chasing a hallucination he has. Simon runs after his father, knowing something is off about his behaviour. This leaves Daniel with paranoid James, and soon Daniel is alone. However, they eventually reunite at the right moment.
  • Light Is Not Good: The gateway to the Void is a triangular, blinding white light, and the Disciples are dressed in white robes and hoods. There's nothing benevolent about either of these examples.
  • The Load: Carter, Vincent, and Simon drag James into the basement with them against his will, despite him being handcuffed, defenseless, and claiming to not be involved with the cult. As it turns out, James was telling the truth, so taking him along was useless.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Powell's ultimate goal is to bring his daughter back from the Void and place her spirit inside Maggie's unborn child, turning the infant into a horrific monster. He had experimented with many others before resurrecting her.
  • Mad Doctor: Richard was already insane enough to start the cult and perform a string of ritual murders/summonings, but when he dies and gets back himself, he goes on a lengthy rant about his ability to study new, uncharted territory, while cutting off his own face. For Science!.
  • Mind Screw: Lots of it, especially in the later parts of the film, where visions, hallucinations and mind control all start to happen at a steadily increasing rate.
  • Morality Chain: Simon keeps Vincent from being completely antagonistic.
  • Mr. Exposition: Powell provides lots of information about the events prior to the movie, such as Allison's stillborn child.
  • Necromantic: The leader of the cult is driven to pursue life after death because of the loss of his beloved daughter. He then makes a Deal with the Devil with otherworldly forces to bring people back from the dead but they turn into tortured mutants as a result.
  • No Ending: The final scene just cuts to black, in the middle of a music note. And without explaining anything shown in said scene.
  • No Name Given:
    • Every character in the story is named, even if they play no role in it or are The Ghost... except for the girl from the very opening scene.
    • Simon and Vincent were given their names in early drafts of the script but are never called by name in the movie itself. They're credited as "the father" and "the son".
  • No-Sell: Daniel axes Richard. He doesn't even flinch, while the axe remains lodged in his shoulder.
  • The Nothing After Death: The Void is one, being a strange, somber place filled with alien ruins and stranger monsters.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Towards the end of the film, Kim is alone and hiding in a closet while a cultist is armed with a fireaxe and is clearly walking around searching for her in the hallways. When we next see Kim meeting Simon at the end, she has the fireaxe and the cultist is shown with his head smashed to bits, while a fire extinguisher is discarded nearby. The implication being that Kim bashed the cultist's head in and stole the axe from him.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Kim is not only just a nurse, but a nurse in training. And obviously in shock after just the initial bloodbath. Yet she has to perform a C-section.
    Kim: I don't know what half this stuff is!
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Most of the monsters are essentially zombies, being the mutated bodies of humans with souls from the Void placed inside them. They would certainly qualify as undead of some kind, though destroying the brain does not actually work.
  • Period Piece: Released in 2016, the film seems to take place sometime in The '90s/Turn of the Millennium based on the background details: boxy cathode-ray computer monitors, an almost-exclusive reliance on paper records and a mention of the slow and laborious conversion to electronic records, an absence of cell phones, a box full of Polaroids, and the 80s Crown Victorias. Given that it's a small town, and thus behind the times in terms of technology, the movie is likely set at some point between 1998 and the very beginning of 2003.
  • The Place
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: From the start, Powell is kind and hospitable to everyone, and genuinely thinks he's doing the right thing. This contrasts sharply with the snarky Daniel and the wrathful Vincent.
  • Precision F-Strike: Happens a few times, always involving Daniel.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: While Daniel and the characters from the hospital are familiar with each other, nobody has ever met or seen James, Vincent or Simon before. Unlike similar typical groups, not only do none of the characters get along really well, they stay as such till the very end of the movie, making a barely cohesive pack.
  • Religion of Evil: Powell has started on in worship of the Void and created a cult out of local meth heads.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Simon lights up a flare to set fire to Vincent and the newborn monster, there is a statue of Mary with baby Jesus right behind him.
  • Scenery Gorn: The hospital basement, due to being burned. And there's a lot of emphasis on the "Gorn" later on.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Lampshaded by Carter, after blowing away a Disciple with one.
    Carter: I'm keeping the fucking gun!
  • Shout-Out: The ending, with Daniel and Allison stuck in the other dimension where the Eldritch Abomination resides, is a pretty obvious one to Lucio Fulci's The Beyond.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Daniel's response to Powell's Breaking Lecture is a resounding "fuck no".
    Powell: Tell me what you see, Daniel.
    Daniel: I see a monster trying to play god.
  • Sinister Geometry: The symbol of the cult is a simple black triangle, which also serves as a gateway to an alien dimension. It turns out that this is because there's an Eldritch Abomination on the other side that looks like a giant floating pyramid.
  • Slashed Throat: How Maggie's grandfather is killed. Powell is stabbed in the throat by James, but he gets better. Sort of.
  • Slasher Smile: Maggie bears a really creepy one after she reveals her allegiance to Powell.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Mitchell being grabbed by a mutated Beverly's tentacles, especially since savvy viewers would not expect him to die so early on.
  • Taking You with Me: Carter, barely clinging to life, throws Powell and himself into the Void.
  • Tear Off Your Face: Beverly cuts off her face with a scalpel. So does Powell after his return from the Void, only he doesn't stop there.
  • Together in Death: In the final scene, Daniel and Allison are reunited on the other side after both of them die, but are trapped in an alien landscape staring right at an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Token Minority: Kim is Asian and the only non-white character. Given that this is small-town, rural Canada, it's not surprising.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: To a minor extent. Vincent eventually starts to settle down a bit and stop working against everyone.
  • Tortured Monster: One of the monsters is seen trying to kill itself, and failing miserably at it. Powell notes that these are his "experiments", and he simply won't let them die.
  • Undead Abomination: The ...things in the basement resulting from Dr. Powell's experiments are horrifically grotesque beings mutated into undying horrors; arguably, the even worse monstrosities born from Maggie and Allison are also examples as they are what they are due to having the souls of the dead shoved inside them before their birth.
  • The Unfettered: Vincent simply does not give a damn about who he has to hurt or kill in order to get his revenge on the cult, even threatening to burn down what's left of the hospital, while there's still living people in it. Ultimately subverted at the end when he sees a vision of his murdered wife and lashes out and tries to kill Simon, blaming him for her death. He breaks down sobbing, and later performs a Heroic Sacrifice so Simon can get away from Mutant!Sarah.
  • The Voice: For most of his time after death, Richard is reduced to being an ominous voice.
  • The Voiceless: Simon never says a word. There's a bandage on his neck, and Vincent implies that he was mutilated by the Disciples.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: When Daniel closes the portal to the Void via Heroic Sacrifice, the creepy sub-basement it had spawned begins to collapse almost instantly. It ends with Simon barely squeezing back into the real hospital through a rapidly narrowing corridor while the horrific monster that's pursuing him gets squished.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Numerous characters are barely developed and a handful of them die without establishing anything about them, including names. Cliff is named only after he is killed and before that he was in a single scene. Similarly, we don't even know what kind of person Bev was before she went insane.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Powell actually believes he's doing humanity a favor by bringing spirits back from the abyss and placing them in human bodies, never mind the resulting carnage or the fact that the resulting monsters don't want to be there.
  • Wham Line: Maggie gives a whopper of one.
    Maggie: Dr. Powell is a great man. I'm so lucky to be carrying his child.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: All the cultists disappear by the end of the movie. It is not seen or mentioned what happened to them, including the ones outside the hospital.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Daniel is tempted by Richard to give up and join him. When he mentions being with Allison again, Carter visibly shakes and can't hold it off anymore, submitting... and then he musters all the strength he still has and tackles Powell into the Void.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The cultists could easily take over the hospital at any moment, perform the ritual and be done with it. Instead, they just stand outside and wait, which gives the trapped characters all the time they need to figure out what they need and stop said ritual from the inside. Largely justified — the heroes are afraid of the monsters inside and being held hostage by Vincent and Simon, and thus ultimately have nowhere to go, regardless of whether the cultists storm the hospital or not. Furthermore, it's implied that the cultists are waiting for Maggie to give birth.


Video Example(s):


The Void

Officer Daniel Carter is sitting in his cruiser on a desolate road one night, when he finds a man covered in blood. He brings the man to a hospital, where one of the nurses murders a patient and mutilates herself. Shortly after, he finds the hospital surrounded by a group of mysterious hooded figures, and something far more horrific inside the hospital itself.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

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Main / CosmicHorrorStory

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